Sharing the Road with Bikes and E-Bikes in FL: Motorists Must Follow the Requirements of Florida Statute §316.083

As a Florida driver, you must understand your obligations while sharing the road with bikes and e-bikes in Florida. Drivers of cars and similar vehicles are required to abide by the requirements of Section 316.083 of the Florida Statutes. Read on to learn our tips for safely and legally sharing the road with bicyclists.

We also encourage riders to take precautions to avoid potentially disastrous collisions. Those who are injured in a collision while riding a bicycle or e-bike may be eligible to seek compensation from a driver who failed to act responsibly.

Florida E-Bike Laws

E-bikes, also known as electric bikes, have become more and more common throughout Florida in recent years. These bikes use an electric motor to assist propulsion along with pedaling. They make riding a bike less strenuous, encouraging more people to switch to bicycles instead of cars. 

In July 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a new law (HB 971) for e-bikes in Florida. Before this new law, Florida defined e-bikes as motorized bicycles that could reach speeds of no more than 20 miles per hour. This definition also classified e-bikes in the same categories as bicycles, despite their differences. 

Previous laws also prohibited individuals under the age of 16 from operating e-bikes. However, with HB 971, Florida law now contains more specific definitions of e-bikes, emphasizing their distinction from bicycles. Additionally, the law now permits individuals under 16 to ride e-bikes. 

Here are a few important tenets of the new law:

  • E-bikes can be operated anywhere bicycles can be operated
  • E-bikes do not need to be registered with the state
  • E-bike riders do not need auto insurance or drivers licenses
  • Drivers passing e-bikes must observe the same rules as if they were passing nonmotorized bicycles  

In addition, the new law clarified that riders on e-bikes are considered “vulnerable road users” like pedestrians under Fla. Stat. §316.027.

Tips for Riding Bikes and E-Bikes On the Road

Riding a bicycle or e-bike is an excellent way to reduce carbon emissions, enjoy fresh air, and get some exercise. However, if you live in Florida, you know that drivers can sometimes be unpredictable and careless. Taking extra caution when riding a bike or e-bike in Florida is essential to avoid accidents. 

Here are our tips for riding bicycles or e-bikes on the road:

  • Always wear a helmet while riding a bike or e-bike
  • Ride with the flow of traffic on the right side of the road
  • Wear bright, reflective clothing to increase your visibility and flashing lights on your bike (for day and night riding)
  • Stay alert
  • Make predictable movements to allow motorists to operate safely around you
  • Use a dash cam and record your rides in case you are hit by a vehicle
  • Do not wear headphones or look at your phone while riding

Tips for Sharing the Road with Bikes

Many bicycle accidents occur because drivers do not watch out for cyclists on the road. As a driver, you need to be mindful of the potential for bicyclists and e-bike riders all around you. Bikers may not ride in the designated bike lanes at all times and may weave between cars to get to their destinations faster. 

When driving, you have a legal obligation under Fla. Stat. §316.083(2) to provide at least three feet of clearance when passing a bicycle. If there is not enough room to pass with that much space, the law requires the driver to remain behind the bicycle, following at a safe distance until there is room to pass with at least three feet of space.

In addition to allowing adequate space when passing, here are some additional tips for sharing the road with bikes: 

  • Stay out of bike lanes
  • Always check the bike lane before passing through it into another lane
  • Don’t assume bicyclists can see you
  • Understand common bike hand signals
  • Avoid distractions while driving

Sharing the road with bikes and e-bikes in Florida involves staying alert and realizing that bicyclists have just as much of a right to the road as you do. 

Contact an Experienced Florida Accident Attorney

If you have been hurt in a bike or car accident, the team at Shannon J. Sagan, PA, understands the challenges you are facing. We invite you to contact us today at 1-800-FLA-LAWYER to schedule a free case evaluation and learn how we can assist.  

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