are many things you can do to make sure your bicycle is safe to
ride. Your bicycle manual has a lot of information about the kind
of bicycle you ride. With a parent, you should check for the following:
Make sure your bicycle is the right size for you. When you are
on your bicycle, stand straddling the top bar of your bike so
that both feet are flat on the ground.
your bike's seat, handlebars, and wheels. Make sure the wheels
and oil your chain regularly.
Always check your brakes before riding to make sure they are working
properly and do not stick.
your tires to make sure they have enough air and the correct tire
you'll need to carry something while you ride, attach a basket
to your handlebars or a rack over your rear tire.
reflectors on your bike to help people see you. You should put
a red reflector, 3 inches across, behind your front seat. There
should also be a white reflector in front of the handlebars, and
other reflectors in the spokes of both wheels.
Law and Bicycles
In Florida the bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle (but
not a motor vehicle). A bicyclist has all the rights of drivers
of other vehicles, except in those cases in which special
provisions have been adopted for bicycles.
A bicyclist must obey the traffic laws and traffic control
devices that apply to the driver of any vehicle. A cyclist
on a roadway must ride in the direction of traffic. Cycling
in the opposite direction, so as to face oncoming traffic,
is a contributing cause in many bicycle crashes. Other drivers
do not expect traffic to approach on the right.
(Section 316.2065, F.S.) A bicycle may not be used to carry more
persons at one time than the number for which it is designed or
equipped. A bicycle rider or passenger under age 16 must wear a
bicycle helmet that meets a nationally recognized standard. Under
federal law, bicycle helmets manufactured since March 1999 are required
to meet the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) standard.
At least one hand must be kept on the handlebars while riding. Parents
or guardians must not knowingly allow a child or minor ward to violate
any provision of this section.
(Section 316.2065, F.S.) When riding on a sidewalk or crosswalk,
a bicyclist has the rights and duties of a pedestrian. Since a cyclist
riding on a sidewalk does not have the duties (or rights) of a driver,
he may ride in either direction. (However, it is safer to ride in
the direction of traffic, since drivers do not expect cyclists to
come from the other direction at driveways and crosswalks.) At a
signalized intersection, he must obey the instructions of any applicable
pedestrian control signal. A bicyclist riding on sidewalks or in
crosswalks must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and must give
an audible signal before passing.
Signaling for Turns
(Sub-sections 316.155(2) and 316.157(2), F.S.) A signal of intention
to turn must be given during the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle
before turning. If a bicyclist needs both hands for control, the
signal need not be given continuously. A cyclist signals intent
to turn left by extending the left arm horizontally. A bicyclist
may signal intent to turn right either by extending the left hand
and arm upward or by extending the right hand and arm horizontally
to the right side of the bicycle.