Many drivers view cyclists as an unwelcome intrusion on the road. Others simply do not know how to react or share the road safely. Unfortunately, motorists are often responsible for collisions with bicycles due to their aggression and lack of concern. But drivers need to realize and respect the legal right of cyclists to use the road alongside cars, trucks and motorcycles. On the other hand, cyclists need to realize that they are bound by many of the same rules of the road that apply to powered vehicles.
Florida Statute 316.2065 could not more directly and succinctly state the place that bicycles have on our roadways. “Every person propelling a vehicle by human power has all of the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle.” This law affects both cyclists and drivers in the following ways:
For the purpose of determining who has the right of way at an intersection, bicycles and cars are legally on the same footing.
Cyclists must adhere to all traffic controls, including stop signs and traffic lights.
Cyclists must signal their turns using the established hand gestures.
Cars can only pass cyclists under the same circumstances they would be permitted to pass another car and must do so in a safe manner.
When accidents happen, this law can work in or against an injured cyclist’s favor depending on the circumstances. On one hand, a driver who fails to yield the right of way to a cyclist may be liable for a resulting collision. On the other hand, a cyclist who runs a stop sign and is struck is likely at least partially at fault for the accident, even if he or she suffers more serious injuries.