Letter: Bicycles and cyclists
St Augustine, FL
We now see more and more bicycles on our streets. Bicycles could mean fewer cars as well, however our problem; most cyclists and some motorists do not understand the Florida bicycle laws contained in Chapter316 of the Florida Statutes.
St Augustine with its narrow streets and our traffic controls make this a huge problem.
Under Florida Law, a bicycle riding in the street is a Vehicle and must obey the same laws as a motorist (stop signs & etc.)
When a bicycle is on the sidewalk, it has the rights of a Pedestrian and can ride in either direction; however, the cyclist must yield the right of way to the pedestrian, and warn them before passing. To be clear, the cyclist must yield the right of way to the pedestrian — not the pedestrian to the bicycle.
A cyclist traveling more slowly than other traffic should ride to the right when a lane is too narrow to share. A cyclist may not carry more persons than the number of seats attached to the bicycle. A cyclist may not wear a head set or any listening device other than a hearing aid. Lights must be used on bicycles after sunset, white on front, red on back. Bicycle riders under 16 years must wear a helmet. A cyclist is safer riding WITH TRAFFIC than facing it.
Some suggestions to cyclists — riding at a slower speed helps to prevent accidents; allow at least 3 to 4 feet when passing a parked car to avoid a door opening; and RIDE DEFENSIVELY AND BEWARE OF ALL VEHICLES.
When passing a cyclist the driver of a vehicle should give a three foot clearance for the bicycle. A motorist should treat a cyclist as he treats a fellow motorist.
Understanding, respect and courtesy make driving and riding a good experience. A copy of the Florida Bicycle Laws is available at the St Johns County Sheriff’s Office, the St Augustine Police Department, the St Augustine Beach Police Department, and Herbie Wiles Insurance on Ponce de Leon Boulevard.