Florida, known for its vibrant culture and scenic landscapes, is unfortunately also recognized for some of the most dangerous roads in the country. Every year, countless lives are affected by crashes on the roads, leaving families shattered and communities grieving. As we observe the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, it’s essential to reflect on the impact these tragedies have had on our lives and reaffirm our commitment to road safety.
I was recently asked if cyclists in Florida could wear headphones while riding their bikes. Of course, I had to give the cliché lawyer answer: “It depends.”
The reason is because the law governing this area gives plenty of exceptions.
Today the 2020 Legislative Session was convened by the Florida Legislature and there will be another attempt at passing protections for vulnerable road users (VRU). After the success in passing a ban on handheld devices in school and work zones and texting while driving, there’s hope that more can be done this year.
As the popularity of electric bicycles, or e-bikes, continues to grow in Florida and the US, so will the likelihood of crashes with drivers increase to perhaps the same levels we see with riders of conventional bicycles. So what protections do e-bike riders have? What are their rights and obligations? What are their options if they are injured in a crash?
There are some big changes effecting Florida bicyclists starting July 1, 2021. On June 29, Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB 950, addressing bicycle and pedestrian safety, into law. I wrote about the initial version of this bill back in March when it was introduced in the Senate, along with its companion bill in the House. The bill was modified as it travelled through committees for its final votes, passing both the Senate and House. Here is what the final version will now mean for Floridians.
There are identical bills in both the House and Senate of the Florida Legislature this session that would for the first time provide meaningful protection and justice for pedestrians and bicyclists injured and killed in crashes with automobiles.
Two bills have been introduced in the Florida Legislature that are one of the most progressive for bicyclist and pedestrian safety for the state in recent memory.
Beginning July 1, 2020, Florida will join more than 20 other states that have a dedicated law for electric bicycles, or e-bikes. The new law, signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, also addresses some other much needed changes, such as legally classifying recumbent bicycles as bicycles.
It’s probably fair to say that just about everyone on the road in Florida will complain that drivers just don’t use their turn signals. That’s certainly the truth to anyone who’s been on the roads of South Florida. There’s no reason that bicyclists should also be grouped in with that generalization. More so because it’s vitally important that drivers be aware if cyclists are changing lanes or turning, giving those drivers time to slow and give space.
In response to the growing coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez signed Miami-Dade County Emergency Order 07-20, which ordered the closing of all non-essential retail and commercial establishments.