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Bicycle Safety Laws

Florida Statute 316.083 | Overtaking and passing a vehicle.

Commonly known as the bicycle 'three feet law' in Florida.

The Three Feet Law Explained

In Florida, bicyclists are treated the same as other vehicles on the road and must obey all traffic laws. Bicycle riders must stop at red lights, stop signs, yield signs, use proper lighting at nighttime, and yield to vehicles that have the right of way when entering intersections and crosswalks. In addition, they must ride on the roadway and are not legally allowed to ride on the sidewalk, like all other vehicles. 

This presents a danger to bicycle riders. In order to provide a buffer between car drivers and bicyclists, Florida legislators passed this overtaking and passing a vehicle law. Accordingly, when a car driver attempts to pass a bicycle rider, they must maintain a minimum of at least three feet away from the rider.

Florida Statute 316.083 | Overtaking and passing a vehicle | Statute Text

The following rules shall govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction, subject to those limitations, exceptions, and special rules hereinafter stated:

(1) The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall give an appropriate signal as provided for in s. 316.156, shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance, and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle. The driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle must pass the bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle at a safe distance of not less than 3 feet between the vehicle and the bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle.

(2) Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, the driver of an overtaken vehicle shall give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle, on audible signal or upon the visible blinking of the headlamps of the overtaking vehicle if such overtaking is being attempted at nighttime, and shall not increase the speed of his or her vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.

(3) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation as provided in chapter 318.


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