Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety
Although there are important safety laws and tips to follow for children bicyclists and pedestrians, motorists must pay special attention when driving around them.
Pedestrian Safety Tips for Motorists
- Pedestrian safety is a shared responsibility. Look out for pedestrians everywhere, at all times.
- Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and stop well back from the crosswalk to give other vehicles an opportunity to see the crossing pedestrians so they can stop too.
- Never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. There may be people crossing that you can’t see.
- All sides of the intersection are crosswalks – marked or not, regardless of whether the sidewalk is paved or not. The only exception is where a state or local government has explicitly closed a particular crosswalk, and a sign must be placed at such a crossing to indicate that it is closed.
- If you are driving along a road and there is a cross-street, you must yield to any pedestrian in an unmarked crosswalk at that intersection.
- As drivers, you have to be prepared to slow or stop at any time – for emergency vehicles, buses, bicyclists, animals, other motorists slowing to turn, and other situations.
Pedestrian Safety for Parents and Children
- Always walk on the sidewalk if there is one. If no sidewalks are present, walk against the direction of traffic so that you can see oncoming vehicles.
- Always cross the roadway where pedestrians are expected, at corners or in crosswalks. Cross where pedestrians are expected. Always watch for traffic when crossing the street.
- Never enter the street from between parked cars. If crossing mid-block cannot be avoided, pedestrians must yield right of way to vehicles on the roadway.
- Be seen. Wear bright, reflective colors on clothes, shoes, hats and wristbands. Carry a flashlight when walking at night.
- Pay attention. Avoid wearing headphones so that you can hear the traffic and pedestrians around you. Never text or look at your cell phone when crossing the street.
- Follow pedestrian signs and signals. Pedestrians should yield right of way to vehicles if the crosswalk signal is red or “Don’t Walk.”
- Refer to the official Florida Driver License Handbook for more information on bicyclist and pedestrian safety.
Bicycle Safety Tips for Motorists
- Drivers MUST give bicyclists a minimum of three feet of clearance when driving alongside or passing them. It’s the law.
- When turning, yield to any bicyclist in the bike lane and make your turn behind the cyclist.
- Avoid using high beam headlights when you see a bicyclist approaching.
- Before opening a car door, check for bicyclists who may be approaching from behind.
Bicycle Safety for Parents and Children
- Make sure all equipment on the bicycle is in working order (brakes, gears, tires, etc.).
- All bicycle riders and passengers under age 16 are required by Florida Law to wear a helmet. Always wear a properly fitted helmet and securely fasten the strap.
- Wear appropriate shoes (such as sneakers). Avoid wearing flip-flops or riding barefoot.
- Be seen. Wear neon or fluorescent or bright colors when riding and wear something that reflects light (reflective shoes, reflective tape, etc.).
- Pay attention. Do not wear headphones so that you can hear the traffic and pedestrians around you. Never text and ride.
- Ride in the same direction as traffic and stay as far to the right as possible. Use bike lanes whenever you can.
- Obey all traffic laws, including signs, signals and lane markings, when riding on the roadway. If crossing a roadway upon or along a crosswalk, abide by pedestrian crossing guidelines.
- Never attach yourself or your bike to any vehicle on a roadway.
- If riding between the hours of sunset and sunrise, Florida Law requires that the front of the bike be equipped with a headlight lamp which exhibits a white light visible for 500 feet, and the rear of the bike equipped with a taillight lamp and reflector visible for 600 feet.
- Cross at intersections and never pull out into the roadway from between parked cars.
- If riding on the sidewalk or in a crosswalk, yield to pedestrians and give them an audible signal (such as, “passing on your left”) before overtaking and passing them.