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5 important facts about being a cyclist in Florida

As a cyclist, you're always at a high risk of getting into an accident and suffering an injury. Drivers do not always think about cyclists being on the roads, even though they're becoming more common than in the past.

Today, there are a few things you can learn about being a cyclist that could help you stay safe and understand your rights. Here are five important facts to know before you ride.

1. You're legally a driver

The first thing to know is that you are legally a driver if you are riding a bike. As such, you are in control of a vehicle and have to abide by the rules of the road just like anyone else. You're required to use a fixed seat for riding and must ride with only the number of people the bike is designed for. Your brakes also have to be able to stop you within 25 feet when you're traveling at 10 mph.

2. You can ride with no hands if you want to

Thanks to a clarification in the law, cyclists are able to ride with or without hands on the handlebars. Keep in mind that it's easier to control your bicycle if you're holding on, but it's not a state requirement.

3. You need to use the bike lane

If there is a bike lane, then it should be a priority to use it. Anyone who cannot travel at the same speed as traffic needs to ride to the side in a bike lane or as close to the right-hand side of the lane as possible.

4. You don't have to share a lane when no bike route is available

When there is no bicycle lane and there is not enough room for you to share a lane with a vehicle safely, you retain the right to use the entire lane without compromise. You are also able to move into the lane to make a turn or to avoid hazards like pedestrians or animals in the lane.

5. No, you can't wear a headset while riding

Like with other drivers, it is not safe to wear headphones or a headset when you're driving. Why? You may no hear someone approaching you, which could lead to a crash.

Staying safe on the road starts with knowing bicycle rules and regulations. Understanding the requirements you should meet will help you avoid a bicycle crash.

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