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Florida’s Move Over Law: What You Should Know

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Bicycle accidents happen much too often in Florida given that residents and visitors can ride bicycles throughout the year. Indeed, while year-round warm weather can be a great benefit to many people, it can also mean that more bicyclist and pedestrian accidents occur in urban and suburban areas of the state. If you or someone you love recently sustained injuries in a bicycle accident in South Florida, you may be able to file a claim for financial compensation by speaking with a West Palm Beach bicycle accident attorney. When it comes to seeking compensation for your losses from a bicycle collision, you should know about Florida’s new Move Over Law that provides greater protections to bicyclists in the state.

Florida’s Old Move Over Law 

Florida has had a Move Over Law in place since 2002, requiring motorists to move over at least one lane or to reduce the speed at which they are traveling to 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit if they cannot move over or are driving on a two-lane road. The law also requires drivers to slow down to 5 miles per hour if the posted speed limit is 20 miles per hour or less. While this law has been helpful in preventing some motor vehicle collisions, it only applies in certain circumstances.

Indeed, according to the Florida Statutes, until recent changes affected the Move Over law, the law only required motorists to “move over” or slow down for the following stopped parties or vehicles:

  • Law enforcement;
  • Emergency vehicles;
  • Sanitation workers;
  • Utility service vehicles;
  • Tow trucks; or
  • Wreckers.

Yet as a recent article in the Patch highlights, the 2021 legislative session in Florida saw an important change to the Move Over law, making bicycling safer in the state.

Bicyclists and the Move Over Law in Florida 

As the Patch article explains, State Rep. Christine Hunschofsky, D-Parkland and Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation co-authored a bill that would amend the existing Move Over law in Florida. They created the bill during the 2021 legislative session, and it passed unanimously in both the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate. Governor Ron DeSantis signed the bill into law on July 1, 2021.

What does the new law provide? In short, bicyclists now have the same protections as other emergency workers. More precisely, according to the article, “the new law requires drivers overtaking a bicyclist traveling in a bike lane to put at least 3 feet between the vehicle and the bicyclist when passing.” In situations where a motorist cannot move over and provide that space, the law requires the motorist to remain behind the bicyclist, regardless of speed, at a safe distance until the motorist can pass with that three-foot “buffer.” In addition, the law also requires motorists to let bicyclists in groups of 10 or fewer pass through an intersection first.

Contact a Florida Bicycle Accident Lawyer 

If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a bicycle accident in South Florida, it is important to seek advice from an experienced West Palm Beach bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact Lesser Lesser Landy & Smith PLLC for more information about filing a claim.

Resource:

patch.com/florida/pinellasbeaches/6-inches-might-have-saved-pinellas-county-bicyclists-life

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