Bicycle lights are needed when it is dark outside or when lighting is dim. Without bicycle lights, bicyclists cannot see correctly and other motorists cannot see bicycles properly. This is why proper bicycle lighting is required under Florida law.
According to the statute 316.2065 (7), the law states that between sunset and sunrise every bicycle in use should be equipped with a front headlight, rear light, and rear reflector. The front light needs to be a white light visible up to a distance of 500 feet in front of the bike. Additionally, the law states that a lamp and reflector on the rear of the bike needs to be a red light and visible up to a distance of 600 feet in the rear of the bike.
In addition to these required lights, it is recommended that a bicyclist and/or bicycle should have additional lights and reflectors—such as helmet lights, side emitters, reflective tape, and flashing lights. In fact, an amendment in 2012 now allows lights on bicycles to flash. However, these specific lights are not required under the law.
If a law enforcement officer spots a bicyclist on the road without the appropriate lights and reflectors on the bike, the police officer can issue a verbal warning or a citation and fine for violating the law. If a cyclist receives a first violation, he or she can purchase the correct lighting equipment and show the courts proof of purchase to get the charge dismissed.
It is important to remember that bicycle lights help protect cyclists on Florida roads and reduce bicycle accidents with vehicles. For more information about the types of lights you can purchase for your bicycle, read our blog “Types of Bicycle Lights to Enhance Your Visibility on the Road.”