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Do I Need Bike Lights to Cycle at Night in Florida?

nighttime image of a bicycle and car accident

Not being visible while riding in the dark is a common concern for bicyclists. Some even wear reflective clothing when riding, even if it’s not legally required.

But what if you get hit at night while riding your bike and you didn’t have your lights on? Who can be held accountable for the accident, and how does it affect the assessment of fault?

Bicyclists In Florida Must Have Their Lights on When Riding in The Dark

Under Florida law, all bicyclists riding between sunset and sunrise must have their lights turned on. These lights include a white light in the front that can be seen from 500 feet at least. They must also include a reflector and red light in the back that can be seen from at least 600 feet.

Besides the required safety gear and lights, the law too recommends bicyclists have reflectors or lights.  

If a bicyclist violates this rule, the police can issue a verbal warning and safety brochure to the bicyclist or issue a citation and fine for the violation. However, the charge can be dismissed if it’s their first violation when they show proof of installation and purchase of the required lighting equipment.

Can I Still File a Claim and Recover Compensation?

Yes. Florida, like most states, follows the comparative negligence or fault rule when assessing personal injury claims. This means that injured accident victims can still recover compensation even if they were partly to blame for the accident.

To illustrate, let’s say you were biking home from your friend’s home, which was only a block or two away from your house. It was already dark when you left and didn’t have your lights on.

While riding home, a drunk driver suddenly hits you while you were riding in the bike lane. You hit your head when you fell off your bike and suffered a brain injury.

The court may determine that the drunk driver’s percentage of fault for the accident is more than yours even if you violated the law and didn’t have your lights on because you were in the bike lane and the driver was drunk.

But since your injury would’ve been less serious if you had your lights on during the accident and the law requires you to have your lights on when riding after dark, you may receive a lower compensation amount than normal.

Rest assured you may still obtain adequate compensation for your losses, such as your medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, and lost wages.

Following a bicycle accident that left you injured and in need of long-term or extensive medical care, the scope of your related losses may not be clear.

Likewise, you may not fully understand your situation, which can place you at a disadvantage when dealing with insurance companies.

To learn more about your legal options, please contact Hancock Injury Attorneys today. You can arrange a free case review with our Florida bicycle accident attorney by calling our Tampa office at 813-915-1110 or reaching us online.