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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Bicycles deemed motor vehicles, can be given car ticket

As the weather warms up, more students are hopping on their bikes. But with that comes the possibility of getting a ticket.

University Police Officer Wayne Clark, who works within the community service department, said officers either give the cyclist a UF ticket or issue a state of Florida traffic citation. UF tickets are usually issued for parking and decal violations.

Typically, Clark said, the difference between giving a bicycle ticket versus a car ticket depends on whether the cyclist has a light out. If a light is out, they are issued a bike ticket. Otherwise, cyclists are issued a motor vehicle citation.

Equipment citations are the only true bicycle laws, Clark said, which can include a $52.50 fine per missing light.

According to the 2014 Florida Statutes, all bicycles are required to have a front light with a projection of at least 500 feet, and a red light or reflector on the back of the bike.

If cyclists are new to UF, or it’s their first time getting pulled over, he said officers usually issue warnings and educate the cyclist.

UPD can fine cyclists $154 for a moving violation, $252 for running a red light and $104 for a nonmoving violation, according to the UPD website. Most nonmoving traffic citations, such as parking tickets, within the university cost between $10 and $30.

Allyson Gill, the vice president of the Gainesville Cycling Club, said she thinks cyclists should obey the rules of the road just as any car would, but the two are different forms of transportation.

“In reality, bicycles aren’t motor vehicles,” she said.

Gill said cyclists often get pulled over even when they are not violating any laws. So, she suggests cyclists carry a copy of the Florida bicycle laws in the event an officer pulls them over.

[A version of this story ran on page 9 on 4/1/2015 under the headline “Bicycles deemed motor vehicles, can be given car ticket”]

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