Bicycling in Downtown Orlando has been exploding in popularity. That’s indicative by the new bike lanes, an expanded Orlando Urban Trail and Lime and HOPR (formerly Juice) bikes to rent. With the rise of a new pastime comes the need to know the rules of the road when it comes to safety.
When riding in the street, bicyclists are to follow the same rules as an automobile driver. It used to be technically illegal to ride bicycles on sidewalks, but Orlando officially removed this rule in 2018. When riding on sidewalks, you need to be conscious of pedestrians. Look out especially for cars backing out of driveways. The City of Orlando has a useful infographic on cyclist safety:
HOPR Operations Manager Seiji Schoppert advises to ride a bike like you would drive a car. Always assume that other people are not paying attention.
“I also notice far too often that people riding at night are not equipped with proper lighting, making it a danger to themselves and other people who cannot see them,” Schoppert said.
Remember that bicycles are not allowed on the path around Lake Eola. They are fine on the sidewalks bordering the roads around Lake Eola Park but not around the lake itself. Lime reminds its patrons to not block sidewalks, service ramps, bus stops and shop entrances.
Just like with motorcyclists, drivers need to be aware of bicycles. Bicycles are allowed to ride with cars on all city streets. Some streets have “sharrows” painted on the surface to remind drivers that they share the road with bicyclists.
When driving along streets with unprotected bike lanes, be aware of your distance to the bicyclist. When opening your car door next to a bicycle lane, check your blind spot first. Take it easy on Downtown streets. Residents, pets and bicyclists are lurking around every corner there. If you’re in a hurry to get somewhere, get on I-4 or the 408.
According to Edmunds.com, an automotive research company, the top 10 rules for drivers to coexist with bicyclists include: 1) Appreciate bicyclist vulnerability; 2) Know bicyclists’ rights; 3) Adjust your attitude; 4) Consider the benefits of bicycling — for drivers: one cyclist on the road is one less car; 5) Spare them the right hook; 6) Beware the left turn; 7) Give cyclists three feet of clearance; 8) Look around — but not at your phone; 9) Look before you exit your car; and 10) Accept that bicyclists are here to stay.