Florida is often known for its distinctive characters and peculiar legislation, but perhaps the most eccentric regulations that may give you pause are Florida’s traffic laws. Below are some of the strangest laws in the Sunshine State.
No Free Parking, Even for Animals
This law is one of the most unique and amusing traffic laws in the state. Whether you’re parking a car, truck, or elephant, you must pay the parking meter. You read that correctly; there is technically still a law on the books fining you for leaving an elephant at a parking meter and letting that meter expire. This law originated in the early 1900s, shortly after the arrival of the Ringling Brothers Circus, where elephants were occasionally seen tied to parking meters. Unsurprisingly, there is no record of anyone having been fined in the recent past, though it would be a sight to see. And, if you’re wondering whether this law also applies to alligators, the answer is a resounding yes; I mean, it is Florida, after all.
Speed Up, Grandma
No one is a stranger to the fact that driving over the speed limit can result in a traffic ticket, fines, and even jail time, depending on the level of the infraction. But did you know that driving too slowly in Florida can yield a similar outcome? While it is unclear how slow one must be traveling to warrant a traffic ticket, Florida Statutes state that no person shall operate a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to block the normal flow of traffic except when necessary for safe operation or in compliance with Florida law. The moral of the story is it is important to always drive at a safe and reasonable speed in accordance with the posted speed limits, as driving too slow can be just as dangerous as driving too fast.
You Cannot Put Your Car Just Anywhere
Probably the most sensible law in this list, it is illegal to park your vehicle at the edge of a curb, in a crosswalk, or in an intersection. Parking laws exist to promote safety and maintain order on the roadways. The principal purpose of this law is to protect pedestrians and other vulnerable users of the road from fast-moving vehicles in these various areas. Parking in these areas can obstruct the view of pedestrians and other drivers and make it more difficult to safely navigate the roadways.
However, like many Florida laws, there are some limited exceptions to parking in these areas, typically when doing so by direction of a police officer, traffic control device, or to avoid conflict with other traffic. Abiding by these parking laws and being mindful of where you park can support a more efficient flow of traffic and help maintain safety for drivers, pedestrians, and the like.
Stay Clear of the Greenery
The City of Cape Coral, located in southwest Florida, has a local ordinance that prohibits anyone from parking their vehicle in the grass. The main purpose of this ordinance is to maintain the appearance of public and private properties. The city believes that parking vehicles on grass can damage the grass, create ruts, and ultimately lead to erosion. While some residents are passionate that how one utilizes their property and lawn should be left up to the individual, put bluntly, others feel it’s an eye sore. To provide an alternative, the City of Cape Coral allows residents to park their cars parallel to the roadway, in the right of way. This alternative is said to provide an alternative option for those who have more vehicles than they do driveway while maintaining the likeness of the city.
The North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL Metropolitan area has unfortunately earned a reputation for being one of the most dangerous places to be a pedestrian in the United States. In fact, it has been ranked as the sixth most dangerous metropolitan area in the country for pedestrians. With Sarasota having such a high ranking, it might be a bit jarring to learn that the city’s fine for hitting a pedestrian with a motor vehicle is a measly seventy-eight dollars, though the act could result in additional criminal charges, depending on the circumstances. For example, if the driver was found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident, they could face much more severe penalties, including fines, license suspension, and even imprisonment.
On the other hand, it may bring some comfort to know that pedestrians who have been injured in a motor vehicle accident do have recourse in the civil law realm. They may be able to bring a personal injury claim against the driver to recover damages for things such as their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you are injured on foot, while cycling, or on any wheeled recreational craft by a negligent driver, the experienced attorneys at Romano Law Group, paired with our in-house investigator, are ready and willing to fight for and defend your rights and help you recover fair compensation from the at-fault party. For all your personal injury needs, give us a call at (561) 533-6700.
Authored by Mikayla T. Taylor