File this one under unexpected bills before state lawmakers: A Florida Senate panel on Monday unanimously voted in favor of a bill to stop requiring bicycle riders to keep at least one hand on the handlebars.
Yes, the Florida statutes prohibit hands-free riding.
But not for much longer, if the bill sponsored Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Ft. Lauderdale, keeps, um, rolling along. An identical bill is also moving forward in the House, sponsored by Rep. Frank Artiles, R-Miami.
According to a Senate staff analysis of the bill, the Florida Department of Transportation has expressed concern that the measure would cause some bike riders to be reckless and thus increase the number of bike-related injuries -- and lawsuits.
Violators of the law as it reads now can be fined at least $15 for riding with no hands, with the total cost of the fine generally varying between $56.50 and $82.50. There are no statistics of how many of the 16,792 pedestrian and bicycle infractions issued in Florida in 2009 relate to hands-free riding.