Cyclists Riding Two Abreast (More)

Question

In reference to the substandard-width lane:  As you know, I work on A1A which is a substandard-width lane roadway. The speed limit is 35 miles per hour and there is a no passing zone. If a bike rider was riding single or double and not maintaining the normal flow of traffic would this be a violation?

Answer

See also:

http://flbikelaw.org/2009/07/cyclists-riding-two-abreast/

http://flbikelaw.org/2009/07/passing-a-bicyclist-in-a-no-passing-zone/

It appears that we have crossed messages and you haven’t seen the previous post about bicyclists riding abreast and impeding traffic.  I believe that answers most of the question, but I will add the following:

There doesn’t seem to be any question about the single cyclist taking the lane in a substandard-width lane.  The statute is quite clear that in that case the cyclist is not required to keep right, even if other traffic is impeded.

If two cyclists are impeding traffic while riding abreast in a wide outside lane (14 feet minimum width), it is a violation and they should keep right and single up.

Now imagine a single cyclist taking the lane in a narrow lane and a second cyclist riding ten feet behind or ten feet ahead, but not exactly abreast, or one behind the other.  They are not riding abreast, and may be legally impeding traffic.  If they move alongside each other they are now riding abreast, and impeding traffic exactly as they were before.  If the phrase in the statute is taken out of context, and the intent of the statute is not considered, some might conclude that a violation has occurred.  Common sense would dictate otherwise.

Two cyclists riding abreast in a narrow lane are impeding traffic, but no more than the single cyclist taking the lane.

This is an example of the statutes being written without clearly considering and accounting for all possible circumstances.  I believe this is one that needs to be clarified.

Writing citations that are based on such a tenuous interpretation of one phrase the statute and disregarding the intent of the statute would not seem to be an effective use of an officer’s valuable time.  There are plenty of opportunities to cite illegal acts that might result in cyclists and motorists being endangered.  Illegal passing on narrow roadways is one of the most common and most dangerous violations.

Posted in Ask Geo, Group Riding, Lane Width & Sharing Tagged with: , , , ,
4 comments on “Cyclists Riding Two Abreast (More)
  1. Dana says:

    Question: If a lane is 10 feet wide, and cyclists have a 4 foot wide operating profile, and 3 feet is required between vehicles, according to s. 316.083 Fla. Stat., would cyclists riding two abreast be in violation of either s. 316.2065(6) or 316.083 Fla. Stat.? (i.e. 4′ + 4′ + 3′ = 11′ which is less than the available lane width of 10′ ).

  2. Geo says:

    See the other post about Two Abreast here:

    http://flbikelaw.org/2009/07/cyclists-riding-two-abreast/

    These posts will eventually be updated with more information and a better description of the statutes involved.

    Short answer: Cyclists riding two abreast in a substandard-width lane should not be in violation any more than a single cyclist taking the lane in the same lane. Both could be impeding traffic, and the fact that they are two abreast instead of single file should not matter. Don’t take the wording in s. 316.2065 (6) ” Persons riding two abreast may not impede traffic” out of the context of all the statutes.

  3. Geo says:

    You may be asking if the cyclists themselves may be in violation if they are riding double and not impeding other traffic.
    The 40 inch AASHTO minimum essential operating space for a cyclist is not a statutory width. It is the minimum width that an overtaking driver or others should expect most cyclists to require for normal operation. Some cyclists may require more space depending on many factors, including skill levels, width of the vehicle (three-wheel cycles for example), and road conditions.
    The distance between cyclists riding two abreast is not specified in the statutes and is determined by the skill levels of the cyclists. Many cyclists are entirely safe and comfortable riding within inches of each other while side by side.
    The three-foot minimum passing distance in s. 316.083 does not apply to cyclists riding side by side since it refers to drivers overtaking and passing cyclists.
    “The driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle must pass the bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle at a safe distance of not less than 3 feet between the vehicle and the bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle.”

  4. mark says:

    So a single cyclist down A1A is ok with this Author. When these statues were written the lawmakers assumed that bikers had common sense, it appears otherwise.

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