Left Turn by Bicyclist (More)

Question

D. asked:  I was reading about the question about a bicyclist turning left from near the center on a rural two lane without signaling.  http://flbikelaw.org/2010/03/left-turn-by-bicyclist/ However, what if the bicyclist is in fact signaling for a left turn after checking behind to control the lane?  But while initiating the turn, a motorist approaching from the rear, makes a passing maneuver and there is a collision.  What does the law say about that?

Answer

Let’s assume the overtaking driver can legally pass if the cyclist or another vehicle is not turning left.  Also assume the cyclist is turning into a driveway.  If the situation occurs at an intersection, other statutes apply.

The first premise is that drivers are cautioned to exercise due care to avoid colliding with a bicyclist.

FS 316.130 – Pedestrians; Traffic Regulations

(15) …. every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with …. any person propelling a human-powered vehicle.

Passing any vehicle if it is known that a left turn is intended would not seem to be exercising due care.

Another statute addresses the “due care” obligations of vehicle operators.

FS 316.183 – Unlawful Speed

(1) No person shall drive  …. at a speed that is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing …. speed shall be controlled as may be necessary to avoid colliding with (anything) in compliance with …. the duty of all persons to use due care.

Other statutes address the obligations of drivers when moving laterally on a roadway and when turning.

FS 316.089 – Driving on Roadways Laned for Traffic

(1) A vehicle …. shall not be moved from such lane until the driver has first ascertained that such movement can be made with safety.

FS 316.085 – Limitations on Overtaking, Passing, Changing Lanes and Changing Course

(2)  No vehicle shall be driven from a direct course …. until the driver has determined that the vehicle is not being approached or passed by another vehicle in the lane or to the side which the driver desires to move and that the move can be made with safety and without interfering with the safe operation of any vehicle approaching from the same direction.

FS 316.155 – When Signal Required

(1) No person may turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right or left upon a highway unless and until such movement can be made with reasonable safety …. after giving an appropriate signal ….

FS 316.122 – Vehicle Turning Left

The driver of a vehicle intending to turn left …. shall yield right-of-way to …. vehicles lawfully passing on the left …. so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.

FS 316.083 – Overtaking and Passing a Vehicle

(1) The driver of a vehicle overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction …. shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance …. not less than 3 feet between the vehicle and the bicycle ….

These are the laws that apply.  Any finding of fault is left to someone who has access to all of the details of a particular situation.  The timing of each party’s actions would determine the requirements and responsibilities.  If the cyclist was actually executing a turn and was in the left lane when the overtaking driver moved out of the original lane to pass, the decision would be different from the case of the overtaking vehicle in the left lane well before the cyclist signaled and began the turn.  More than likely, the situation will be less clear.

Posted in Ask Geo, Making Turns Tagged with: , ,

Leave a Reply