Jeff asked: A ribbon of pavement exists to the right of the white stripe of the right-hand-most through traffic lane. It appears to have been designed and constructed to the specifications of a bicycle lane. However, there are no lane markings or signage indicating that it is a bicycle lane. What is it?
I forgot to mention that the right hand edge of this ribbon of pavement is bounded by a curb. Now, what is it? How is any layman supposed to know?
Prior to the update of the Florida Department of Transportation planning and design guidance, their definition of bicycle lanes included four parts:
Designated bike lanes on 1. Curb and gutter roadways, and 2. Flush shoulder roadways.
Undesignated bike lanes on 3. Curb and gutter roadways, and 4. Flush shoulder roadways.
What you describe is what was number 3, an undesignated bike lane on a curb and gutter roadway.
In January 2009, the new Plans Preparation Manual changed the definition of a bike lane to:
Bicycle Lane: A bicycle lane (bike lane) is a portion of a roadway (either with curb and gutter or a flush shoulder) which has been designated by striping and special pavement markings for the preferential use by bicyclists.
In the 2007 Florida Greenbook, the definition is similar to the new PPM definition. It may have been changed since then, but that’s the version I have.
You may recall that the Department defines “roadway” as including the paved shoulder, but the statutes exclude the paved shoulder.
For the purpose of the laws, the ribbon you describe is simply part of the roadway since a curb is present, and if required to keep right under the circumstances, cyclists would be required to remain there, as close as is practicable to the rightmost curb or edge of the roadway. If the “ribbon” is four -five feet wide, there is probably room to safely share the roadway. Of course there are many exceptions to the “keep right” rule. The solid white line represents a lane and is too narrow for motor vehicles, so they shouldn’t be there most of the time, but there is no special treatment such as a marked and signed bike lane.
The old markings will be around for a while. They are meaningless and counterproductive, since many believe they are bike lanes. In some cases, such markings are less than the required width for a bike lane, but some still think they are bike lanes. One road near where I live has such a ribbon about two feet wide.
The Department’s new guidelines are a big improvement.
A layman can find out these things by asking Geo at this site.
So, a layperson could openly interpret that unless the “ribbon” contains the appropriate and standard/specific bicycle lane markings and signage (per MUTCD, AASHTO, and FDOT guidelines) then such sections are not legal bike lanes and should not be used or regarded as such?
should read …..(per current and present day MUTCD, AASHTO, and FDOT guidelines)
Actually, to use all three is redundant, although correct. AASHTO guidelines are used in developing MUTCD standards, which have been adopted by the Department of Transportation. Presently the 2003 MUTCD is adopted by FDOT. They are revising their documents though, and in January 2011 will formally adopt the 2009 MUTCD according to their website.
You are correct that the “undesignated bike lanes” or unmarked ribbons on curb and gutter roadways should be treated as part of the roadway, which they are, and nothing more.
The old “undesignated bike lanes” on paved (flush) shoulder roadways are simply paved shoulders, and not part of the roadway, according to the statutes.
The new FDOT definition of bike lane is much more helpful.
Either way, you would ride as far right as practicable and the right part of that area would be the place.
“For the purpose of the laws, the ribbon you describe is simply part of the roadway since a curb is present”
Where is that to be found in Florida law?
i think you’d have to simply look at florida traffic law definitions, benj…. the roadway is improved for vehicular traffic, a bicycle is a vehicle, space previously called ‘undesignated bikelane space’ was space allocated on the highway for bicycles ( a specific type of vehicle) ergo it’s part of the “roadway”.
Riders and clubs of riders mistakenly thinking this allocation of space ISN’T part of the roadway is, perhaps, what brought mandatory bikelane law down on florida cyclists in the first place!
Beck the Biker is correct. The statutory definition is:
s. 316.003 – Definitions
(42) Roadway – That portion of a highway improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of the berm or shoulder.
The curb, or in the absence of a curb on a flush-shoulder roadway, a solid white edge line, is the divider between the roadway and the shoulder.
Please note that the definition of “Bicycle Lane” above has been changed to reflect the latest change to the PPM. It deletes the wording about signage, which is now optional.
“The curb, or in the absence of a curb on a flush-shoulder roadway, a solid white edge line, is the divider between the roadway and the shoulder.”
Where is this information coming from?
The curb is obvious. The edge line comes from:
Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
Edge Line Pavement Markings
If used, edge line pavement markings shall delineate the right or left edges of a roadway.
The curb is obvious where there is no edge line pavement marking. The MUTCD doesn’t say “If used, and no curb is present, edge line pavement markings shall delineate the right or left edges of a roadway.” It only says what you quoted. Where there is a curb and an edge line pavement marking why doesn’t the edge line pavement still mark the edge of the roadway? The definition suggests that it does.
If it is not at the right edge of the “portion of a highway improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel,” then it is not an edge line. It is a lane line:
White Lane Line Pavement Markings and Warrants Standard:
When used, lane line pavement markings delineating the separation of traffic lanes that have the same direction of travel shall be white.
As noted in the post above, the use of lane lines to delineate “undesignated bike lanes” was discontinued. The line to the left of a marked bike lane is a lane line, not an edge line.
“White Lane Line Pavement Markings and Warrants Standard:
When used, lane line pavement markings delineating the separation of traffic lanes that have the same direction of travel shall be white.”
The right hand lines are not delineating the separation of traffic lanes that have the same direction of travel. There is no traffic lane to the right of the line. It doesn’t meet the definition of a lane line pavement marking.
(I’m reading the MUTCD along with you.)
The area to the right of the white line is not a traffic lane that is being separated from the traffic lane to the left of the white line. Therefore, it is not a lane line pavement marking. It is an edge line pavement marking.
Even bike lanes are not traffic lanes. They are paved shoulders.
“8.4.3 Paved Shoulders
A paved shoulder is a portion of a roadway which has been delineated by edge line striping, and may include bicycle lane pavement markings or signing.”
For example, when describing a road as two lane or four lane or whatever, the description doesn’t count the bike lanes as lanes.
Whether the bike lane is a travel lane depends on how you read these definitions from the PPM. If you use 21 alone, it seems a bike lane could be a travel lane. If you read it with 20, it appears a traffic lane is a travel lane, but possibly does not include a bicycle lane, even though it may be used by bicycles.
20. Traffic Lane/Traveled Way: The designated widths of roadway pavement, exclusive of shoulders and marked bicycle lanes, marked to separate opposing traffic or vehicles traveling in the same direction. Traffic lanes include through travel lanes, auxiliary lanes, turn lanes, weaving, passing, and climbing lanes. They provide space for passenger cars, trucks, buses, recreational vehicles and, in some cases, bicycles.
21. Travel Lane: The designated widths of roadway pavement marked to carry through traffic and to separate it from opposing traffic or traffic occupying other traffic lanes. Generally, travel lanes equate to the basic number of lanes for a facility.
The problem with using different sources is that they sometimes differ in definitions. As noted in the post above, the PPM includes the shoulder as part of the roadway. FL statutes exclude the shoulder from the definition of roadway. Roadway design folks start from the supposition that the paved shoulder is part of the roadway, since that is the PPM definition.
I have had this same discussion at far greater length over the years with FDOT folks and others and still cannot reconcile some of these issues. The statutes are not definitive. There is no case law to help either. We are left to interpret these issues as best we can.
The conclusions I have reached based on years of discussions with the supposed experts at the state and federal levels are:
1. The roadway is the area described in the statutes and does not include the paved shoulder if it is not marked as a bike lane.
2. The term “bicycle lane” is not defined in the statutes, so we need to use other sources, all of which describe the bike lane as part of the roadway.
3. If the paved shoulder is marked as a bike lane, it is part of the roadway since it becomes a “portion of a highway improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel,” and is no longer a shoulder.
4. The roadway is delineated by the curb or in the absence of a curb, the edge line, unless the paved shoulder is marked for the use of bicyclists in which case an edge line to the right of the bike lane is optional, and normally not included.
5. For the purposes of cyclists, we don’t need to be concerned with these differences that exist in various publications. Even the statute requiring bicyclists to use bike lanes in some circumstances does not use the term “bike lane.” It states “marked for the use of bicycles.”
If you don’t agree with these conclusions, you will need to take it up with the others in positions of authority.
” If you don’t agree with these conclusions, you will need to take it up with the others in positions of authority.”
Fair enough. I sincerely thank you for your time.