Bike Lanes

Question

Is there a law that requires a bicyclist to use a marked and signed bicycle lane?  Are there any exceptions?

Answer

This is a revision to a previous post about this question.

As of September 2010, there is a requirement for bicyclists to remain in lanes marked for use by bicyclists under certain circumstances.  The revised language in the statute is highlighted.

s. 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations

(5)(a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride in the lane marked for bicycle use or, if no lane is marked for bicycle use, as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway ….

Some may believe that cyclists are always required to remain in bike lanes, which is not true.  The exceptions to the “keep right” rules remain the same for bike lanes.  The rest of section (5)(a) is unchanged and continues:

…. except under any of the following situations:

1. When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.

2. When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

3. When reasonably necessary to avoid any condition or potential conflict, including, but not limited to, a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, bicycle, pedestrian, animal, surface hazard, turn lane, or substandard-width lane, which makes it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge or within a bicycle lane.

More discussion of this topic can be found here:

http://flbikelaw.org/2010/06/hb-971-–-bicycles-and-bicycle-lane/

Posted in Ask Geo, Bike Lanes Tagged with:
5 comments on “Bike Lanes
  1. Frank says:

    The point is if you are on the ROADWAY, an there is a bicycle lane you MUST use it.
    If you are on a SIDEWALK, you do NOT need to get off the sidewalk and use a bike lane.

  2. Patrick says:

    I frequently bike up and down Morris Bridge Road from Cross Creek Road to get to the entrance of Flat Woods Park in New Tampa, which is about a 3 mile stretch. The road is one lane each way, and has a narrow dedicated bike lane strip on each side.

    Earlier this week I was nearly run over by a minivan that had drifted halfway into the bike lane and continued to ride toward me either without noticing that they were approaching a cyclist in a lane they should not be driving in, or not caring. End result was that I was forced off the bike lane and crash into a ditch, causing injury to myself and to my road bike. The offending vehicle never slowed down or stopped to see if I was alright.

    Due to the frequency of vehicles drifting into the bike lanes on that road, I’ve taken to riding in the opposite direction of traffic (in the dedicated bike lanes), which in this case I am positive saved my life. Had I been biking with the flow of traffic on that side, the vehicle would surely have run me down.

    I would like some legal clarification as to Florida laws with regard to my situation and if there is ever any scenario where riding within a dedicated bike lane and not in the direction of traffic on that side is legal, or at least defensible from a legal stand point. There are no directional markers in these bike lanes.

    Unfortunately I did not get the license plate of the driver that nearly killed me, but is there some legal recourse I should pursue?

    Sincerely,
    Patrick

  3. Frank S. says:

    You can not be sure that riding with traffic, would have had a detrimental effect in that one particular instance, as opposed to riding against.
    As a matter of studies, it is much safer to ride with traffic as it gives the other drivers more reaction time.

    As for legal recourse, you would need a lawyer’s advice.
    I don’t see any recourse because you don’t have the minivan’s license plate.
    My belief is that because you were riding on the far LEFT side of the road, as opposed to, as far right as praticible (which is the current statute), you have no legal standpoint, in terms of, traffic, although you MIGHT have a civil suit..
    That’s just my belief… Your best bet is to contact a lawyer.

  4. Geo says:

    Steve,
    Assuming you were riding legally and no more than two abreast in a single lane, it wouldn’t seem to be difficult to change to single file in the bike lane. Very skillful riders may even be able to ride two abreast within a bike lane, which is legal. The main legal point is that each cyclist is operating a single vehicle and must comply with the laws accordingly. A group of bicyclists does not have any special privileges.

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