Cyclist Passing a Stopped Bus

Question

Frugopolis asked: What is the proper side to pass a bus stopped at a bus stop? Sometimes they stop in the lane of traffic leaving the shoulder open for me to pass on the right, but departing bus passengers are a hazard. Likewise, passing on the left requires riding into the lane of traffic.

Answer

Passing should be accomplished on the left except when passing on the right is specifically allowed.

s. 316.083 – Overtaking and Passing a Vehicle

The following rules shall govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction, subject to those limitations, exceptions, and special rules hereinafter stated:

(1) The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction …. shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance.

s. 316.084 – When Overtaking on the Right is Permitted

(1) The driver of a vehicle may overtake and pass on the right of another vehicle only under the following conditions:

(b) Upon a street or highway with unobstructed pavement not occupied by parked vehicles of sufficient width for two or more lines of moving traffic in each direction;

(c) Upon a one-way street, or upon any roadway on which traffic is restricted to one direction of movement, where the roadway is free from obstructions and of sufficient width for two or more lines of moving vehicles.

The statute goes on to state,

(2) …. In no event shall such movement be made by driving off the pavement or main-traveled portion of the roadway.

That does not account for the fact that bicyclists are permitted to leave the roadway and use the paved shoulder.  It would appear that cyclists can pass on the right on a paved shoulder when a motorist is prohibited from doing so.

The paved shoulder is not part of the roadway.

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.

An overtaking driver must always use caution.

s. 316.084 (Continued)

(2) The driver of a vehicle may overtake and pass another vehicle on the right only under conditions permitting such movement in safety.

The statutes seem to permit bicyclists to overtake and pass either on the left in the roadway, or on the right using the shoulder.  The burden for safety in either case is on the overtaking driver, in this case the cyclist.

One last word of caution has to do with passing a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk.

s. 316.130 – Pedestrians, Traffic Regulations

(9) Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle.

Other conditions are imposed on passing as described in this post:

http://flbikelaw.org/2010/02/passing-with-oncoming-bicycles/

Posted in Ask Geo, Overtaking & Passing Tagged with: , , ,

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