Electric Bikes in Bike Lane
Gary asked: I have and electric bike w/less than 750 watts motor, functional pedals, and less than 20 miles per hour. I have been told by local police that I am not allow to use the bike lane. I have a document, Federal Electric Bicycle law HR727 Sec.38 stating it is a bicycle. question is can I drive in the bike lane and if so, what can I do to prove this right.
Yes! Drivers of bicycles with electric assist motors that meet the Florida definition of “bicycle” can legally use bike lanes. See the posts in the tag cloud entitled “Motorized Bicycles.”
However, let’s make sure we are talking about bike lanes on the roadway and not bike paths, which are not part of a roadway. Vehicles under human power only are allowed on bike paths. See the tag cloud “bike path.”
I have an electric bicycle too….
Rules/notes when dealing with an electric bicycle in the public and on public roads..
1.) Electric bicycle = Bicycle when it conforms to FLORIDA law.
a.)HR727 concerns itself with sales of electric bicycles throughout the country and has nothing to do with each state’s respective laws concerning vehicles used on public roads (It’s of note that Florida just happens to use almost the exact same verbiage to describe an electric bicycle/bicycle)
2.) When used ON THE ROADWAY, an electric bicycle/ regular bicyclist must adhere to the FRAP law (please note the “exceptions” to FRAP) and if a bicycle lane (either marked on lane pavement or a bike lane sign) is available, it must be used unless there are the same type of exceptions as the FRAP statute.
3.) When used on a SIDEWALK, MUP OR BIKE PATH, you MUST pedal the bicyce (re: human power only) and may NOT ride under motor power, at any time.
4.) Just like a regular bicycle you must adhere to all traffic control devices.. (Stoplights/signs, right/left turn only lanes, etc).
(On a side note: I see on a daily basis people on both regular and electric bikes, go through stop lights, roll through stop signs, pass on the right of cars when there is insufficient ( <3' ) room, ride on the sidewalk under power, etc. Not realizing that they have all the duties of any other vehicle on the roadway).
Exceptions to the “FRAP” (far right as practicable) rule include: (1) when traveling as fast as other traffic; (2) to pass “another bicycle or vehicle”; (3) to prepare for a left turn; (4) to avoid a “condition or potential conflict” (e.g., parked car, “surface hazard”, pedestrian, etc.); (5) when lane is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.
The text of s. 316.2065(5) notes that its list of conditions and potential conflicts is not intended to be exhaustive, but the amended version of s. 316.2065(5) that will take effect 1 October explicitly clarifies that a “turn lane” can be a potential conflict.
Also a less obvious exception to FRAP is when there is no other traffic on the roadway.
(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
“….a bicycle lane (either marked on lane pavement or a bike lane sign)”
A bicycle lane is such only if it is marked on the pavement. The optional signs may be used in addition to pavement markings, but not in place thereof.
A bicycle lane is such only if it is marked on the pavement with the bicyclist symbol (not just a stripe) at intervals.