Rude Bicyclist or Rude Motorist?
C asked: Today it was raining as I was driving down University Blvd in Orlando. The speed limit was 45 miles per hour. Directly in front of me in the middle of the lane was a bicyclist riding at 20 miles an hour. I, of course slowed to his speed as did everyone behind me. The bicyclist did not move to the right and continued to cause traffic to slow. Because the adjacent lane of traffic was traveling at the speed limit I was unable to change lanes for quite some time. I beeped lightly in the hopes of getting his attention so he would realize that traffic was building behind him. He merely “shot me the bird” multiple times and continued biking.
I find that I encounter rude riders more often than not. How is it fair, or safe, for a bicyclist to ride in a lane with a motor vehicle? In the rain he ran dded risk of skidding and falling. He would be much safer on a sidewalk. I have no intention of putting myself in a position of feeling responsible for an accident w/ a bicyclist and resent the fact that they (and I say “they because I run into this more often than not) feel an entitlement than encroaches on my ability to get where I am going at the legal speed limit!
I am actually beginning to believe that bicyclists should have a license, take a road riding test and have a license plate so that they can be reported when abusing the road.
Cyclists are not required to use the sidewalk, but may do so. In many circumstances, riding on the sidewalk is more dangerous than being in the roadway.
The provision in the statutes that applies your question is:
s. 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations
(1) Every person propelling a vehicle by human power has all of the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle under this chapter.
Judging from the appearance of University Blvd. on Google Maps, the lanes are barely wide enough for the motor vehicles there.
A cyclist is not required to “keep right” in a narrow lane. The lane on University Blvd. is a substandard-width lane (Less than 14 feet, which the Department of Transportation says is the minimum for a motor vehicle to safely pass a bicyclist).
Most roadways in Florida are composed of lanes that are 10-12 feet wide and therefore are substandard-width lanes. This subsection of the Bicycle Regulations defines a substandard-width lane, and indicates the other exceptions to the “keep right” rule.
(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 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. For the purposes of this subsection, a “substandard-width lane” is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.
Even if the cyclist is keeping right in a substandard-width lane, a motorist must at least partially change lanes to pass, so you could not have legally and safely passed within the lane if the cyclist had moved over and you could not change lanes due to the traffic in the other lane. You must wait until there is a clear adjacent lane.
A cyclist staying to the right in a narrow lane encourages unsafe and illegal passing, and creates a hazardous situation. Remaining in the middle of the lane discourages dangerous and illegal passing within the lane. Although it may slow other drivers for some period, it is legal and safe. Just because your vehicle may be faster and you are in a hurry, the cyclist is not required to get out of your way. Blowing your horn only aggravates the situation, as was indicated by the cyclist’s response.
There is a full discussion of cyclists in narrow lanes and legally impeding traffic in these posts:
If you would like to see an Orlando Police Department Bulletin on the subject, please see this post: