Passing Within a Bike Lane

Question

Dennis asked: What is the correct method of passing another cyclists in a marked bike lane?  To me it makes sense to announce “Passing on left” and simply pass outside the marked bike lane using the regular roadway. Of course, one would need to look before pulling out of the bike lane prior to passing slower cyclists.

The reason I ask is that some cyclists I have encountered, seem to think a single bike lane has a slow cyclists side and a fast cyclist side. Some cyclists expect me to ride to the far right hand side of the bike lane so they can pass without entering the regular roadway.

Are there any Florida laws governing the passing of other cyclists in a marked bike lane? By the way, I had one cyclists try to pass me on the right side of a marked bike lane!

Answer

It is not possible to legally or safely pass another bicyclist while remaining fully within a normal bike lane, which is four or five feet wide.  Two bicycles would be about four feet wide, leaving almost no safe passing distance.  The law requires a minimum safe passing distance of three feet when any vehicle, including another bicycle, is passing a bicyclist.

See this post:

http://flbikelaw.org/2012/04/three-foot-law-in-bike-lane/

A bicyclist overtaking and passing another vehicle (bicycle) is not required to remain in a bike lane or otherwise keep right. The sections in red are additions that will be effective October 1, 2012.

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…. 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.

The statute continues with the definition of a substandard-width 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.

Hence, it is unlawful to attempt to overtake and pass within a bike lane, which is a substandard-width lane.

Passing on the right is only lawful under a few circumstances, and certainly not within a four or five-foot bike lane.

s. 316.084When 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:

(a) When the vehicle overtaken is making or about to make a left turn;

(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.

(2) The driver of a vehicle may overtake and pass another vehicle on the right only under conditions permitting such movement in safety. In no event shall such movement be made by driving off the pavement or main-traveled portion of the roadway.

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

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