Hank asked: Here on Key Biscayne we have a recent development that’s highly problematic for cyclists. One of the bridges on the Rickenbacker Causeway, the main artery linking Key Biscayne with the mainland, needs serious repairs. This is a 4-lane bridge with two bike lanes in each direction. The county has closed one side of the bridge on an emergency basis after a recent inspection revealed structural problems. The side that’s closed consists of two motor vehicle lanes and a bike lane. The remaining side consists of two lanes and a bike lane, plus a separate dedicated multi-use path. Cyclists are currently using the side that’s closed, but eventually it will be a big construction site and presumably will be off limits.
The county is “advising” cyclists to use the dedicated path rather than ride on the roadway. Because of the narrowness of the new configuration, the potential dangers of riding on the roadway are very real.
My assumption is the following:
–The county cannot require cyclists to ride on the dedicated path.
–Cyclists can ride on the roadway if they want and can take the lane if they need to (leading to potential slowing of traffic and/or serious danger to the cyclists from motor vehicles, which includes large trucks and buses, trying to pass them).
What could the county do to protect the safety of cyclists? What could they do to require them to ride on the dedicated path?
I believe your assumptions are correct, but see below.
One major point. Your use of the phrase “potential slowing of traffic” isn’t fully accurate. A better perspective is the use of “other traffic”. That is an important distinction since bicycles are traffic and bicyclists have the same rights and duties as other drivers.
s. 316.003 – Definitions
(57) Traffic – Pedestrians, ridden or herded animals, and vehicles, streetcars, and other conveyances either singly or together while using any street or highway for purposes of travel.
There is a colloquium about just that in Feb 2013. See:
When a bike way is disrupted by work, the Florida Department of Transportation insures that bicyclists are not prohibited from travel through the work zone.
FDOT Plans Preparation Manual
Chapter 10 – Transportation Management Plan
10.12.4 Pedestrians and Bicyclists
Transportation plans and projects must consider safety and contiguous routes for pedestrians and bicyclists. In developing Temporary Traffic Control (TTC) Plans, when an existing pedestrian way or bicycle way is located within a traffic control work zone, accommodation must be maintained ….
It may be that the bike path is considered a proper bicycle way through a work zone and may be a required alternative.
If bicyclists are to use the roadway during this period, the FDOT could place “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” signs as they have done in other locations. One is presently in place in St. Augustine while the shoulder is closed for work on the SR 312 bridge.
There may be other considerations so I have asked for assistance on this one from Dwight who is the FDOT Bike/Ped expert.
See also the tags for “lane position”, “substandard-width lane” and “impeding traffic”. In particular, this post addresses the BMUFL signs: