Ride With Traffic
Daryl asked: Has the law always been stated to ride with the traffic?
My understanding is that the law was the opposite until about 1980, when the crash statistics and studies showed that to be the cause of many crashes involving bicyclists and motorists, and bicycles were defined as vehicles. Many reasons justifying the present laws are stated in other posts on this site.
Florida adopted its “Florida Uniform Traffic Control Law” in 1973. This law (chapter 316 of Florida Statutes) incorporated the Rules of the Road of the most recent edition (1968, I think) of the national model “Uniform Vehicle Code”, with certain (generally minor) amendments. Section 11-1205(a) of the UVC, as worded at that time, set forth the following rule about operation of bicycles on roadways:
“Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride with the flow of traffic as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.”
This rule was adopted with no changes and incorporated in s. 316.2065(5), F.S.
In 1983 Florida amended chapter 316 to incorporate a number of bicycle-related changes that had been made in the UVC in the meantime. S. 316.2065(5) was revised to include more explicit exceptions to the as-far-right-as-practicable rule, and its requirement to “ride with the flow of traffic” was deleted. The duty of a cyclist riding on the roadway to ride with the flow of traffic was still implied by s. 316.2065(1), which was amended to read:
“Every person propelling a vehicle by human power shall have all of the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle under this chapter…”