Wide Load Bike?
Kevin asked: Can we attach a horizontal flag to the rear of the bike to keep motor vehicles away? I put a 3 foot long, 1/8th inch wooden dowel with an orange pendant attached to my rear rack, sticking out to my left, and am wondering if that is legal in Florida. Cars sure keep their distance when passing me as there is no longer any question how far three feet away from me is. Prior to this on the same routes I would frequently get “bumped” from cars going by.
This is the only statute that I can find that might have some applicability.
s. 316.510 – Projecting Loads on Passenger Vehicles
No passenger type vehicle shall be operated on any highway with any load carried thereon extending beyond the fenders on the left side of the vehicle or extending more than 6 inches beyond the line of the fenders on the right side thereof.
It doesn’t seem to be specific enough to your question, since what you are describing is not a necessarily projecting load, and your vehicle may not have the fenders specified in the statute.
I believe it is intended to prevent such cases as the driver leaving the hardware store with the 2X4’s sticking out the window and presenting a hazard to passing vehicles and pedestrians, or the landscaping trailer with tools hanging from the sides.
Many bicycles are as wide or wider than what you describe. A three-wheeler or recumbent trike for example, but without an object projecting out from the vehicle itself.
A potential disadvantage is that, if the bike is ever used on a shared-use path, or taken to a retail mall, public library, school, playground, or other destination where pedestrians are likely to be present in areas the bike might be ridden (access lanes, walkways, bike parking areas, etc.), or is even walked on a sidewalk, the extending wooden dowel would become a potential hazard (e.g., it might be about the height of a little kid’s eyeballs) and would need to be removed before any such use. Any damage or injury the cyclist might cause to a vehicle or to a person by passing the vehicle or person too closely on the right would probably be deemed to be the fault of the cyclist.