Motorcycle in the Bike Lane

Question

Kirby in MN asked: My head is spinning looking into the very ambiguous Florida bike /bike lane statutes. Maybe you could find this quicker with your experience with FL statutes.  If I was a Florida cop and saw a motorcyclist (full size not a moped) riding in a bike lane, what statute would I charge him with violating?

Answer

These two statutes would be the basis for the citation:

s. 316.089 Driving on Roadways Laned for Traffic

Whenever any roadway has been divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic, the following rules, in addition to all others consistent herewith, shall apply:

(3) Official traffic control devices may be erected directing specified traffic to use a designated lane or designating those lanes to be used by traffic moving in a particular direction regardless of the center of the roadway; and drivers of vehicles shall obey the directions of every such device.

s. 316.074 Obedience to and Required Traffic Control Devices

(1) The driver of any vehicle shall obey the instructions of any official traffic control device applicable thereto,

Here’s the definition from the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices:

23. Bicycle Lane—a portion of a roadway that has been designated for preferential or exclusive use by bicyclists by pavement markings and, if used, signs.

And from the Florida Department of Transportation Plans Preparation Manual:

3. Bicycle Lane: A bicycle lane (bike lane) is a portion of a roadway (either with curb and gutter or a flush shoulder) which has been designated by striping, special pavement markings, and signing for the preferential use by bicyclists.

It is interesting to note the difference in the definition above. The MUTCD uses “preferential or exclusive”, and the PPM uses only ”preferential”.

I don’t believe there is any difference though, because the MUTCD also defines a preferential lane to be exclusive.

153. Preferential Lane—a highway lane reserved for the exclusive use of one or more specific types of vehicles

There would be no difference if the vehicle in the bike lane were a motorcycle or a moped operating on motor power since for traffic law purposes, both are motor vehicles.

However, if the moped were operating using only human power, there would be no violation since it would be operating as a bicycle.

s. 316.003 – Definitions

(2) Bicycle – Every vehicle propelled solely by human power …. having two tandem wheels ….

Posted in Ask Geo, Bike Lanes Tagged with: , , ,
3 comments on “Motorcycle in the Bike Lane
  1. Dwight Kingsbury says:

    I doubt S. 316.074 would be of much use, as the standard Bike Lane sign (http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/htm/2009r1r2/part9/fig9b_02_longdesc.htm) simply says “BIKE LANE” (under a graphic of the bicycle symbol) and has no regulatory meaning for motorists defined in Florida Statutes.

    The MUTCD’s definitions are internally inconsistent. If a “preferential lane” of any type were always for “exclusive use”, then the “preferential or exclusive use” wording in the MUTCD’s definition of “Bicycle Lane” would be redundant. Also, if a bicycle lane were legally for the exclusive use of bicyclists, then every motorist who crossed a solid-striped bike lane to turn into or out of a gas station or other commercial site–or even a residence, for that matter– would be breaking the law.

    Another difficulty with the exclusive-use interpretation is that s. 316.151(1) requires that “Both the approach for a right turn and a right turn shall be made as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway”. As a bicycle lane is part of the roadway (MUTCD definition) and the law mentions no exception to the right-turn rule where a bike lane runs along the right curb of the roadway, the logical inference is that this requires merging into the bike lane (after yielding to any cyclist present, of course) to make a right turn, as long as this is “practicable”.

    FDOT design standards show a skip-stripe treatment for a bike lane line on final approach to a stop line at a signalized intersection, but in the field many bike lanes are solid-striped as far as the stop line.

    • Dwight Kingsbury says:

      No regulatory meaning for motorists, I should have said, except to prohibit parking in a bike lane (s. 316.1945). That section refers to “exclusive bicycle lane”, but nowhere defines the term or says just where the “exclusive” quality applies.

  2. Geo says:

    The following from Mighk Wilson, president of FBA:

    “There’s no explicit statutory prohibition for motor vehicles traveling in bike lanes (and a moped is not defined as a “motor vehicle” under Ch. 316); the law requires drivers to travel within a single lane works to keep cars out of them, as do bike lane signs and markings that say “Bikes Only,”

    316.089 states: “Official traffic control devices may be erected directing specified traffic to use a designated lane or designating those lanes to be used by traffic moving in a particular direction regardless of the center of the roadway; and drivers of vehicles shall obey the directions of every such device.”

    But that doesn’t say specified traffic is prohibited from designated lanes…

    It’s all clear as mud.”

1 Pings/Trackbacks for "Motorcycle in the Bike Lane"

Leave a Reply