Dallas asked: I am a Police Officer in Fort Myers, Yesterday we were conducting ped/bike enforcement along US-41. The biggest thing we observed were bicycles leaving the sidewalk, crossing three lanes of traffic, riding in the center turn lane for 200-1000 feet before a clearing opened and then they cut across the final three lanes. Would this fall under the same pedestrian law that they must cross at a 90 degree angle when not in a marked crosswalk? Or is this completely legal? The bicycle statutes are a little vague on this.
The statute to which you refer is as follows:
s. 316.130 – Pedestrians; Traffic Regulations
(14)No pedestrian shall cross a roadway intersection diagonally unless authorized by official traffic control devices, and, when authorized to cross diagonally, pedestrians shall cross only in accordance with the official traffic control devices pertaining to such crossing movements.
When on the sidewalk, a bicyclist has the rights and duties of a pedestrian. As long as the bicyclist, while on the sidewalk or sidewalk area, enters the roadway in a lawful manner, the cyclist would comply with the applicable statute.
(8) No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.
Once in the roadway, the cyclist is no longer controlled by the pedestrian regulations, and is operating a vehicle on the roadway. The cyclist must comply with the statutes regarding lane usage. As long as the cyclist changes lanes legally, uses appropriate signals when required and does not unlawfully interfere with other traffic, there would to be no violation.
A bicyclist preparing for a left turn may use the full lane for as long as is required to make the turn safely. That is the case whether there is a turn lane or a normal lane. Bicyclists must use breaks in traffic to move to the left to prepare for a left turn. That may mean a long time before the actual turn. In one court case, a judge ruled that the bicyclist legally remained in the left lane for 1300 feet while preparing for the left turn.
s. 316.151 – Required Position and Method of Turning at Intersections
(1)The driver of a vehicle intending to turn at an intersection shall do so as follows:
(b)Left turn – The driver of a vehicle intending to turn left at any intersection shall approach the intersection in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the direction of travel of such vehicle, and, after entering the intersection, the left turn shall be made so as to leave the intersection in a lane lawfully available to traffic moving in such direction upon the roadway being entered. A person riding a bicycle and intending to turn left in accordance with this section is entitled to the full use of the lane from which the turn may legally be made. Whenever practicable the left turn shall be made in that portion of the intersection to the left of the center of the intersection.
(c)Left turn by bicycle – In addition to the method of making a left turn described in paragraph (b), a person riding a bicycle and intending to turn left has the option of following the course described hereafter: The rider shall approach the turn as close as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway; after proceeding across the intersecting roadway, the turn shall be made as close as practicable to the curb or edge of the roadway on the far side of the intersection; and, before proceeding, the bicyclist shall comply with any official traffic control device or police officer regulating traffic on the highway along which the bicyclist intends to proceed.
See the posts about lane width and sharing for more details about the bicyclist in the roadway.
This behavior doesn’t necessarily occur near intersections. Riders who leave a sidewalk and ride out onto the roadway at a driveway (or other location away from a crosswalk), cross travel lanes to enter a two-way left-turn lane (TWLTL, aka “center turn lane”), travel for some distance in the TWLTL, then cross more lanes to leave the roadway at another driveway (or jump the curb to return to sidewalk) may be nowhere near an intersection.
A bicyclist who enters a roadway outside of a crosswalk is subject to driver rules. What rule or rules in the Florida Uniform Traffic Contro Law might be argued to prohibit a driver from making such a move?
1. S. 316.089(2) sets forth restrictions on use of a “center lane” on a 2-way, 3-lane roadway, but this rule would not apply on a roadway with more than 3 lanes.
Page 43 of the 2013 Florida Driver Handbook shows the Two-Way Left Turn Only sign (the R3-9b sign, described in MUTCD section 2B.24, http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/htm/2009r1r2/part2/part2b.htm#section2B24 ). This sign, if displayed, would prohibit using a TWLTL for purposes other than making a left turn. The Uniform Traffic Control Law is silent, though, about how far a driver may go in a TWLTL for purposes of “preparing” for a left turn.
Some other states have specific regulations on use of TWLTLs. For example, s. 21460.5 of the California Vehicle Code provides:
“(c) A vehicle shall not be driven in a designated two-way left-turn lane except when preparing for or making a left turn from or into a highway or when preparing for or making a U-turn when otherwise permitted by law, and shall not be driven in that lane for more than 200 feet while preparing for and making the turn or while preparing to merge into the adjacent lanes of travel…”
2. A rider who crosses travel lanes so as to enter a TWLTL is changing lanes. Per s. 316.085(2):
“No vehicle shall be driven from a direct course in any lane on any highway until the driver has determined that the vehicle is not being approached or passed by any other vehicle in the lane or on the side to which the driver desires to move and that the move can be completely made with safety and without interfering with the safe operation of any vehicle approaching from the same direction.”
My question is directed at Dallas, the police officer that opened this question thread. Kindly enlighten me about what “Item 51” means in police terminology. I was stopped by a police officer on my way to work this morning and he did an identity check on me and asked about my bike. He took all my details: address, phone no,ID card details. I overheard him on his radio receiving a code word “Item 51” and thereafter he allowed me to go. An elderly friend gave me the bike to assist my transportation. Please what is the meaning of “Item 51”? Thank you.