Surrey Bikes in the Bike Lane

Question

Luis asked: I have a Surrey Bike, that’s a 5-person bicycle that looks like a golf car. Can I drive my bike on the bike lane or this kind of bike is merely exclusive for a tourist zone like Clearwater?

Answer

Your Surrey Bike is not a bicycle by the statutory definition since it has four wheels.

s. 316.003Definitions

(2) Bicycle – Every vehicle propelled solely by human power, …. having two tandem wheels, and including any device generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped with two front or two rear wheels…..

However, that is not a deterrent to its use. The applicable statute refers to human powered vehicles.

s. 316.2065Bicycle Regulations

(1) Every person propelling a vehicle by human power has all of the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle ….

The Bicycle Regulations do not say where in the roadway a human powered vehicle must be driven, since the “keep right” and in a bike lane provisions apply specifically to bicycles.

(5)(a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride in the lane marked for bicycle use or, if no lane is marked for bicycle use, as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway ….

Another statute does require that you keep to the right.

s. 316.081Driving on Right Side of Roadway; Exceptions

(2) Upon all roadways, any vehicle proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway

A bike lane is part of the roadway. Although there is reference to bike lanes, for which there is no statutory definition, as being “exclusive” in the statutes, that is not very clear, and the Florida Department of Transportation defines bike lanes as being “preferential use”. Obviously, there are circumstances that require other drivers to use a bike lane, even if momentarily, such as entering and leaving a roadway across a bike lane, and keeping as far right as is practicable when preparing for a right turn. See other posts on those subjects.

One possible limitation may be the width of a bike lane and the width of your vehicle. Drivers must stay within a single lane under most circumstances.

s. 316.089Driving on Roadways Laned for Traffic

(1) A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane ….

If your vehicle is wider than the bike lane, that might be a problem. However, the “as nearly as practicable” should apply, since you must comply with the “keep right” provisions above.

It is also not clear that other drivers cannot use a bike lane for normal travel if the vehicle’s width does not preclude them from doing so due to 316.0 81 above, such as mopeds and motorcycles (Smart Cars?).

Apparently, you can also drive your vehicle on sidewalks and bike paths, since only vehicles operating under other than human power are prohibited.

s. 316.1995Driving upon Sidewalk or Bicycle Path

(1) …. a person may not drive any vehicle other than by human power upon a bicycle path, sidewalk, or sidewalk area …..

Posted in Ask Geo, Bike Lanes, Definitions
2 comments on “Surrey Bikes in the Bike Lane
  1. Ian says:

    s. 316.003 – Definitions

    (2) Bicycle – Every vehicle propelled solely by human power, …. having two tandem wheels, and including any device generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped with two front or two rear wheels…..

    I think your interpretation is completely wrong. This seems to by written to include trike and quad bikes.

  2. Geo says:

    If it said “two front and/or two rear wheels” there would be no question that your interpretation is correct, but it doesn’t. It says “two front or two rear wheels”.

    Interesting that Oceola County does include four-wheel vehicles in its definition of “bicycle” by the use of “and/or”.
    Sec. 22-26. – Definitions.
    Bicycle means any device propelled by human power …. having two (2) tandem wheels, either of which is twenty (20) inches or more in diameter, and including any device generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped with two (2) front and/or two (2) rear wheels.

    The only time such different definitions might be a problem is when the county definition causes a conflict with any applicable state statute which would prevail. Both are human powered vehicles which seems to be the primary focus of the laws.

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