With or Against Traffic?
Stephen asked: When riding a bicycle on roads in FL, which direction is correct? WITH or AGAINST traffic? And could you provide the specific law associated with the answer?
A bicyclist driving a vehicle in the roadway and has the same rights and duties as other drivers, with few exceptions.
s. 316.003 – Definitions
(2) Bicycle – Every vehicle propelled solely by human power ….
s. 316.2065 – Bicycle 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 under this chapter, except as to special regulations in this chapter, and except as to provisions of this chapter which by their nature can have no application.
Note that the above applies to drivers of human powered vehicles, including bicycles. One of the most basic duties of all drivers is to drive in the same direction as other traffic and normally stay to the right.
s. 316.081 – Driving on Right Side of Roadway; Exceptions
(1) Upon all roadways of sufficient width, a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway
There are numerous exceptions, none of which allow driving against the normal flow of traffic.
The Bicycle Regulations are more specific about the bicyclist’s responsibility to drive with traffic.
(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 ….
Again, there are many exceptions, but none that permit driving against traffic.
We should note that the definition of “roadway” (s. 316.003(42)) excludes the shoulder. Confusion about whether riding against traffic is legal probably stems at least in part from the absence of any rules in chapter 316 that specifically address shoulder riding.
S. 316.089(1), “Driving on roadways laned for traffic”, implies that driving a vehicle on a shoulder would be illegal under ordinary conditions on a roadway with marked traffic lanes:
“A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from such lane until the driver has first ascertained that such movement can be made with safety”.
Nevertheless, riding on paved shoulders (where sufficiently wide to do so) of highways has been an accepted longstanding practice in Florida. Riding against traffic on a shoulder can be impractical insofar as shoulder obstructions, debris or damage may oblige a rider to move temporarily into the (laned) roadway, in which case a wrong-way rider would be operating contrary to law unless they moved to the opposite (right) side of the roadway so as to ride on the right. A shoulder rider might also need to enter the roadway to cross a side street.
However, no rule specifically prohibits a cyclist from riding against traffic on a shoulder.
I cannot get a single question answered. Our bicycle riders supposed to drive with traffic or against traffic. No where can I find this information for Florida.
As stated in the above post, “as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway”, a cyclist is operating a vehicle on the roads and must follow the same rules as other drivers. When in the roadway, drive in the same direction as other traffic.