Club Rides Taking the Travel Lane

Question

Gary asked: In Indian Rocks Beach and Indian Shores FL, Gulf Blvd is one lane divided by a double yellow line which means no passing. There’s a designated bike lane. These groups of bicycle club riders some times blocks long and 4 abreast refuse to follow the rules to allow cars to pass. This road situation is 5 miles long and they want us to pass. What can be done to make them follow the law and ride single file in the bike lane?

Answer

This is a common problem and there are a number of related posts in this section:

http://flbikelaw.org/category/lane-width-sharing/

The law that requires the use of a bike lane in some circumstances and gives exceptions is this:

s. 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations

(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 except under any of the following situations:

  1. When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction

  2. When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway

  3. When reasonably necessary to avoid any condition or potential conflict, including, but not limited to, a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, bicycle, pedestrian, animal, surface hazard, turn lane, or substandard-width lane, which makes it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge or within a bicycle lane. For the purposes of this subsection, a “substandard-width lane” is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

When in a travel lane shared with other drivers, bicyclists may not ride more than two abreast under any circumstances. That restriction does not apply to bicyclists in a bike lane who may ride three or more abreast if the bike lane is wide enough and they are skillful.

(6) Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway may not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.

Under some circumstances, it is legal to cross the double yellow line to pass. See this post and the included link:

http://flbikelaw.org/2013/12/no-passing-zones/

It sounds like the cyclists are violating the law and law enforcement should be informed. In cases like this, the cyclists are usually in a club or other organized group and start their rides regularly at the same location, time and day. The police should have no problem finding the culprits and cautioning them.

You may also want to enlist the aid of your local Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee.  They are meeting tomorrow.

http://www.pinellascounty.org/mpo/agendas/BPAC%20Meeting/2016/May%2016%202016%20BPAC%20agenda.pdf

 

Posted in Ask Geo, Lane Width & Sharing, Overtaking & Passing
7 comments on “Club Rides Taking the Travel Lane
  1. phil Leinbach says:

    Since bike riders are tax payers too, don’t they have the same entitlements to the road as the motorists? This mentality that motorists are more entitled to the road because their vehicle is bigger is barbaric. I pay more taxes than 99% of the motorists and I’m a second class citizen every time I get on my bike!

    • john tanner says:

      The bike lane through the narrows of Indian Rocks Beach and Redington is poorly engineered. The lane is full of sand , drainage grids , elevated bus stop bumps , blind driveway entrances , pedestrians , pavement is uneven chip seal these factors make this 5 miles stretch unacceptable for group cycling. That is why the cyclist are in the traffic lane. Cyclist have the right to take the lane when the bicycle lane is not safe. FBA or anybody can inform Fla. DOT that this situation exist and hope they incorporate some engineering into a safer lane for cyclist. We will happily use when safe.

  2. Geo says:

    Phil,

    You are correct that we have the same rights and duties as other drivers under most circumstances.

    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.

    Bicyclists actually have more rights than motorists, since we can ride on bike paths and sidewalks (Unless there is a local ordinance to the contrary)

    However, we live in a motorist centric society and the legislators seem to be trying to accommodate the usual speed differences between bicyclists and motorists in the roadway. Bicyclists keep right and in bike lanes under certain circumstances.

    Note the many exceptions. The narrow lane exception above applies to 95% (My estimate) of lanes in Florida. Less than 14 feet wide, which FDOT says is the minimum width for a most motor vehicles to safely pass a bicycle while remaining within the same lane.

    Bike lanes are not for normal motorist use and main travel lanes are normally not for use by bicyclists if bike lanes are present.

  3. VelociPete says:

    “a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.”

    many motorists seem to forget (or don’t know – or don’t want to know) that in FL, as in many states, passing “safely” requires that the motor vehicle maintain a separation of at least 3′ (or 1m) from the widest part of the bicycle (i.e., the handlebars). And that if they can’t maintain 3′ separation, they are required to hit the brakes and wait until the oncoming traffic moves away.

  4. Geo says:

    VelociPete,

    The statute to which you refer is this:

    s. 316.083 – Overtaking and Passing a Vehicle

    The following rules shall govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction, subject to those limitations, exceptions, and special rules hereinafter stated:

    (1) The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall give an appropriate signal as provided for in s. 316.156, shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance, and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle. The driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle must pass the bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle at a safe distance of not less than 3 feet between the vehicle and the bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle.

  5. Geo says:

    John,

    You can’t rely on someone else to solve your problems. You must act in your own interests. You may want to contact your local police department to inform them of the situation and the reason you are not using the bike lane. You may want to address your concerns to the local Community Traffic Safety Team also. Contacts here;
    http://www.pinellascounty.org/MPO/CTST/index.htm#Contact
    If you coordinate your efforts with your club or other groups, you may be more effective.

    • john tanner says:

      Geo, The bike lane issue on gulf bvd. through Indian rocks beach is not my problem. I have no problem waiting for cyclist that use the traffic lane to avoid the danger of the poorly engineered bike/pedestrian lane. This 5 mile stretch is easily ridden by our groups using the traffic lane provided by law. The law allows the cyclist to use the full lane when the bike lane is dangerous. Clearly anybody can see how dumb the DOT was to pay for a bike lane littered with obstacles.
      Also I drive my Toyota Tundra on Gulf Blvd daily and follow tourist driving slower than the bicycles go; some @ 15mph looking for addresses. I simply slow down my vehicle to share the road with slow tourist and eco friendly cyclist. The speed limit is 30mph and the bicycle groups go and average of 25mph. The speed difference is not that great and really doesn’t impede traffic. Gulf Bvd. is not a speed way for motorist that break the law. Bicycles have equal access to all public roadways. I enjoy seeing the bicycles and sharing the road even when I’m in my truck. No Problem at all.

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