Keep Right and Stop Signs

Question

Beth asked: A few situations have happened and I am questioning if the police officer is correct. Riding bike down a 2-lane road with no available shoulder. How much lane usage can I take up? I got stopped for being too far over in the lane of the car but that was because there was no shoulder to ride one. Another situation, I like riding early morning 3:00 am because no cars are on the road, trying to get a good workout riding 20 miles per hour, and got stopped for going through a stop sign even though i slowed down and made sure no cars were coming. Why should that matter at 3:00 in the morning when no one is on the road (except the police officer of course).

Answer

Concerning your second question, the law is clear, even at 3:00 AM with no traffic. It may not seem to make sense and Idaho has taken a common sense approach to bicycling laws. See this post:

http://flbikelaw.org/2009/08/idaho-rolling-stop-law/

Regarding your question about “keep right”, the answer depends on the width of the lane. If the lane is 14 feet or greater in width, we must keep as far right as is practicable to allow for efficient traffic flow. If the lane is less than 14 feet wide, which is about 95 % of roadways in Florida, it is considered a substandard-width lane and one of the exceptions to the keep right rule. One of the most dangerous things a cyclists can do is keep right in a narrow lane and encourage an overtaking motorist to try to squeeze by.  For a full discussion of this issue, please see this post;

http://flbikelaw.org/2010/01/substandard-width-lanes-updated/

In the event that your situation involves a substandard-width lane, a number of similar citations have been successfully challenged. The recommended method of challenge is a pretrial motion to dismiss. An attorney is not required to file such a challenge, but using one is recommended. Separately, I will forward a boilerplate pretrial motion to dismiss that has been used successfully in a number of jurisdictions.

Posted in Ask Geo, Lane Width & Sharing, Stop Signs & Red Lights
3 comments on “Keep Right and Stop Signs
  1. Harry says:

    Would be nice if cops actually knew the laws they are trying to enforce.

  2. Michael Grimes says:

    “Would be nice if cops actually knew the laws they are trying to enforce.”

    Indeed. A had an LEO tell me I couldn’t use a front flashing light and by doing so he could cite me on private property. Double wrong!

  3. Geo says:

    Michael,

    You are absolutely right.

    When things like this happen, I recommend writing a letter to the police chief identifying the officer and quoting the laws which you can find on this site, asking that they conduct training accordingly..

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