Sean asked: A group of riders and myself (also a rider) were discussing the age old question of whether it’s better, from both a safety and legality standpoint, whether it’s better for us to ride single file in our narrow bike lane or to take the lane. The statutes state you can’t impede traffic, which led me to your site when I was researching what constitutes as ‘impede’.
So you have some great info in your “Impeding Traffic Explained” article and I thought your question was answered because we saw this:
“Additionally, 2-abreast riders do not impede traffic if: (the below applies to any width lane with or without the presence of a bike lane)
*on a multi-lane road – motorists can pass in the next lane over”
To finally get to my question, the statutes obtusely say, ” Persons riding two abreast may not impede traffic when traveling at less than the normal speed of traffic”. Where did the organization get this other information that further explained what constitutes impeding?
There are a number of posts on this site that quote the applicable laws. This one specifically addresses impeding other traffic.
In summary, under certain circumstances cyclists must use the bike lanes provided and if so, may not enter the main travel lanes. There are many exceptions. When within the bike lane, they may ride two or more abreast.
In the absence of bike lanes, a single cyclist may legally impede traffic while riding in a substandard-width lane. That is often the safest option since there is not room for an overtaking motorist to pass within the lane.
In a wide lane, which FDOT says is 14 feet or wider, cyclists must keep right under some circumstances which would likely mean riding single file to allow normal traffic flow within the lane. Again, there are exceptions.
Two cyclists riding abreast are not impeding traffic any more than a single cyclist legally taking the lane in a substandard-width lane.
Please take the time to search the site for the many other posts on these topics.