Which Side of the Roadway?

Question

Erin asked: Which statue tells you what side of the road a bicyclist has to ride in the state of Florida? And by Florida state law you have to ride with the flow of traffic while riding a bicycle, correct?

Answer

Bicycles are vehicles and their operators must comply with all traffic laws.

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 under this chapter ….

(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 ….

That is no different from the requirement to drive all slower vehicles to the right.  Bicycles are vehicles.

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 ….
(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 ….

There are many exceptions to the keep right provision.

Posted in Ask Geo, Rights & Duties
4 comments on “Which Side of the Roadway?
  1. Phil Leinbach says:

    There is at least one state where bicycles ride opposing traffic, maybe Nebraska?? I personally think this is better since cyclists can see what’s coming at them and can make evasive maneuvers if needed. Having cars coming up blindly behind cyclists is very dangerous.

    • In any state it’s legal, in a location where riding on the sidewalk is legal, to ride against the direction of (same-side) traffic on the sidewalk. On the roadway, no state allows riding against same-side traffic, except on separated bikeways that have been built in a few cities. Having a motorist blindly approach an oncoming wrong-way cyclist at the top of a hill, or around an inside curve, would indeed by dangerous. Wrong-way cycling approaching a driveway where a motorist is preparing to make a right turn into the roadway is also risky, because many entering drivers never look right. A cyclist who uses a handlebar- or helmet-mounted rear-view mirror can monitor overtaking traffic.

  2. Geo says:

    Phil,

    That was the law in Florida until 1980 or so. Numerous thorough studies have shown to be safer to cycle with traffic so the law was changed. Although one of the fears of cyclists is being hit from behind, the past and present statistics show that only a very small percentage of crashes involving cyclists riding legally are due to that. You can google it and find many such studies by Florida and the US.

    • There was a time, before 1983, when Florida defined “Bicycle” as a “device…”, not as a “vehicle”. Nevertheless, a cyclist riding on the roadway still had to ride on the right side, because s. 316.2065 included a provision that “Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway shall…be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this chapter, except as to special regulations in this chapter…” An exception was made for streets while set aside as “play streets”, but otherwise no special regulation excepted roadway cyclists from the duty of obeying the drive-right rule.

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