Driving on the Left Side of a Four-Lane Roadway

Question

Scott asked: Are there any statutes or exceptions for the following scenario?  Bicycle driver riding on left side of road, two lanes in each direction, no bike lane or curb. The reason on left side of road was she was going to make turn into private driveway to business area which led to gym she was going to. There were barricades and construction on same side of roadway ahead which is why she was going to turn in earlier than expected and not on right side. Any exceptions?

Answer

Usually a bicyclist must use the left lane in the direction of normal traffic flow when preparing for a left turn at an intersection.

s. 316.151 – Required Position and Method of Turning at Intersections

(1) The driver of a vehicle intending to turn at an intersection shall do so as follows:

(b) Left turn —The driver of a vehicle intending to turn left at any intersection shall approach the intersection in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the direction of travel of such vehicle, and, after entering the intersection, the left turn shall be made so as to leave the intersection in a lane lawfully available to traffic moving in such direction upon the roadway being entered. A person riding a bicycle and intending to turn left in accordance with this section is entitled to the full use of the lane from which the turn may legally be made. Whenever practicable the left turn shall be made in that portion of the intersection to the left of the center of the intersection.

On roadways with four or more lanes, drivers must almost always use the right lanes in the normal flow of traffic.

s. 316.081 – Driving on Right Side of Roadway; Exceptions

(4) Upon any roadway having four or more lanes for moving traffic and providing for two-way movement of traffic, no vehicle shall be driven to the left of the centerline of the roadway ….

(See more of this statute below)

On other roadways, bicyclists or other drivers are normally not permitted to drive on the left side of the roadway against the normal flow of traffic but there are exceptions. The following statutes apply.

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.

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, except as follows:

(a) When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction under the rules governing such movement;

(b) When an obstruction exists making it necessary to drive to the left of the center of the highway; provided any person so doing shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles traveling in the proper direction upon the unobstructed portion of the highway within such distance as to constitute an immediate hazard;

(c) Upon a roadway divided into three marked lanes for traffic under the rules applicable thereon; or

(d) Upon a roadway designated and signposted for one-way traffic.

(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 except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

(3) On a road, street, or highway having two or more lanes allowing movement in the same direction, a driver may not continue to operate a motor vehicle in the furthermost left-hand lane if the driver knows or reasonably should know that he or she is being overtaken in that lane from the rear by a motor vehicle traveling at a higher rate of speed. This subsection does not apply to drivers operating a vehicle that is overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, or is preparing for a left turn at an intersection.

(4) Upon any roadway having four or more lanes for moving traffic and providing for two-way movement of traffic, no vehicle shall be driven to the left of the centerline of the roadway, except when authorized by official traffic control devices designating certain lanes to the left side of the center of the roadway for use by traffic not otherwise permitted to use such lanes, or except as permitted under paragraph (1)(b). However, this subsection shall not be construed as prohibiting the crossing of the centerline in making a left turn into or from an alley, private road, or driveway.

For a two-way roadway, a bicyclist or other driver using the left lane and traveling against the flow of traffic is subject to certain prohibitions.

s. 316.087 – Further Limitations on Driving to Left of Center of Roadway

(1) No vehicle shall at any time be driven to the left side of the roadway under the following conditions:

(a) When approaching or upon the crest of a grade where the driver’s view is obstructed within such distance as to create a hazard in the event another vehicle might approach from the opposite direction;

(b) Upon a curve in the highway where the driver’s view is obstructed within such distance as to create a hazard in the event another vehicle might approach from the opposite direction;

(c) When approaching within 100 feet of or traversing any intersection, except that this section shall not apply to any intersection on a state-maintained or county-maintained highway located outside city limits unless such intersection is marked by an official Department of Transportation or county road department traffic control device indicating an intersection either by symbol or by words and such marking is placed at least 100 feet before the intersection;

(d) When approaching within 100 feet of or traversing any railroad grade crossing;

(e) When the view is obstructed upon approaching within 100 feet of any bridge, viaduct, or tunnel.

(2) The foregoing limitations shall not apply upon a one-way roadway, nor when an obstruction exists making it necessary to drive to the left of the center of the highway, nor to the driver of a vehicle turning left into or from an alley, private road or driveway

Although not specified, I believe the exception about crossing the center line when making a left turn into a driveway only applies to the immediate area in which the turn is made.

Posted in Ask Geo, Rights & Duties

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