Groups of Cyclists Impeding Other Traffic

Question

Anonymous asked: Maybe I’m completely wrong. Saturday, 7/28/18, about 8:30 am, my wife and I were travelling to Leesburg from Orlando. We took County Road 455 as a scenic route on our journey. The portion between The West Orange Trail and CR 561 is what this is about. It is very scenic, with tons of curves and hills (yes hills), and speed limits between 35 and 45 mph, except in Montverde.

I encountered lots of cyclist that morning. Since most of this 13 mile stretch is a double yellow line, I like everyone else around me would punch it and pass the 6 or so cyclist illegally and continue on my journey. A few miles into this stretch I hit a group of cyclist 1 to 2 hundred yards long, 2 to 3 wide, with an average speed of 15 mph (MUCH LESS on the hills, obviously). This group was so long that they extended over the hills and around the curves so that a driver (if illegally attempted ) would have to pass in the oncoming lanes in these blind spots. After tailing the pack for a few minutes, (15 mph) a man at the back motioned for me to pass repeatedly and gave me a thumbs up. I, not knowing if they had a radio to the front to see if it was clear, began to pass them up a hill, blindly. Once over the hill, I saw the pack extended almost to the bottom of the hill, into a blind curve. Halfway down the hill an oncoming car came around the curve and I drove my 1 ton ,dually van, off the road away from the cyclist. The big tired, pick up truck behind me continued on and bluffed the car and the cyclist to move or get hit. Each time I caught the pack after that I would pull off on a side road and sit for 10 min. hoping that they would get far enough ahead of me that I could take an alternate route from theirs. I saw a motorhome pass them up a blind hill as well as others.

I know that cyclists have the right to ride in the road. Do they have the right to stop everyone else from using the road in a reasonable manner? If all I had to do was slow down and wait to pass, that is one thing. But to not be able to pass for 5-7 miles and travel 5 mph up hills and 15 mph on flat parts, is unreasonable. When cyclist rights infringe on motorist rights then someone should do something. Even for conscience sake. Would those same cyclist stand in support of motorist rights, if I and some friends got a caravan together and traveled 7 mph on the flat land and 3 mph on the hills in front of their pack for the 12 mile stretch? I doubt it. They would be cussing, calling the police, and trying to illegally pass us, It disturbed me to see so many frustrated motorist risking their lives out of understandable frustration. Especially when the West Orange Trail was so close by. What are your thoughts about this?
P.S. There were no posted signs or Police to indicate that there was a designated race or event or I would have turned around and went another way.

Answer

First let’s address the double yellow lines.

The law presently states that you can cross a double yellow line if there is an obstruction and the opposite on-coming lane is clear.

s. 316.0875No-passing Zones

(2) Where signs or markings are in place to define a no-passing zone as set forth in subsection (1), no driver shall at any time drive on the left side of the roadway with such no-passing zone or on the left side of any pavement striping designed to mark such no-passing zone throughout its length.

(3) This section does not apply 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.

Is a bicycle an obstruction? Please see this post.

http://flbikelaw.org/2009/07/passing-a-bicyclist-in-a-no-passing-zone/

At one time, the FBA had an item on its legislative agenda to change the statute to read “ …. obstruction or bicyclist traveling at less than the normal speed of traffic ….”. I don’t know the present status.

That would not affect your situation though.

Under certain circumstances, bicyclists may legally impede other traffic. One of those is when in a substandard-width lane. The roadway in question is likely comprised of the normal 12-foot lanes. See these posts.

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

http://flbikelaw.org/2010/05/bicycles-impeding-traffic/

The bicyclists were within their rights to ride on this roadway. There is no statute that limits the number of cyclists or their minimum speed. There also is no statute that guarantees motorists that they can travel at the desired speed. Your reference to driving a motor vehicle at a reduced speed could result in a citation though.

s. 316.183 – Unlawful Speed

(5) No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.

Bicyclists may not ride more than two abreast in the roadway. In lanes that are wide enough for a motor vehicle to safely pass a bicycle within the lane the bicyclist must keep right and ride single file to avoid impeding other traffic.

http://flbikelaw.org/2009/07/cyclists-riding-two-abreast/

In an ideal world, large groups of cyclists would break up into smaller groups to facilitate overtaking and passing and for their own safety, but there is no legal requirement for them to do so.   The Florida Department of Transportation would also design and install all roadways to fully accommodate all legal means of transport.

Posted in Ask Geo, Group Riding, Impeding Traffic, Lane Width & Sharing

Leave a Reply