A bicycle lane is a part of the roadway intended to provide bicyclists with a more “comfortable” experience. Feeling safe does not equate to being safe. Research into the relative safety of bike lanes and shared lanes is inconclusive. The Federal Highway Administration does not have a crash reduction factor for bicycle lanes. Bicycle lanes are intended as “preferential use” lanes, not mandatory use lanes (although Florida statute 316.2065(5) now makes their use mandatory, with exceptions for unsafe conditions and situations).
In order to meet the statutory language, the paved area in question must be marked with a bicycle symbol and a directional arrow. There are numerous spaces on area roads that do not meet minimum width standards and other characteristics of correct bike lane design. Bicyclists are permitted to use such spaces, but are not required to. The width of the adjacent lane then determines whether or not the bicyclist is required to share that lane.
The minimum standard width for a bicycle lane is five feet from the lane stripe to the curb face, and a minimum of four feet of asphalt beyond the gutter pan. For state roadways with design speeds 50 mph and higher, the minimum width is 6.5 feet.