Overtaking & Passing

"Control & release" is a cooperative technique used by savvy cyclists to discourage unwise/unsafe passing.

“Control & release” is a cooperative technique used by savvy cyclists to discourage unwise/unsafe passing.

Generally, the rules about overtaking and passing apply to operators of all vehicles.  Passing must be accomplished safely and without interfering with the vehicle being passed.  Overtaking drivers must change lanes to pass another vehicle unless the lane is wide enough (14-16 feet, depending on vehicle size) to pass a bicycle safely, allowing a minimum of 3 feet of clearance, while remaining within the lane.  If on-coming traffic, a blind curve or other hazard exists, the overtaking driver must wait until the hazard is no longer present.

Bicyclists in narrow lanes are not required to keep right or ride single file, regardless of the presence of drivers desiring to go faster. Bicyclist must only move right and ride single file if the lane is wide enough to share.  A bicyclist remaining far to the right in a narrow lane is at risk of unwittingly encouraging drivers to attempt to unlawfully and unsafely pass within the lane.  Moving to the center of the lane communicates to the overtaking driver that there is not room to safely pass within the lane. Bicyclists may even move to the left side of the lane to discourage a pass where there is oncoming traffic, limited visibility to the oncoming lane or a stop sign, stop light or queued traffic ahead. Motorists often try to pass without taking such things into account, smart and assertive bicyclists will attempt to stop an unwise pass.

Category: Overtaking & Passing
"Control & release" is a cooperative technique used by savvy cyclists to discourage unwise/unsafe passing.

“Control & release” is a cooperative technique used by savvy cyclists to discourage unwise/unsafe passing.

Generally, the rules about overtaking and passing apply to operators of all vehicles.  Passing must be accomplished safely and without interfering with the vehicle being passed.  Overtaking drivers must change lanes to pass another vehicle unless the lane is wide enough (14-16 feet, depending on vehicle size) to pass a bicycle safely, allowing a minimum of 3 feet of clearance, while remaining within the lane.  If on-coming traffic, a blind curve or other hazard exists, the overtaking driver must wait until the hazard is no longer present.

Bicyclists in narrow lanes are not required to keep right or ride single file, regardless of the presence of drivers desiring to go faster. Bicyclist must only move right and ride single file if the lane is wide enough to share.  A bicyclist remaining far to the right in a narrow lane is at risk of unwittingly encouraging drivers to attempt to unlawfully and unsafely pass within the lane.  Moving to the center of the lane communicates to the overtaking driver that there is not room to safely pass within the lane. Bicyclists may even move to the left side of the lane to discourage a pass where there is oncoming traffic, limited visibility to the oncoming lane or a stop sign, stop light or queued traffic ahead. Motorists often try to pass without taking such things into account, smart and assertive bicyclists will attempt to stop an unwise pass.

Passing on the Right

Question Doc asked: If car traffic is traveling slower than I am on my bicycle, may I pass those vehicles on their right? The road is quite wide, with a three to four foot paved shoulder marked by a solid

Posted in Ask Geo, Overtaking & Passing

Crossing Double Yellow Lines

Question Mark asked: Recently I was pulled over and given a warning for crossing a double yellow line at my school. The problem occurs when some people drop their kids off at the “car drop off point” while others go

Posted in Ask Geo, Overtaking & Passing

Yielding to Backed Up Traffic

Question Laura asked: In Florida, is it law that cyclists (and I presume motorists) must pull off the road when practicable, when a certain number of vehicles are following behind them in a non-passing zone? As a young driver of

Posted in Ask Geo, Lane Width & Sharing, Overtaking & Passing

Three Foot Rule

Question Mary asked: Bicycle safety. One of the most crucial, but often overlooked factors in bicycle safety is the Florida rule that bicyclists should ride within 3 feet of the right curb. (That is why the marked bicycle lanes are

Posted in Ask Geo, Lane Width & Sharing, Overtaking & Passing

No-Passing Zones

Question Kevin asked: One of the roads that I travel to work is frequented by bicycles.  Sometimes they are two abreast, and sometimes there are many traveling in a single file.  This road has curves in some areas, and double

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Passing Within a Bike Lane

Question Dennis asked: What is the correct method of passing another cyclists in a marked bike lane?  To me it makes sense to announce “Passing on left” and simply pass outside the marked bike lane using the regular roadway. Of

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Citations for Three-Foot Law

Question Jack asked: I would like to know how many tickets have been given to motorists that have violated the 3 foot law?  Is there a web site that shows all the tickets that have been given and counties in

Posted in Ask Geo, Overtaking & Passing

Passing Slower Traffic

Question Ette asked:  If a cyclist wants to make a left turn from the left turn lane, and straight traffic on the left is slow, may the cyclist pass the traffic on the left to get access to the turn

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Crash Report

Question Alex asked: I was riding in a marked bicycle lane when a vehicle made a right turn through me. I was already at the hospital by the time the police officer arrived at the accident site. The driver of

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Wide Load

Question Ron asked:  I just experienced a rather close call with a semi transporting a rather wide boat. The semi was immediately preceded by a “safety vehicle” with flashing lights, etc. I was riding the paved shoulder of SR40. The

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