Right Turns Again
J Lewis asked: Today I (a cyclist) was stopped at a red light while in a bike lane, and I was honked at and harassed by a person in a vehicle behind me. I presume they were trying to turn right, and I was in their way.
Am I correct in thinking that I was in the right to hold my ground and not budge until I had a green light, or should I have picked up my bicycle and moved off the curb into the grass so he could pass me? There was a proper turn lane just to the left of me, but he wasn’t in it and there were other cars preventing him from merging back into that lane.
This is a slightly different circumstance than some of the other situations listed on this site so I was hoping for some direct clarification. I’d like to know what to do for sure should this situation come up again.
When you are riding legally, you are not required to get out of the way of other drivers. You have the same rights and duties as any other driver.
s. 316.2065 – Bicycle 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 ….
If you were legally driving a motor vehicle and something similar happened, would you even consider that you should move out of the way of another driver because they honked their horn. You were correct in your actions, and the motorist had no valid reason to expect otherwise.
The exception to that guidance is when riding legally and blocking a lot of drivers who have no other course but to remain behind you for a long period, you may want to consider using safe and convenient options to move out of the way to allow them to pass. Some states require that, but Florida laws do not.
See also this post: http://flbikelaw.org/2012/08/rude-bicyclist-or-rude-motorist/
The roadway configuration you describe, a bike lane to the right of a right turn lane, presents serious problems. You have mentioned one. The worst is that drivers in the right turn lane must cross the bike lane to turn right, the classic right hook for a bicyclist, since few look behind to the right before turning.
The bike lanes at some intersections are improperly marked. They should end or change to dashed lines 50-200 feet before the intersection, indicating that motorists should move as far right in the roadway (including the bike lane) as is practicable, as required by law, and that bicyclists are not required to remain in the bike lane. See this post for a better way to approach this situation:
See also the other posts under “right turns” in the tag cloud.
The Department of Transportation recognizes the problem and is taking steps to correct it for right turn only lanes, but many roads still have that configuration and will remain that way until scheduled repaving or reconstruction occurs. See these recently revised documents:
FDOT Plans Preparation Manual (For state roadways)
8.4.1 Bicycle Lanes
At intersections with right turn lanes, the bicycle lane shall continue adjacent to the through lane; between the through lane and the right turn lane ….
Manual of Uniform Minimum Standards for Design, Construction and Maintenance for Streets and Highways (Florida Greenbook) (For county and municipality roadways)
B.2 Bike Lanes
…. In most cases, bike lanes will be through lanes and be located to the right of the right most through lane.
The Bicycle Regulations were recently changed to make it clear that bicyclists should consider intersections to be unsafe conditions. An exception to the “keep right” or in the bike lane rule at turn lanes is incorporated:
(5)(a)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.