Informing Law Enforcement of the Laws
Harry asked: Last Saturday (4/19/14) I was on my group’s morning ride of about 12-16 riders. We were riding 2 abreast to the far left of the right hand lane on a 4 lane road with minimal traffic. I heard a vehicle approaching fast from behind us and announcing to ride single file on a PA system. The car passed the outside line of riders within 3 ft. at a high rate of speed. There was minimal traffic on the road and the car could have switched to the outside lane. I couldn’t read the lettering on the vehicle but it was defiantly a marked officer patrol car. I believe it was a Pasco County Sheriff but we had just crossed into Pinellas County so I can’t be sure. I feel like I should issue a complaint of some sort to the Sheriff’s department. Could you give me some pointers on how to address this?
Sorry about the delay in responding.
To begin, I suggest that you fully inform yourself and your fellow cyclists with the laws on this site, particularly those in the sections on Lane Width and Sharing, Impeding Traffic and Overtaking and Passing.
It appears that you were not impeding traffic since the officer passed easily.
Even if you are impeding traffic in a narrow lane you may not be violating any laws, but the paragraph sometimes requiring single file is taken out of context and improperly used by some officers since they don’t fully understand the other laws about cyclists in narrow lanes.
I recommend that you write a letter to the law enforcement agency in question, explain the circumstances and quote the statutes that are applicable.
Not having the correct agency should not deter you. Write to both and state that you aren’t certain of the correct one. You should politely request that the department inform its officers of all the applicable sections of the laws.
I suggest also attending your county’s Bike/Ped Advisory Committee and ask them to assist.