Linda asked: If a bicyclist is in the bike lane and a car is in the car lane – is there a distance that the car must stay away from the bicyclist? (i.e. in Maine, the car must stay at least 36″ away from the bike in the bike lane). Is there a similar distance requirement in Florida?
A driver of any vehicle must stay at least 3 feet from a bicyclist when passing, whether the cyclist is in a bike or not.
s. 316.083 – Overtaking and Passing a Vehicle
The following rules shall govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction ….
(1) …. The driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle must pass the bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle at a safe distance of not less than 3 feet between the vehicle and the bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle.
I had a police officer buzz me on Fort Lauderdale Beach when I was riding in the bike lane. I caught up with the officer at the next traffic light. There was a 3′ please sticker on the car bumper I asked that he read it. He said he didn’t have to give me 3′ if I was in the bike lane. We have a long way to go in educating the public as they will never see police officers changing lanes to pass us.