Left Turn Crash
Craig asked: I was recently in Deerfield traveling south in a lefthand turn lane to make a left turn. Northbound Traffic was backed up quite a bit and a large truck stopped to make way for me to make the left turn. Almost halfway through the turn, a cyclist slammed into me. He had to be traveling pretty fast based on the damage to the door and pillar. I didn’t see him and then he hit my vehicle. No tickets were issued to me but I am curious if A) are there are any kind of speed limits in the bike lane? (It is unclear if he was in the bike lane or sidewalk) and B) riding along all of the stopped backed up traffic, should there have been any caution on his end to follow the flow of traffic or entering cross roads?
A. No. A bike lane is part of the roadway and a bicycle is just another form of vehicle. The posted speed limit applies to bicycle operators on the roadway. Drivers turning left across a lane must yield to through traffic.
s. 316.122 – Vehicle Turning Left
The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction ….
We don’t know the speed of the cyclist when entering the intersection, so we can’t tell if this statute was violated.
s. 316.183 – Unlawful Speed
(1) No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing. In every event, speed shall be controlled as may be necessary to avoid colliding with any person, vehicle, or other conveyance or object on or entering the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to use due care.
(4) The driver of every vehicle shall, consistent with the requirements of subsection (1), drive at an appropriately reduced speed when:
(a) Approaching and crossing an intersection ….
It would be different if the bicyclist were on the sidewalk. A cyclist on a sidewalk has the same rights and duties as a pedestrian.
s. 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations
(9) A person propelling a vehicle by human power upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.
Drivers are required to yield to pedestrians (Or bicyclists with the same rights and duties as pedestrians) who are already in a crosswalk.
s. 316.130 – Pedestrians; Traffic Regulations
(c) When traffic control signals are not in place or in operation and there is no signage indicating otherwise, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.
From your description of the crash of the bicyclist into the side of your car, it appears your vehicle was in the crosswalk when the bicyclist left the sidewalk and entered the crosswalk. If that is the case, the bicyclist left a place of safety and struck your vehicle.
If traffic control signals were present, they would dictate the right of way.
B. It would be prudent for the bicyclist to regard the intersection as a potential hazard.