Riding on Left Side With Traffic
Andrew asked: Living in Naples I ride on some 6 lane divided roadways that don’t always have a bike lane. When these roads do not have a bike lane, am I restricted to only riding on the right side and only moving to the left lane when I am making a left turn? Or can I lawfully move over and ride in the left hand lane prior to reaching the intersection where I turn left? If I am allowed to travel in the left lane is there a maximum distance I can travel in this lane? (By left lane, I am referring to the lane farthest left in the direction I’m traveling.)
There are specific laws that apply. The first relates to general travel on a one-way highway, upon which the left edge of the roadway may be used.
s. 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations
5.(b) Any person operating a bicycle upon a one-way highway with two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of such roadway as practicable.
The second pertains to left turns.
s. 316.151 – Required Position and Method of Turning at Intersections
(1) The driver of a vehicle intending to turn at an intersection shall do so as follows:
(b) Left turn —The driver of a vehicle intending to turn left at any intersection shall approach the intersection in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the direction of travel of such vehicle, and, after entering the intersection, the left turn shall be made so as to leave the intersection in a lane lawfully available to traffic moving in such direction upon the roadway being entered. A person riding a bicycle and intending to turn left in accordance with this section is entitled to the full use of the lane from which the turn may legally be made.
There is no specified distance allowed for remaining in the left lane while preparing for a left turn.
I am aware of a dismissed case many years ago in which the cyclist was in the left lane for 1300 feet preparing for a left turn. Cyclists must account for the waves of traffic that are normal on most roadways and must move from the right side to the left side when a lull in traffic allows it.