This is a follow-up to the Impeding Traffic post. Fred has graciously provided an audio file and transcript of his conversation with the FDOT officer who stopped him for riding in the lane. The conversation begins with “secondly.” Fred cut out the part where the officer was objecting to his reflective safety triangle.
This conversation shows three important things:
- Cyclists fare best in this kind of encounter when they know the law. Fred is able to recite the statute number to this officer and then point out the part he missed.
- The Far Right law needs to go because it is never read or interpreted in our favor by those who have power over us. Fred has to spend way to much energy pointing out the exceptions and explaining them. That makes the officer think he’s being argumentative, when he’s simply explaining his legal right to be where he was.
- We have work to do in overcoming the cultural bias and mythology about being slow in a fast environment. It is safe and has been repeatedly proven safe through experience and video. Fred has hours of video that show how safe it is to drive a bike on arterial roads and Dan and Brian have hours of video showing the same. But this officer is repeatedly trying to substitute bias and mythology for law, trying to find a law to support it, and missing key words in his reading of the statutes (motor vehicle, substandard lane exception) because of the bias.
[the audio file is no longer available]
The following is a transcript of the conversation. Many thanks to Fred for providing this (and to his sister for typing it). Officer’s words in plain text, cyclist’s in ALL CAPS.
Secondly, you are doing 17 mile an hour in a 45 mile an hour zone in the middle of the lane
That is impeding the flow of traffic
ON A MULTILANE ROAD THAT’S NOT QUITE HOW IT WORKS
Um, I almost didn’t even see you. (note: in video, he is in far left of three lanes)
YOU KNOW WHAT’S INTERESTING, WELL, YEAH, BUT ALMOST AS IMPORTANT, BECAUSE WHEN I RIDE TOO FAR, TOO FAR TO THE RIGHT, PEOPLE DON’T SEE ME AND THEY BRUSH PAST ME.
AND YOU KNOW ABOUT THE 3’ PASSING LAW?
Is this a car? Or what is it?
IT’S A BICYCLE
It’s a bicycle.
You’re not allowed in the middle of the lane in a bicycle
IF THE LANE LESS THAN 14’ WIDE, I AM.
I’ll have to look that one up.
I CAN GIVE YOU THE NUMBER.
Oh, you educate me if you know the number.
316.2065 SECTION 5, PARAGRAPH A
Apparently you’ve been through this before? Are you a lawyer or something like that?
NO. YOU MIGHT BE COP NUMBER 9 OR 10.
YOU MIGHT BE OFFICER NUMBER 9 OR 10.
It was 316 what?
WHAT’S FUNNY IS THE LAST COP, NO IT WASN’T THE LAST ONE, IT WAS LIKE 4 BACK.
I don’t care what the deal is. I’m doing it for your own safety believe it or not but I really don’t believe you’re allowed in that lane.
I’VE FOUND IT’S MUCH SAFER TO OPERATE IN THE MIDDLE OF SUB-STANDARD WIDTH LANES THAN TO RIDE ON THE …garbled.
2065. SECTION 5. IT’S NOT A REAL COMMONLY KNOWN STATUTE.
Unless the normal speed of traffic it ain’t common place, under any… under the conditions that exist and shall ride as close as practical to the right hand curve or edge of the roadway. That’s pretty plain English to me.
AND THERE’S EXCEPTIONS.
Oh yeah. When overtaking a vehicle or preparing to make a left turn when reasonably necessary to avoid any conditions not limited to a fixed or moving object, that’s your exceptions. It’s A, B & C and that’s it.
THERE’S ONE MORE
That’s it. A, B and C. I got it right here and I’ll show it to you so you don’t even have to get out. Right here. 5 A, B, 1, 2 and 3
LET’S SEE. …low volume.. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION. SUB-STANDARD WIDTH LANE IS A LANE THAT IS TOO NARROW FOR A BICYCLE OR OTHER VEHICLE TO OPERATE SAFELY SIDE-BY-SIDE.
Right. That’s except. If you have your own lane, you have to stay in that lane.
A sub-standard width lane is a sub-standard… is a lane that they make for bicycles.
NO, NO. A SUB-STANDARD WIDTH LANE – ACCORDING TO THE DOT IS 14’ WIDE. (note: I was getting frazzled here. A standard width lane is 14’ wide)
YES AND IF YOU ALLOW FOR THAT LAST EXCEPTION, SIDE BY SIDE, A BICYCLE IS SUPPOSED TO HAVE 3’ OF OPERATING ROOM, 3’ OF PASSING CLEARANCE, THERE’S 6’. HOW CAN A MOTOR VEHICLE AND 6’ OF ROADWAY BE OCCUPIED BY A BICYCLE AT THE SAME TIME?
How about impeding the flow of traffic? (note: can’t get me on being in the middle of the lane? So he falls back to the original reason for the stop.)
ON A MULTI-LANE ROAD THAT DOESN’T WORK. EVERYBODY PASSES ME. I’VE BEEN DOING THIS, FOR, WELL IN THIS MODE OF TRANSPORTATION FOR THE LAST 5,000 MILES. I’VE BEEN STOPPED FOR I DON’T KNOW HOW MANY TIMES AND MOST OF THE TIMES THE BOOK COMES OUT AND EVERYTHING’S COOL.
Let me find impeding the flow of traffic.
You know you’re definite that one for impeding the flow of traffic?
WELL THAT’S OPEN TO DISCUSSION BUT THE COURTS HAVE RULED ON THIS, I’VE DONE A LOT OF BICYCLE RESEARCH
I’m trying to help you and you seem like one of these that wants to do what they can to just brush by the edge of the law so I just want to make sure that we’re correct before I let you go here.
Bicycle considered a vehicle?
IT IS. IT FOLLOWS ALL THE RULES OF THE ROAD.
Okay. Good. Sub-section 5. No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable speed as necessary for safe operations applying to the law. Okay, you’re talking 17 mile an hour in a 45 mile an hour zone. Okay, less than half the speed. That is unreasonable. That is impeding the flow of traffic.
I KEEP THESE CAMERAS RUNNING ALL THE TIME.
I understand that.
(Officer calling on radio or cell phone): Would you say that 17 mile an hour in a 45 mile an hour zone is impeding the flow of traffic?
(Another guy on the radio): Yeah, I show uh.. 316 365 has specific bicycle regulations… I’m just trying to see where it says like he has to ride with the flow or against traffic or something like that. Not in the middle of the… he’s in the middle of the road?
Cop: He’s in the middle of the right lane
ON A SUB-STANDARD ROAD. (note: the road was recently repaved, not sub-standard road, but sub-standard width.)
I understand that! But that’s fine. You’re also impeding the flow of traffic.
CARS ARE PASSING. THAT MEANS I’M NOT IMPEDING THEM. I AM NOT DISRUPTING THE FLOW OF TRAFFIC.
Oh yes you are.
CARS ARE PASSING ME.
Cars are passing you but you’re not allowed to, it’s called you’re impeding the flow of traffic. We do that for safe reasons so you don’t cause an accident. It’s not when the guy DOES run into the back of you, that’s the time that you’re saying you would be impeding it. Okay my job out here is not to investigate the accident. It’s to make the road safe for everybody to go down.
You going – including you? I understand that but 17 mile an hour in a 45 mile hour zone. That’s why the construction vehicles are not allowed, slow moving vehicles. You’re a slow moving vehicle. A slow moving vehicle is anything that goes under 25 mile an hour. Okay. You want a chime on the back like a construction vehicle. Golf carts or things like that are not allowed on the road posted for the 35 mile an hour. For the same reasons of impeding the flow of traffic.
I HAVE A QUESTION FOR YOU.
YOU KNOW ABOUT THE 3’ PASSING LAW FOR BICYCLES?
No, I’m not familiar with the three foot passing law for bicycles. But, go ahead.
FLORIDA PASSED A LAW UH- WITHIN THE LAST YEAR OR SO.
This is a 2008 book so it would be in here.
UM, I DON’T KNOW THE STATUTE. IT SAYS A MOTORIST HAS TO PASS A BICYCLIST WITH 3’ CLEARANCE.
IF I RIDE ON THE RIGHT HAND SIDE OF THE ROAD, CARS DO NOT GIVE ME 3’ CLEARANCE, THEY TRY TO SQUEEZE BY ME. THAT’S DANGEROUS.
THAT’S ALLOWING SOMEBODY…
Then I’d have to stop somebody for that. You’re in a bad… The idea here is not to be going on a such a busy road on a bicycle in the middle of the road.
I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO TELL YOU.
I don’t either but I’m trying to let you know. You’re not safe out here on this road.
I’M SAFER IN THE METHOD THAT I OPERATE THAN ANY OTHER OPTION I HAVE. IT’S TOO DANGEROUS TO RIDE ON THE SIDEWALK AND IT’S TOO DANGEROUS TO RIDE ON THE SIDE.
What about a side road? That’s a 35 mile an hour.
FOR MY DESTINATION THERE ISN’T ANY OTHER ROUTE.
Where you going to?
AIRPORT ROAD AND ORMOND BEACH. IT’S A TRIP I MAKE ON A REGULAR BASIS.
Well, according to the law and I just read it to you and you’re in agree, you’re in a motor vehicle, you’re impeding the flow of traffic.
NOT A MOTOR VEHICLE, I’M IN A VEHICLE.
You’re in a vehicle. Doesn’t say a motor vehicle. It says a vehicle.
YOU DID READ MOTOR VEHICLE.
I read motor vehicle?
Okay, well apparently you’re the one who wants to get yourself injured out here so I’ll explain that to you. That’s what’s going to happen.
MY EXPERIENCE IN THE LAST FEW THOUSAND MILES IS I’M FAR SAFER NOW THAN ANY OTHER METHOD OF RIDING I’VE USED.
I hope you feel that way. I have to let you know that I feel you’re impeding the flow of traffic. Have a safe day!
THANK YOU VERY MUCH.