Pages Menu
RssFacebook
Categories Menu

Posted by on May 5, 2010 in General | 107 comments

CALL GOVERNOR CRIST

HB 971 Bad for Bicyclists and Pedestrians

Unbeknownst to Florida Bicycle Association, a mandatory bike lane use provision was included in the Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles bill.  The bill also allows local governments to permit mopeds, golf-carts and other motorized vehicles on sidewalks and trails.

Call Governor Crist as soon as you can to ask him to veto this bill. Executive Office of the Governor Switchboard: (850) 488-7146

If you’re on Facebook, post the link to this blog post to spread the word!

Why it’s bad for bicyclists:

Motorists who learn of the bill will have one more very strong excuse to harass cyclists who “aren’t in the bike lane.” There are many striped-off areas of roadways that are not really bike lanes, but some believe they are. They will also likely be ignorant of all the exceptions to the law (because they’ll hear it second hand) and even if they read it in full, they won’t understand many of the good reasons cyclists need to leave bike lanes.

The bicyclist outside a bike lane is put in a defensive position and must prove his or her innocence. Many bike lanes are substandard in width, force cyclists into door zones, or are improperly placed to the right of right-turn-only lanes, but many officers don’t understand these problems.

Motorists get another new excuse when they hit a cyclist: “He left the bike lane.”

Why it’s bad for pedestrians:

It’s bad enough that pedestrians have to suffer parked cars blocking sidewalks, being blasted by sprinklers, sidewalk bicyclists who don’t announce themselves when passing, and thousands of other nuisances, now they’ll have to share stretches of sidewalk in some jurisdictions with motorized vehicles.  Local governments will be able to permit mopeds, golf-carts, motorized scooters and other vehicles which don’t belong on sidewalks and on “bike paths.”  The law limits such vehicles to 15 mph, but how will that be enforced?

It’s time for Florida’s bicyclists and pedestrians to send a strong message: “We will not be marginalized.”

Please call now!

UPDATE:

The bill also allows drivers who have had up to four DUIs to get their licenses back.  From a Jacksonville TV station:

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — If you get four DUI’s in Florida, you could lose your driving privileges. However, if passed, a bill would allow drivers with four DUI’s to get their licenses back.

The driver would have to go through a program, which includes educational classes and installing a breathalyzer in his or her vehicle. The device is called Life Safer Interlock, and costs about $70 to install and about $80 a month to maintain.

107 Comments

  1. I called. I got right through and explained the issue as best I could to the staffer who answered the phone.

    We need to make that phone ring off the hook today.

  2. Just called and made the best case I could about it being dangerous for families.

    Calling is so painless and takes just a few minutes–I hope others will pick up the phone today.

  3. Is the relevant text of the bill readily available somewhere? I poked around on the link and got nowhere. But clearly no mandatory bike lane law is required, the keep right law is entirely sufficient.

    Also, I don’t see this up on the FBA website. Linking to a post on the FBA website would carry more weight I think.

  4. I called and am going to post on Facebook. I urge everyone else to do the same.

    Thanks for the heads up, Mighk!

    The Florida Legislature is like a bunch of unruly kids, the minute you take your eyes off them they’re up to no good.

  5. For the full bill, click on the “Enrolled” link under “Bill Text.” You’ll get a PDF; see page 17.

  6. We’re working on getting it on FBA’s blog, too.

  7. Posting it now.

    If I understand the FL legislature website correctly, it appears the bill passed with a unanimous vote? It’s going to be tough getting the governor’s veto on this, but good luck.

  8. Most of the bill is fairly innocuous to the casual observer; no “red light cameras” or “anti-texting.” It’s also not really time-sensitive; holding it up a year is not going to cause any major harm for the other issues. Adding the DUI angle might push it over the edge.

  9. i guess i’ll be a law breaker then. regardless of what the law says, i won’t be bullied or have my safety marginalized while on the road. up until now, i’ve had the law on my side, even if those sworn to uphold it and protect my rights are against me as well. i shudder to think about how this will affect my daily commute, but i’ll just have to adapt.

    • Agreed. Our safety is worth far more than any number of tickets. I have faith we can turn this ass-hattery around.

  10. I really don’t understand what you’re so concerned about. Under your reasons for why this is bad for cyclists, you state that people won’t really know the law, and you don’t know how the law will be enforced. Also, you state that motorists will use as an excuse that “he left the bike lane.” Really, really lame arguments, if we can call those whiny sniveling complaints arguments. They’re generic and are what ignorant, fearful people cite when opposing something that they’re not articulate enough to understand in the first place, and unable to concretely oppose with actual reasoning.

    • So if a bicyclist leaves the bike lane to prepare for a left turn, or to avoid debris, opening doors from parked cars, or a right-turn only lane, all situations where using the bike lane puts a bicyclist in potentially mortal danger, she can be ticketed and/or harassed by motorists. Do you think that’s okay?

      • Thank you John, for articulating that.

      • For the left turn and avoiding parked cars, exceptions that remain from the previous law would cover the cyclist who leaves the bike lane. The enacted bill is bad, though, because bike lanes so often are badly designed and in my community are almost nowhere kept clear of broken glass and other debris that can pierce a tire or upset a tired or unsteady rider.

        Don’t get me started on the golf carts, one-ton ATVs and expanded use of smoked car windows authorized in the bill. This catchall bill is a mess!

    • nice. 81 pages with absolutely no formatting. that’ll make it easy to be an informed citizen. government sucks.

  11. Bikers don’t want bike lanes! Extra, extra, read all about it! They will not be marginalized, and don’t want to be hemmed in. They’re going to break the law if it passes, and not use the bike lanes. Well, honey, let’s let car drivers all take that attitude. From now on. I’ll drive wherever I want to, because the government can’t tell me I can only drive between certain lines– that’s taking my freedom away, it’s unsafe for me. I might sometimes like to drive on the sidewalk, because sometimes the street is just too dangerous for me. Big trucks scare me, and I want to be able to get away from them. Don’t fence me in!

    That’s about how intelligent this blog against a good law sounds.

    If you put some REAL REASONING behind your scaredy-cat whining and your “Let them TRY to do that to me!” false bravado, I’d be glad to see it.

    • I love seeing people start with inflammatory posts like this and then make comments about sound reasoning. Hello pot!

      It isn’t even just about bike lanes. Mopeds and motorized vehicles on trails? That’s where I see older folks and moms with babies go for walks. That IS a potential danger and it’s an accident waiting to happen. And if you want a sound case against bike lanes, there is plenty of data to be found. And the four DUIs issue? There is a lot to be found wrong with this bill, whether or not bike lanes happens to be your cause.

    • it’s a safety issue. most bike lanes are crammed in as an afterthought and completely useless. riding a bicycle works best and is safest when the cyclist behaves and gets treated as the operator of a vehicle, integrated with traffic. that’s not opinion, it’s fact. whether the law recognizes that or not is irrelevant, so any law that’s counterproductive to arriving safely at the destination is also irrelevant. i don’t claim to have any bravado, just a strong sense of self preservation. also, how exactly does driving a car on the sidewalk make anyone safer? your argument is baseless.

    • These bicyclists don’t WANT to break the law, that’s why they’re against this provision of the bill. I know for a fact that most of the bicyclists in this discussion are among the most law-abiding riders you’ll find in Orlando. But they know that bike lanes are not always safe, and bicyclists need to have more choice about their roadway position than bike lanes frequently give them. In fact, they need as much choice as motorists have. That’s the basis for the opposition to this.

    • motherlawyer
      put down the coffee & cell phone. take a long drag and relax for a moment. were you to get out of your hummer and actually attempt a bicycle ride on the paved infrastructure, you may find that “bicycle lanes” are frequently not maintained and have many bicycle safety hazards that are not apparent to the automotive-centric.

      restricting cyclist to poorly maintained “lanes” is a safety hazard to those choosing self-propelled transportation.

  12. That really sucks! I wish there was more out-of-staters could do besides spread the word, but at least I’ll do that. Let me know if I can do anything else, and good luck!

  13. I called and had to leave a message for the governor to veto the bill HB 971, didn’t talk with anyone.

  14. Since they are described as preferential use (ie choice) in design manuals, making them mandatory use (ie no choice) is clearly at bicyclist’s expense.

    Someone should ask:

    Dan Burden, will you step up against this?
    Dennis Scott, will you step up against this?
    Theo Petritsch, will you step up against this?
    LAB, will you step up against this?

    “Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours.”
    Richard Bach

    “Take care to get what you like or you will be forced to like what you get.”
    George Bernard Shaw

  15. I had a read over the proposed mandatory bike lane law so here is my take. The change is to the keep right law where a bike lane now trumps the right hand position of the roadway. For bike lanes located at the right edge of the roadway it see no practical difference other than the perception issues Mighk raised.

    What about bike lanes located elsewhere? There is an issue with the current law is that it doesn’t properly account for having to move from the right edge of the roadway in order to avoid a right turn. Adding the bike lane trumps right edge rule could add more, similar issues. In San Francisco recently they have made a left most lane a bike lane for a couple of blocks. It was to make it easier to get into position for a popular left turn. Such a facility would be usable with the current Florida law. With the proposed changes a facility like that would disallow use of the right edge of the roadway and make straight through travel or right turns confusing at best, if not outright illegal.

    My summary of the changes: bike lanes on right edge of roadway = no effect, any other bike lanes = broken, supports creation of defective facilities.

    And golf carts, scooters and mopeds on sidewalks? Good grief.

    • Also, bicyclists are allowed use of the left lane on a one-way street. Now a right side bike lane would trump that. Imagine needing to make a left turn from Rosalind. Currently, you can just ride up the left lane on Rosalind. If this law passes, you will have to merge across three lanes of traffic to prepare for a left turn or access a destination on the left side of the street.

      • It is not clear to me that the right hand/bike lane section trumps the left lane on a one way section. It did not before so I don’t imagine it would now but it is certainly less clear.

        If a bike lane were located only on the left hand side of a one way street it would not be legal to ride on the right hand edge of the roadway, nor make a normal right turn.

        Lazily adding a bike lane requirement into a reasonably well thought out keep right law is bound to be broken and confusing. Still it could be worse, they made bike lanes mandatory in my home state in Australia recently and it reads something like “If the bicycle lane is in reasonable condition for use, a cyclist must use it and no other lane may be used”. And that is it, no exceptions that I could find. Which is funny, when no bike lane exists the cycling laws are quite liberal.

  16. Anyone want to ride up edgewater drive now? Email sent.

  17. I called and spoke to a nice lady named Julie. She promised to convey my request to Governor Crist that he veto the bill. I’m at work and can’t Facebook right now, but will do so when I get home tonight. Thanks for the notice.

  18. I called and left a message. I took the pedestrian angle, complaining about this language on page 78:

    (7) A county or municipality may enact an ordinance to permit, control, or regulate the operation of vehicles, golf carts, mopeds, motorized scooters, and electric personal assistive mobility devices on sidewalks or sidewalk areas when such use is permissible under federal law. The ordinance must restrict such vehicles or devices to a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour in such areas.

  19. This is no way to deal with the politcal process, this train is moving and it will be hard to stop…why are we just learning about this? How was it possible for this item to get to this point without gaining our attention?

    It appears to be a step in the wrong direction, but are we sure? And who’s behind this?

    We need to do a far better job of monitoring the process…we shouldn’t have to be called into action in the fianl hour. We can do better and we need to if we are going to protect our interests.

    Joe Mizereck

    • “We need to do a far better job of monitoring the process…”

      I think everybody knows that, but such monitoring isn’t free. Are you going to pay for it?

      Doing that very thing is how I paid for a few years at FSU — that’s how I know it isn’t free. I was paid pretty well.

    • simple. pedestrians and bicyclists aren’t represented in our legislature. people who have never ridden a bike on the road think, “well that’s what bike lanes are for, so they should use them.” who are we to argue? we’ve only been riding on the road for decades and tens of thousands of miles. (Not me personally, but plenty of people this law would affect.)

      • Someone should find out who put the bike lane language in there.

  20. Under this law, group rides on roads with bike lanes will essentially be required to ride single file (unless you want to double-up within the bike lane). There is no exception for leaving the bike lane to drop off the front at the end of your pull.

    Most people hear of new laws second and third hand. They will hear “bicyclists must use bike lanes” and that’s all. They won’t know of or understand the exceptions. Many police officers don’t understand the current far-to-the-right provision or the exceptions to it (I’ve been stopped or warned three times since October while legally control a lane). We can be sure the average motorist will be even less informed.

    See that little 2- or 3-foot undesignated striped-off area along the side of the road? It’s not a bike lane, and it was not intended to act as a bike lane, but many people (even some cyclists) believe that’s what it is. Get ready to be harassed for not riding in it.

  21. Because of the DUI provision in this bill, would it also be practical to “alert” the MADD folks and related organizations?

    After four DUI convictions, it’s not all that practical to consider that a driver has learned any lessons.

    Not that MADD and others are particularly for us cyclists, but it’s an additional direction for “assistance” perhaps.

    • Spoken like a politican. I’d say go for it. The opposition there is, the better, no matter where it comes from.

  22. What else is in the bill? I’d like to be aware of what good things we would be preventing from passing in addition to the bad things that we don’t want to pass. (I’m including myself since I’m spreading the word and emailing LAB.)

  23. MADD actually SUPPORTED the DUI provision. I believe it’s severely misguided.

    Four DUIs? How about we mandate the driver buy a bicycle and take an approved cycling course instead? Driving a motor vehicle is a privilege, not an entitlement.

    As for other good things that might be in the bill, none are worth the bad that it will cause for us. All I can say is look it over for yourself.

  24. Relevant text from http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Documents/loaddoc.aspx?FileName=_h0971er.docx&DocumentType=Bill&BillNumber=0971&Session=2010 (bottom page 17 to top of 18):

    “Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride in the lane marked for bicycle use or, if no lane is marked for bicycle use, as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations: …”

    Not to pick nits, but I think it’s important we are clear on this. The above language could be parsed two ways. Diagramming as if it were a mathematical equation:

    1. ( Shall ride in the bike lane ) or ( if no bike, as close as practicable to the right except …)

    or

    2. ( Shall ride in the bike lane ) or ( if no bike, as close as practicable to the right ) except …

    In other words, you could parse it such that the exceptions apply only to the non-bike lane case, or to both cases. I think the non-bike lane only interpretation is the more natural, if nothing else because of the lack of a comma in a significant place, and may be the one a judge would more likely choose. Granted, it’s a bad law either way, but it’s even worse if the exceptions don’t apply to the bike lane, and I think it behooves us to make sure we’re all clear on that interpretation. If the interpretation is ambiguous, that alone is a problem.

    • I think you are correct John, it is ambiguous. I could argue both interpretations with equal conviction.

      • I agree the ambiguity is part of the problem. I would interpret the exceptions as applying to bike lanes, but we’ve seen far too many cases in which law enforcement officers apply their biases to the existing far-to-the-right law. The new law just makes it that much harder to fight the bias.

  25. Hi Mighk, I use the Sprint Relay service to make a phone call to Governer Christ’s office due to my hearing impairment until I realized that Courtney provided an e-mail address.

    I went into call the office using the relay service when I receive an e-mail from Florida Bicycle Association.

    An Internet relay service is for those who are deaf or hearing impaired, so it’s not to be abused by people with no hearing problems.

  26. Looks like the politicos are trying to help us protect us from ourselves again. I can’t believe MADD said that about the DUI addition to the bill. The entitlement must stop. You, with four or more DUI’s, are a threat to yourself and others. There is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON to get a DUI. Only cowards and self centered individuals would do such a thing.

    This country has gone to pot. We used to be a great nation. What happened to our great thinkers?

    The bike lane issue would be like TX’s vulnerable users law that was vetoed this past year. This was a double speak law that was just as unenforceable as their current 3 ft passing law.

    We have a “de facto” requirement to use the right most part of the road way (bike lane) on the books already. This double speak, if bill is not vetoed by our wishy-washy governor, would definitely add more grief and harassment to that already being experienced from the un-informed law enforcement and general public.

    I hope we can pull this off in the final hour!

  27. I called earlier today and left a message, but will follow up with an email.

  28. Here is what MADD doesn’t say. The DUI license language was included in HB 971 because a 4 time convicted DUI offender wanted his drivers license back. His name is Henry Lamar Rowe and his mother, Anne E. Rowe, created a shell business named Driver Safety Forum, LLC, which then hired a lobbyist by the name of Reginald Garcia to lobby the Florida Legislature. The executive director of MADD, Todd Rosenbaum, was aware of this and worked with Reginald Garcia to pass this reckless and dangerous provision. I am now a FORMER supporter of MADD. So far 2 TV stations have run stories on this and more are sure to follow. This bill was a “special interest” bill and contains nothing but “pork” for Tallahassee insiders and the priviliged. Below are the links to the 2 TV stories (notice how MADD does not “confirm or deny” if they received contributions from people who favored the bill):

    http://www.wtsp.com/news/topstories/story.aspx?storyid=131244&catid=250

    Video to the right of the story is a MUST SEE!!!

    Just as others do everything to protect their own; we must do everything we can to protect our own! Let’s stop this reckless and dangerous special interest driven policy from becoming law. Governor Crist will either sign or veto House Bill 971 in a few days. Please Contact him and urge him to veto House Bill 971 to stop 4 time convicted DUI offenders from getting their driver’s licenses reinstated and putting our loves ones lives at risk.

  29. Here is the other link:

    http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/mostpopular/news-article.aspx?storyid=155621&provider=top

    And we should also be calling MADD. The more people find out about MADD’s involvement in HB 971 and the circumstances under which they were involved the more people will call them to express outrage and concern. Todd Rosenbaum, Florida’s Executive Director of MADD can be contacted at:

    office (850) 983-6775
    cell (850) 525-0342
    email: Todd.Rosenbaum@madd.org

    And don’t let him fool you with the spin he is trying to put on this by saying for the first time the interlock device will be a required upon a 4th DUI conviction – if MADD didnt support HB 971 there wouldnt be a 4th time interlock requirement because current law requires the permanent revocation of a persons drivers license upon a 4th convictions – DO NOT fall for this “bait and switch.”

  30. Here is the other link:

    http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/mostpopular/news-article.aspx?storyid=155621&provider=top

    And we should also be calling MADD. The more people find out about MADD’s involvement in HB 971 and the circumstances under which they were involved the more people will call them to express outrage and concern. Todd Rosenbaum, Florida’s Executive Director of MADD can be contacted at:

    office (850) 983-6775
    cell (850) 525-0342
    email: Todd.Rosenbaum@madd.org

    And don’t let him fool you with the spin he is trying to put on this by saying for the first time the interlock device will be a required upon a 4th DUI conviction – if MADD didnt support HB 971 there wouldnt be a 4th time interlock requirement because current law requires the permanent revocation of a persons drivers license upon a 4th convictions – DO NOT fall for this “bait and switch.”

  31. Florida, your statewide network STINKS if you let this bill get this far. Allowing golf carts and mopeds on walk/bike paths? Being forced to use lanes? You’re being marginalized.
    If it passes, you may want to fight it by exploring the conditions around the funding for the alternate transportation corridors. Federal money builds lots of greenways as 80/20 or 90/10 matching grants. Golf carts and mopeds were not the intent. Call the feds. Call ABW. Calll LAB.
    Kill this thing – it’s taking you all backwards. Signed, Florida Native now in TN.

  32. Pat, this language was snuck into HB 971 as amendment at the 11th hour. There was no way to know about it until it was too late. Please do not criticize us. Instead, please help us by getting as many people as you can to call/email Governor Crist and ask him to veto HB 971.

  33. One of the “Cyclists are Drivers!” FaceBook group members who is from Florida, has posted your link and we have been discussing this law. In response to a posting of the raw legal text, I reformatted it to show why the law is very bad:

    The re-formatting uses A) and B) to label the two main branches of the legal tree:
    =========================
    Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride:

    A) in the lane marked for bicycle use

    or, if no lane is marked for bicycle use,

    B) as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:

    1. When overtaking and passing …
    2. When preparing for a left turn …
    3. When reasonably necessary to avoid … [a set of hazards including substandard width lanes, where “a "substandard-width lane" is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.”]
    ==========================

    The key point is that A), use of the bicycle lane has no exceptions, unlike part B) where a cyclist is not required to ride at the roadway edge when one of the exceptions are present. So if a bicyclist is in a bike lane, they are required to ride past driveways, or at the edge near an intersection or even to the right of a right turn only lane (RTOL) if the bike lane is striped at the edge approaching an intersection, or to the right of RTOL. A bicyclist also cannot leave the bike lane to pass other bicyclists, to avoid debris, or to make left turns. So I presume that a bicyclist must now use crosswalks when making a left turn from a street with a bike lane. This is horrible!!

    Another person on FaceBook claimed that the exceptions in B) also applied in A), but if this is true, then it leads to the nullification of A) as follows:

    Since a substandard width lane is “too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane”, then a 5’ wide bike lane (heck, even a super-wide 11′ wide bike lane) is clearly too narrow for safe side by side sharing with another vehicle, so the bicyclist is not ever required to ride in the bike lane, which means that A) never applies. This is obviously internally logically inconsistent, so the only reasonable interpretation is that the exceptions only apply to B).

    Either way, this law is a shining example of extremely bad lawcraft and should be vetoed!

  34. What would the penalties be for failing to stay within a bike lane? What would be the recourse if a LEO thought that a stretch of bike lane was safe and usable but that the cyclist(s) disagreed? What impact would this have on group rides?

    • What would the penalties be for failing to stay within a bike lane?

      Probably the same fine as failing to ride far right since it’s an addition to 316.2065

      What would be the recourse if a LEO thought that a stretch of bike lane was safe and usable but that the cyclist(s) disagreed?

      The cyclist would have to challenge the ticket in court. In a biased system the cyclist would face a high likelihood of losing. Magistrates are just as subject to prejudice as police and have proven so time and again. Because of the cultural bias that we are supposed to stay out of the way, cyclists often lose their court challenge even in cases where they were riding in a narrow lane which is specifically listed in the 316.2065 exceptions. Many of the reasons to avoid a bike lane are not listed as exceptions to the FTR law.

      Even if a cyclist wins a court case, should a bicycle driver constantly have to incur the lost time and cost of defending his right to travel safely in court?

      The FTR law is bad enough! Cyclists are the road users most likely to be cited or harassed by police for riding legally (claiming a narrow lane) and least likely to be ticketed for riding illegally (against traffic, without lights, on the sidewalk downtown).

      What impact would this have on group rides?

      That would depend on the road configuration. Under 316.2065(6) groups are required to use the bike lane, thus ride single-file, only if they would be impeding traffic by riding double. In the most liberal interpretation, that would be a 2-lane road where there was enough oncoming traffic to make passing difficult. Most groups are riding early morning on Saturday and Sunday, and many are riding on 4-lane roads with bike lanes or undesignated bike-lane-like-things. Currently the groups can legally ride 2 abreast in the right lane (like this). This is certainly safer than riding single file in a bike lane (reason explained here). If an MBL is passed, groups will no longer have that option.

      It will be one more thing the police and motorists can harass them for.

  35. So far the Governor’s office has only received about 200 calls/emails to veto HB 971. We must reach at least 2500 calls/emails to have a realistic chance at having this bill vetoed. Please have all your friends and family call/email Governor Crist to VETO HB 971:

    Phone #: 850-488-7146
    Email:Charlie.Crist@MyFlorida.com

    • that’s disheartening. i thought more people would stand against giving convicted, habitual DUI offenders a fifth chance. besides that, much of the bill is a big middle finger to anyone who travels under their own power.

  36. Can anyone figure out who introduced the bike lane text? When I look through the history on the myfloridahouse link I shows up in Committee Substitute 2. However it doesn’t appear to be in any of the listed amendments that contributed to Substitute 2. There is an incomplete reference by Bovo but that change is shown as withdrawn anyway.

    The 4 DUI amendment is there (Representative Glorioso) and the vehicles on sidewalks (Representative Aubuchon, a home builder apparently) but mandatory bike lanes seems to have just appeared.

  37. Lobbying pays and that speaks volumes on how our political/legal system has been debauched to benefit the lowest common denominator (or to line the pockets of connected few). “The bill was inserted as an amendment in the Transportation Bill, which is critical to the state and the governor is almost sure to sign.”

  38. HB 971 is NOT the Transportation Bill and it CAN be and will be vetoed if the “people” rise up and call/email the Governor’s office and ask Governor Crist to Veto HB 971.

    Make the call/email – do NOT give up! Together we can do this!!!

  39. Federal law prohibits motorized vehicles on sidewalks and shared-use paths paid for with federal dollars in virtually all instances (the primary exception is Rec Trails funds).

    This alone is a violation of federal law; the whole bill stinks and so many issues should be pointed out to help dismantle it.

  40. I personally think that after a first DUI, if the person wants their license back, they should place the breathalizer in the car, not wait until the fourth. By the time a fourth DUI comes in the person could end up in a fatal accident because of having been drinking and driving. As for the bicycle and golf cart issue. As a driver I think that it is dangerous for either to be in the street. I think that in area where there is not a separate lane for golf carts to drive down, that golf carts should simply not be allowed. Golf carts are a danger to pedestrians on the sidewalks and they are a danger to themselves and other vehicles while in the road. Bikes can ride either in a bike lane or in sparsely populated areas, they may even utilize the sidewalks ( respectfully when ever there are pedestrians.) This is just my opinion though.

  41. Listening to the gov’s message while on hold just gave me additional time to think of things to add. and added I want MY GOVENOR to veto this bill as it puts my safety at risk.

    • Looks like I’ll have to create my Facebook account, sign the petition, and delete my Facebook account, since I don’t and will not plan to do any social networking (no matter how hard I choose to restrict my Facebook account by adjusting my privacy settings).

    • I’m thinking it would probably be detrimental for non-Florida residents to “sign” it, yes? They won’t care what non-residents think and will see it as interference. But I’ll spread the word.

  42. Looks like some InterNationals signed. It is a Tourist issue too!

    • Thanks Dennis,
      I removed the link to your edit page :-)

    • I once said that I don’t plan to do any social networking, but I created my Facebook account with a lot of restrictions in place in terms of privacy settings.

      Other than that, thanks for providing a link. I already signed the petition.

  43. Thanks! Shooting from the hip I misfired.

  44. After a simple Google Search I found that the writer of this Florida Today Letter to The Editor is an Engineer and is correct in one of his assumptions. It is illegal to ride a Bicycle on a LAF in the State of Florida unless other wise posted. His other assumption are not correct for Vehicular Cyclists. His assertion about WANNA BE’s may hold true for some concerning the bridge he is referring to.

    This type of Negative Letter to the Editor will not endear the cycling community to the Public. Nor will it help the cause of removing the Bike Lane mandate from HB 971.

    We need to inform and educate all of the Cycling Clubs and Racing Teams that Bicycles are Vehicles and are required to abide by the Law. We can’t have it both ways.

    RePrinted from Florida Today Letters to The Editor

    Cyclists ignore limited
    access highway rules

    When will the Florida Highway
    Patrol and Brevard County Sheriff’s
    Office enforce the law prohibiting
    bicycles on limited access
    highways?
    I commute on the Pineda
    Causeway and cringe every time
    I see a cyclist or group of cyclists
    \ on that road. These are adults
    It who know that every limited access
    highway is posted with
    signs at the on-ramps prohibting
    pedestrians, bicycles and
    vehicles under five-brake horse-
    /power.
    (
    The signs are there for a reason:
    It’s inherently dangerous to
    have those in close proximity to
    vehicles traveling at highway
    speed.
    Yet some cyclists think
    they’re entitled to disregard the
    law and ride where they wish. I
    wouldn’t begrudge someone
    with no automobile using
    Pineda to evacuate the islands
    from an oncoming hurricane.
    It’s the Lance Armstrong impersonators
    in their cycling togs out
    there day after day.
    All it takes is one slip of the
    gas pedal, one blown tire or one
    heavy gust of wind. Some innocent
    motorist may be left with
    the lifelong guilt, the driving-record
    stigma and probably the
    expense defending an unfounded
    wrongful death suit
    caused by a thoughtless, selfish
    cyclist.
    If you don’t like the law, then
    change it. Otherwise, obey the
    law like the rest of us.

    Frank Skarvelis
    Indian Harbour Beach

  45. Let MADD National know how MADD all Floridians are that MADD’s Florida Leadership supports HB 971 which will allow 4 time convicted offenders to reinstate their driving privileges. MADD national will over ride MADD florida if they get enough calls. We need MADD as n ally in this fight!Contact Frank Harris, State Policy Specialist for MADD Natinal”

    Call (800)-GET-MADD (800-438-6233) and ask for Frank Harris

    or email him at…: frank.harris@madd.org

    CALL NOW! He is in his office waiting for your call!

  46. MotherLawyer wrote: “Bikers don’t want bike lanes! Extra, extra, read all about it! They will not be marginalized, and don’t want to be hemmed in. They’re going to break the law if it passes, and not use the bike lanes. Well, honey, let’s let car drivers all take that attitude. From now on. I’ll drive wherever I want to, because the government can’t tell me I can only drive between certain lines– that’s taking my freedom away, it’s unsafe for me.”
    .
    Clearly this “mother” doesn’t know the difference between a preferential use lane and a traffic lane. Traffic lanes are general use for ALL drivers (including bicyclists). Bike Lanes, like HOV Lanes or Bus Lanes, are NOT traffic lanes, they are preferential use lanes, which means that they can only be used by the preferred class of users for which they were intended. Preferential use lanes are intended to be an optional benefit, that MAY be used by the preferred group, and this is why HOV lanes and Bus lanes are optional. The same should be true for bike lanes.

    As to your ill informed analogy involving “driving wherever you want to”, it clearly shows that you are blissfully unaware of lane class definitions, and probably imagine that normal traffic lanes are “car lanes” which are mandatory use for “cars” and that “bike lanes” should also be mandatory use for “bikes”. Instead of being clever, you’ve just exposed your ignorance of the critical difference between a preferential use lane and a traffic lane for all to see.

    To avoid future embarrassment, I suggest you read the MUTCD lane type definitions, and the FL state vehicle codes before making statements about which lanes should be mandatory use.

  47. My sympathies are with y’all. Let me know if there’s something positive I can do to help. If nothing else, it should be a wakeup call to the rest of us that use bikes around the country…

  48. Bottom line for me is that I have been persecuted just about all my life for riding a bicycle.

    For more than 35 years, I’ve been arrested, stopped and “educated” and cited (civilly) for riding my bicycle in a lawful manner.

    I’ve been yelled at. Honked at. Blared at. Screamed at and buzzed by trucks.

    This is just one more slight among thousands. It means that there will be fewer streets I can ride on. I already avoid streets with bike lanes because I just don’t need to be “told” that I should use the bike lane.

    Sorry to be fatalistic, but a mandatory bike lane law is the logical extension or government paying for bike lanes.

  49. The National office of MADD has begun receiving calls and complaints from Floridians about MADD Florida’s misguided support for HB 971. Not surprisingly, the more people find out that HB 971 will allow 4 time convicted DUI offenders to get their drivers license back (current law requires a permanent revocation upon a 4th DUI conviction), the more people question MADD Florida’s motives for supporting this terrible bill.

    From watching the Channel 10 Tampa story on this issue (http://www.wtsp.com/news/topstories/story.aspx?storyid=131244&catid=250) and reading the blogs, it appears this change in law was pushed by the wealthy family of 4 time convicted DUI offender who wants his drivers license back. And to make matters worse, MADD’s Florida Leadership worked hand in hand with this family’s Tallahassee lobbyist to help this 4 time convicted DUI offender get his drivers license back. I always thought MADD mission was to keep drunk drivers off the road – NOT to help put them back on road – didn’t you?

    Fortunately for us, MADD’s dirty little secret this has been leaked and we now have a chance to make a difference. If MADD’s National office continues to receive calls and complaints from Floridians, it is very possible that MADD National will instruct MADD Florida to oppose HB 971 and to call on Governor Crist to VETO HB 971. Therefore, I strongly recommend that you and all your friends and family begin to call and/or email Frank Harris, State Policy Specilist for MADD and voice your concerns about MADD Florida’s support for HB 971 and its DIRECT involvement in helping a 4 time convicted DUI offender to get his drivers license back. The last bicyclists need to contend with is 4 time convicted DUI offenders being back on the road.

    Call (800) 438-6233 and ask for Frank Harris and/or or email him at: frank.harris@madd.org and demand that MADD take a stand against HB 971 and publicly urge Governor Crist to VETO HB 971.

    • [comment removed by request of its author]

    • I think a person should be able to get a driver’s license after 4 DUI ‘s if he/she has paid all fines and done everything the law requires of them. The fourth shouldn’t be a life sentence!

      • How many times does a dog bite someone before you put it down? I totally agree, the 4th shouldn’t. The second should.

  50. ATTENTION:

    For those of you who wish to send an email to Crist expressing your concerns, but do not have the time to draft a letter, you can visit the following site, VETO HB 971, and sign your name to a prepared petition letter. Upon submission, this petition will be sent directly to to Governor Crist’s email box:

    See: http://vetohb971.x10hosting.com/

    ^
    PLEASE TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS AND SEND IN YOUR CALL TO VETO THIS BILL VIA EMAIL AS WELL!

    -Kurt

  51. Hello all,

    If you’ve been following the previous posts regarding HB 971, you’ll know that I just started a petition site, http://vetohb971.x10hosting.com/, so that individuals who do not have time to send an email may submit a prepared letter to Governor Crist’s email inbox, asking for a veto.

    That said, I have devised the following flyer for distribution to local cyclists and local bike shops. I’m in Miami, I can only take care of a limited area. That’s where you come in:

    http://vetohb971.x10hosting.com/vetohb971.doc

    If you would like to help in the effort to veto HB 971, feel free to download and print copies of this flyer. File is in Microsoft Word .DOC format. Pass it out to your friends and your local bike shops. Make as many copies as you like. Get the word out.

    -Kurt

  52. This is the ultimate in political subterfuge. The people bankrolling these veto “HB 971” sites don’t care about drunk driving. They are hiding behind that issue because the bill ends a monopoly that funnels all the car boot business to one vender, opening up the market to competition.

    Don’t be fooled or used. HB 971 makes the road safer by making sure repeat DUI offenders only get behind the wheel of a car with an interlock device, basically a breathalyzer tied to the car’s ignition. This solution is more effective than current law since 50% to 75% of DUI offenders currently drive on a suspended license. That’s why both the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and MADD support this legislation.

    • Are you saying that I don’t care bout drunk driving because of what I’m trying to get this HB 971 vetoed?

      Cite sources before you lose credibility, please!

    • Nobody is “bankrolling” opposition to HB 971. It is strictly a word-of-mouth (via the Web) effort among bicyclists who understand the harm it will cause to cyclists.

      BTW folks, the interlock option is already on the books. This bill just amends it, extending it to four years.

  53. HB 971 is a deeply flawed piece of legislation because the bill should not mix bicycling legislation with DUI legislation. This alone is a good reason for the Gov. to veto it. Even if a person is for the DUI portion, the bad bicycling legislation should not be forced upon cyclists. The bicycling legislation was added without any input from cycling groups, and represents regulation without representation.

  54. Even FDOT was a little taken back by the lack of committee before the Vote. The language is not expertly written concerning bicycles.

  55. Mighk – I just wanted to clarify one of your comments. The ignition interlock is on the books for 1st, 2nd and 3rd DUI convictions. However, under current law (Section 322.28(2)(e), Florida Statutes, when a person is convicted of a 4th DUI offense, his or her drivers license is permanently revoked and they can never drive again.

    What HB 971 does is create an exception for 4 time or more convicted DUI offenders whose drivers license has been permanently revoked to get his or her license reinstated if he or she places an ignition interlock device on their car. So if HB 971 is signed, the bottom line is 30,000+ 4 time or more convicted DUI offenders will be coming to a street near you. And there are absolutely no safeguards (including the igntition interlock) to adequately protect the public from habitual drunk drivers.

    If you are interested in learning why the Florida Legislature included this drivers reinstatement language in the bill, I strongly recommend that you click on the following link:

    http://www.wtsp.com/news/topstories/story.aspx?storyid=131244&catid=250

    We can not allow our legislature to be hijacked by special interests. Please call and email Governor Charlie Crist and ask him to veto HB 971. He is not SOFT on CRIME and will not let us down.

    Phone #: (850) 488-7146
    Email: Charlie.Crist@MyFlorida.com

  56. So I read FS 322.2715 which covers interlocks.
    Let’s say you get your first DUI. You get the interlock for at least six months. After the interlock is removed you can go out and drive drunk again. For your second offense you get the interlock for at least two years. Third offense? Another two years of interlock.

    On the forth offense you get the interlock for at least 5 years.

    So someone could conceivably get three DUIs in less than six years and still get a fourth chance. Can somebody explain to me why giving somebody a fourth chance will save lives?

    • Did you click on the link I sent you?

  57. Below is a story that Channel 10 in Tampa recently ran:

    Clearwater, Florida — The family of a man with four DUI convictions admits to hiring a Tallahassee lobbyist to change a law so the man can get his license and drive again.

    Not only did the Legislature pass the bill, but it was also inserted in an almost veto-proof bill that the governor is expected to sign.

    Andrew Hall is still recovering from injuries he suffered in April of 2009, when he was hit by a drunk driver, costing him his leg. Hall says it has been a hell of a year, but every day is a great day to be alive. When we told Hall about the Legislature’s action to allow those convicted of four DUI’s to get their license back, he couldn’t believe it.

    Hall says it is like giving a serial killer a loaded gun. He says it is one of the most ludicrous things you can do.

    State Senator Mike Fasano says driving in Florida is a privilege and not a right. Fasano points out this bill is helping people who violated that privilege not once, not twice, not three times, but four times. Fasano is also upset, because the bill was inserted as an amendment in the Transportation Bill, which is critical to the state and the governor is almost sure to sign.

    Surprisingly, Mothers Against Drunk Driving is also in favor of the bill. MADD says it is better to regulate habitual drunk drivers by requiring them to install a device which requires them to blow into a breathalyzer before they can start the car.

    But the organization, which tries to keep drunk drivers off the road, also admits it may have received contributions from those who were also in favor of the bill. While MADD says it can’t confirm that fact, it also admits it can’t deny it either.

    MADD also says the bill makes sense, because it estimates 50 percent of the 30,000 Floridians with more than four DUI convictions drive anyway.

    However, Fasano says you don’t change the law because people are breaking it. He says that is like telling illegal immigrants they are going to get a driver’s license, because they are driving around without one and breaking the law.

    Mike Deeson, 10 Connects

  58. I agree with State Senator Mike Fasasono. Why the hell would the legislature change the law so people who are breaking the law will no longer be breaking the law???

    Oh yeah, that’s right – because the family of a man with 4 DUI convictions hired a Tallahassee lobbyist to change the law so the man can get his license and drive again. Talk about special interests!!!

    If this fact alone does not motivate you enough to call and email Governor Charlies Crist to veto HB 971 and to get all your friends and family to do the same then I don’t know what will. Let’s protect our families the way this drunks family is trying to protect him by calling Governor Charlie Crist and urging him to veto HB 971:

    Phone #: (850) 488-7146
    Email: Charlie.Crist@MyFlorida.com

  59. Visit: http://www.veto971.com/ for the real story on HB 971 and to send Governor Crist an email asking to Veto HB 971!

  60. “Fasano points out this bill is helping people who violated that privilege not once, not twice, not three times, but four times. ”

    Oh, no, no, no, no, no.

    This is helping people who were CAUGHT four times. No, wait a sec, this is helping people who went to court and were actually convicted four times! They must have got caught more than than that, and they must have violated the law hundreds of times. To get all the way to four convictions, you must be driving drunk almost every single day.

    • Estimates are 200 times for every 1 arrest.

  61. I strongly vote yes for the HB 971 bill. Alot of convicted dui offenders have seen the bitter harsh actions of driving drunk. Also I know alot of convicted dui 4th time offenders that totaly quit drinking all togeather and some has been sobor for at least 15 years.. myself I’ve been sobor for 8 years now, I never killed any one nor hit any body.- thank god! So instead of voting against dui offenders, give people like myself that last chance. I’m ashamed of my pass I never had parents who were stright. So I grew up with alcohol, it took me 40 years and 3 years of it spent in prison. I took Tier 1 to Tier 4 programs was when I finally under stood my issues…. God Bless you all.

  62. I have 4 DUI convictions. the last one is from 1993.

    I have served my time in jail- completed all the programs- and been clean and sober for over 16 years now. I would say- from someone who has been there – that harsher penalties for the 1st dui would be more effective, as my jail and programs are what made me see the light- That and the Grace of God. But I am now at 51 years old and quite frankly, with the economy and the bus/transpoptation system I am afraid that I will not be able to support myself if I cannot get the opportunity to drive ever again. The breathalyzer on ignition is fine with me- i do not drink, but life is a long tiume and I am not the same person I was 16 years ago. For anyone out there that thinks it is easy in FL to get around without driving- I say – try oit- I feel I am putting my very life in danger at some of the busstops I have to wait at- people try to pick me up and sell me drugs- I am old now and the young scare me. I realize I put myself here— but I am scared and unsafe walking and waiting for the bus.

    • I have no sympathy. Did you really come to a bicycle advocacy website to convince us your life is too hard to live without a car?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Florida mandatory bike lane law » Cyclelicious - [...] Read the details here, and good luck Florida. [...]
  2. HB 971 Bad for Bicyclists and Pedestrians (Urgent) | Transit Miami - [...] Central Florida friends at CommuteOrlando.com have made us aware of a little-known fact that could mean big changes to …
  3. HB 971 Bad for Bicyclists and Pedestrians (Urgent) | Best Miami News - [...] Central Florida friends at CommuteOrlando.com have made us aware of a little-known fact that could mean big changes to …
  4. Floridian’s Rights to the Road In Doubt? « - [...] Twitter, the blogosphere are up in arms about Florida State House Bill 971, the “Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle …
  5. Florida Cyclists: Act NOW Against HB971 | Bike Commuters - [...] cyclists but pedestrians and other road users (including motorists!). Take a look at their site to read more of …
  6. Update on HB 971 – Florida Racing Magazine - [...] CommuteOrlando.com: Call Governor Crist [...]