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Posted by on Aug 21, 2010 in General | 19 comments

Inaugural UCF Bike Bus Ride

Riding in a skirt Before I delve into the details of the first UCF Bike Bus ride, I want to give you a little background. My name is Kitzzy, the newest author to this blog. Some of you may have already met me at one of the recent social rides. I’m usually riding a blue comfort bike, with or without the basket, wearing a skirt.

I’ve been riding a bike for exercise and transportation for over 2 years, but always had a car as a backup until it died 3 months ago. Instead of fixing it, Jason and I chose to live without a car and we haven’t looked back. I’ll be posting more about living without a car in Downtown Orlando and commuting to work at UCF, but you can read about it on my personal blog in the meantime.

After taking the Cycling Savvy course, I felt empowered and more comfortable riding on the road. Some of our coworkers have ridden to work on occasion, during Bike to Work day for example, but are not as comfortable riding down University Blvd without using the sidewalk and putting themselves in danger. Taking the Econ trail is an option, but no one should have to go several miles out of their way to feel safe. Jason and I want to help anyone interested feel safe riding down University Blvd to UCF, and thus the UCF Bike Bus was born :)

UCF Bike Bus

As Keri has previously posted, we’ve successfully completed two recon rides with her, and Jason rode by himself on Friday without any trouble. We’re now ready to make this official and take on passengers!

Please join us for our first official UCF Bike Bus ride this Monday, August 23. We’ll be leaving the Cady Way Trailhead by the Fashion Square Mall at 7 am and picking up passengers along the way. If you are riding that morning anywhere along the bus route, we’d love for you to hop on when you see us coming even if it’s only for a few miles.

Visit the Official Inaugural UCF Bike Bus Ride Event for more details and to sign up.

19 Comments

  1. Welcome! You’ve already been making a terrific contribution to this community — helping organize our last 2 wildly successful rides. I’m really looking forward to more insights, challenges and creative solutions to living carfree in Orlando.

    And bike bus reports. This is SUCH an exciting project!

  2. Keri’s right. This is so exciting! Look how far you’ve come since our Cycling Savvy class a few weeks ago!!

    I look forward to regular updates from the road. And I hope your experiences inspire others to ride to work/school together. Why, there could be bike busses heading to downtown Orlando, Full Sail, Valencia CC, Seminole State College, Lee Vista Center, [fill in your workplace here]…..

    • Indeed! Our bus will actually pass Full Sail, so people can hop on if that is their destination too!

  3. I’ll probably pass you going the other way (to downtown) — be sure to wave!! :)

  4. Please read –

    Roadway Position (see Section 316.2065, F.S.)

    •A bicyclist who is not traveling at the same speed of other traffic must ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway. A bicyclist may leave the right-most portion of the road in the following situations: when passing, making a left turn, to avoid road hazards, or when a lane is too narrow for a bicycle and a car to share safely. (see Roadway Position Explained)

    •A bicyclist operating on a one-way street with two or more traffic lanes may ride as close to the left-hand edge of the roadway as practicable.

    •Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles. Persons riding two abreast shall not impede traffic when traveling at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions existing, and shall ride within a single lane. (see Impeding Traffic Explained)

  5. Yes, we have all read it. Most of us even carry law enforcement guides with us.

    Roadway Position Explained
    http://floridabicycle.org/rules/bikelaw.html#ftrexplained

    316.2065(5)(a)(3)When a lane is too narrow for a bicycle and a car to share safely, the cyclist is entitled to the use of the entire lane. Within this lane, the cyclist usually rides on the right half to facilitate visibility for overtaking motorists, but should ride far enough left to discourage motorists from trying to squeeze past within the lane.

    Although the law uses the term “substandard” to discribe a lane that is not wide enough to share, these narrow lane-widths make up most of our roads. The less common “standard,” wide curb lane is described below.

    Impeding Traffic Explained
    http://floridabicycle.org/rules/bikelaw.html#impede

    The only place “impeding traffic” appears in the bicycle law, is with regard to riding 2 abreast. However, cyclists should pull over — at their discretion and only when it is safe to do so — if a significant line of traffic accumulates behind them.

    The 2-abreast rule only applies to roads on which a single rider can operate side-by-side with a motor vehicle (i.e. a lane 14 ft or wider, or a road with a bike lane). A single cyclist (or single line of cyclists) is entitled to the full use of a lane less than 14 ft wide, therefore it makes no difference in the flow of traffic for riders to be 2-abreast. In many cases it actually facilitates overtaking by reducing in half the distance needed to pass.

    Additionally, 2-abreast riders do not impede traffic if: (the below applies to any width lane with or without the presence of a bike lane)

    * on a multi-lane road – motorists can pass in the next lane over
    * on a road with a center two-way left turn lane in which motorists can pass
    * there is sparse oncoming traffic and motorists can safely use the oncoming lane to pass
    * the cyclists are traveling at or near the speed limit
    * the cyclists are traveling at or near the speed of traffic

    “Impeding traffic” is not defined in the law, but reducing a motorist’s speed for a few seconds until it is safe to pass does not constitute an impediment or an obstruction.

  6. I lived in other towns in the country that have biking commuters and in those towns I have been fine with them. I can also appreciate what you are trying to do, save money, be healthy, go green etc. The biggest difference is that those individuals that chose this option were moving with if not faster than the traffic around them.
    In the laws posted above you mention 2 items:
    * the cyclists are traveling at or near the speed limit
    * the cyclists are traveling at or near the speed of traffic
    With these rules it is demanded that the biker keep up with the speed of the vehicles traveling on the road. From what I saw today this was not followed and it causes saftey concerns for the bikers and any other vehicle on the road. These laws were not put in place to allow the biker to travel at a leasurely/casual pace, causing signiI lived in other towns in the country that have biking commuters and in those towns I have been fine with them. I can also appreciate what you are trying to do, save money, be healthy, go green etc. The biggest difference is that those individuals that chose this option were moving with if not faster than the traffic around them.
    In the laws posted above you mention 2 items:
    * the cyclists are traveling at or near the speed limit
    * the cyclists are traveling at or near the speed of traffic
    With these rules it is demanded that the biker keep up with the speed of the vehicles traveling on the road. From what I saw today this was not followed and it causes safety concerns for the bikers and any other vehicles on the road. These laws were not put in place to allow the biker to travel at a leisurely/casual pace, causing significant backup at peak rush hour times on one of the most congested roads in town. The Econ Trail was built for reasons such as these (on your own admission) and should be taken if not for safety but for the needs of the larger population of commuters. If this is not an option you should move the times of the ride back an hour, 8-10am anywhere near campus is dangerous enough for cars/motorcycles let alone casual bike rides.
    ficant backup at a peak rush hour time on one of the most congested roads in town. The Econ Trail was built for reasons such as these and should be taken if not for saftey but for the needs of the larger population of commuters.

  7. edits on the comments section would be nice also….

  8. As intended:
    I lived in other towns in the country that have biking commuters and in those towns I have been fine with them. I can also appreciate what you are trying to do, save money, be healthy, go green etc. The biggest difference is that those individuals that chose this option were moving with if not faster than the traffic around them.
    In the laws posted above you mention 2 items:
    * the cyclists are traveling at or near the speed limit
    * the cyclists are traveling at or near the speed of traffic
    With these rules it is demanded that the biker keep up with the speed of the vehicles traveling on the road. From what I saw today this was not followed and it causes safety concerns for the bikers and any other vehicles on the road. These laws were not put in place to allow the biker to travel at a leisurely/casual pace, causing significant backup at peak rush hour times on one of the most congested roads in town. The Econ Trail was built for reasons such as these (on your own admission) and should be taken if not for safety but for the needs of the larger population of commuters. If this is not an option you should move the times of the ride back an hour, 8-10am anywhere near campus is dangerous enough for cars/motorcycles let alone casual bike rides.

    • Chris, the portion of the laws that you quote are out of context in your response and actually not the laws themselves but Keri’s explanation of them. Nowhere does the law demand that cyclist ride as fast as cars. If you read that entire section carefully, she was listing instances when cyclists riding 2 abreast do NOT impede traffic and those 2 were only 2 of the scenarios.

      The first scenario in which cyclists do NOT impede traffic is when riding in a multi-lane road, which is what we were doing, and cars had 2 other full lanes to pass us, so we were not impeding traffic in any way. In fact, because of the design of the traffic lights on this road, we often get passed near intersections by the platoon of vehicles that were stopped BY the light, not by us, and then have the road entirely to ourselves. How can we impede traffic when there is none on the road?

      Suggesting that we change the time of our ride implies that we are doing this is a joy ride that we can schedule on a whim, where in fact we are commuting to work or school just like you. It would make no sense for us to change the times of the ride because we have jobs to get to just like the rest of those commuting at those times.

      I am curious, where did you encounter the bike bus today?

      • The problem I experienced was after the intersection of University and Dean. The Right most lane was so delayed eastward that the inersection was blocked at that light. I figured that was an accident but once I caught up to the delay I found it was the bike bus. Along with the merging of traffic from 417 that lane is way too busy at this time of day. 5mph is just not close enough to the speed limit that the bike bus inhibits traffic and causes substancial delays for anyone caught after you. I know that there is no way of seeing this behind you, but from first hand experience I saw what this can cause. I know that during non shool days this may have not been a problem but with all of the students joined in, this componds the problems.

        • The right lane is also used by Lynx buses which stop and completely block the lane to pick up and discharge passengers. Cars temporarily back up behind the Lynx buses. So perhaps we should remove those too, for your tender convenience.

          Chris, maybe you’d be better off to travel at a different time, since the volume of traffic at that time causes you such stress.

        • Ah, yes that intersection is the worst! I can see how you would get this impression, but we were actually cruising along going at least 15 mph until we hit Dean and that light was so backed up before we got there that we also had to wait in traffic for 2 full light cycles.

          I have a mirror on my bike to see behind me, and the only times I see cars backed up is when we approach a red light. Usually they merge to the left lane after the light and are on their way. We started the bike bus on the first day of classes, so students have always been in the mix. We have several rides recorded on video, with a front and rear camera, and saw no major delays because of our presence on the road. Cars get backed up and delayed, and so do we, because of the traffic light pattern and the volume of cars on that road.

          • Silly cars, backing up traffic.

  9. Chris, in the other towns where you’ve seen commuters, how were cyclists moving faster than the traffic around them?

    During our commute, since we are unable to move as fast as traffic, we stay as close as practicable to the right which, in our case, is the right lane. University is three lanes wide in each direction which gives motorists plenty of room to pass us and does not impede the flow of traffic. We have very few problems with motorists passing us and I would argue that the stoplights slow down vehicular traffic far more than we do.

    Controlling the right lane makes us visible to traffic and makes our movements predictable to motorists. This, in turn, makes it the safest position for us to ride in.

  10. I do find it interesting that cars can impede the free flow of traffic all they want and back up the roads during rush hour, but for some reason a bike cannot. Maybe I have a different perspective on traffic growing up in suburban NYC. I’ve been in *normal* traffic on highways where you could walk quicker. Cyclists do not cause back ups on roads unless the road is at capacity, at which point all vehicular traffic is causing delays.

    Now let’s address priority. Most people believe in a concept I like to call the supremacy of speed. The basic premise is that vehicles should be able to go as fast as they care to go as long as other traffic can accommodate them. For cars, that generally means having slower cars in the right hand lane so they can pass. For cyclists it’s the assumption that they should be off the road to accommodate their speed supremacy.

    We don’t expect all but the slowest moving cars and trucks to get off the road for faster traffic to pass them. People recognize that cars have a right to occupy the roadway, and that right supersedes their supremacy of speed. For cyclists, their right to the roadway is not acknowledged; therefore drivers believe that their right to the roadway is superior to the cyclist.

    Even if the drivers accept the cyclist’s right to the roadway, they still believe that their supremacy of speed should allow them to go through by the cyclist and the motor vehicle “sharing” the road. You see, even if a driver recognizes the right of the cyclist to occupy the road, almost all will not recognize the exclusive right to occupy the lane. Far as I care, “Share the Road” is an abysmal failure, as it erodes any exclusivity claims.

    To respond to the claim that the speed of the cyclist determines whether or not they have a right to use the roadway is to say that since you cannot travel as fast as a car, you do not have the right to use it. I also bristle at your use of “safety” as a weapon to deny roadway access to cyclists.

    • To take Will’s comments even further: It is not merely a “supremacy” of speed that some motorists claim; it is a form of tyranny. When the powerful (a person driving a motor vehicle is wielding a great deal of power) limit the basic freedoms of the less powerful, what can that be called other than tyranny?

  11. The impeding traffic statute is at FS 316.183 (5): “No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.”

    Note that a bicycle is a vehicle, but not a motor vehicle. But even if this statute was written to include all vehicles (including bicyclists), the last clause applies: “or in compliance with law.”

    (BTW, horse-drawn wagons and carriages, such as those used by the Amish in some parts of the country, are defined as vehicles in Florida — and likely most if not all other states — since the term “vehicle” was first used to describe those devices back in the 1800s, well before the invention of either the bicycle or the motor vehicle. There is no prohibition of horse-drawn vehicles — except on limited access highways (freeways, toll roads) — on public roadways. Clearly a horse-drawn wagon can neither “keep up” with motorized traffic, nor keep far enough right to allow another vehicle to pass within the same lane.)

    Bicyclists are explicitly permitted full use of a lane when the lane is too narrow to safely share with motor vehicles. This is certainly the case on University Blvd., where the lanes are 11 feet wide. It is not possible for a 7-foot-wide vehicle to give 3 feet of passing clearance (as required in 316.083) to a 2-foot wide bicyclist who requires at least 3 feet of operating space. Simple math shows that to be at least 13 feet; over 14 feet if the passing vehicle is a public transit bus or other wide vehicle.

    So even if 316.183(5) was written to include bicyclists, cyclists controlling a lane on University are “in compliance” with 316.2065(5)(a)3, and therefor not in violation of 316.183(5).

  12. Wanting to experience the sheer joy and excitement, I rode the bike bus last Wednesday on the 1st of September. As the bus traveled along our route, the bike bus driver kept track of our estimated stop times. I know that at least three times he had to SLOW our roll because we were traveling at a rate of 18-20mph. Hardly the 5 mph you mention. Not wanting to add insult to injury, but I wasn’t even on MY bike. I was riding my wife’s upright comfort bike.

    All this, while not even getting the first complaint,honk, or jeer from our fellow motor vehicle operators.

    It amazes me of the ignorance and disrespect that comes from the less than competent motoring public while using a public utility that, yes, my taxes pay for!

    Come join us on the Bike Bus, you’ll see the truth and become a more competent motorist, all while having fun and getting to your predetermined destination.