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Posted by on Apr 30, 2012 in Uncategorized | 61 comments

Bike Lane Law Update: What it Means

As a product of this year’s legislative session, there has been a change in the language of the far right/mandatory bike lane law.

The change “clarifies situations in which a bicyclist is not required to ride in the marked bicycle lane (if the roadway is marked for bicycle use) or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway. The bill clarifies that a bicyclist is exempt from this requirement when a ‘potential conflict’ or a turn lane interrupts the roadway or bicycle lane.”

Here’s the way the statute looks in CS/CS/HB 1223:

316-2065(5)(a) 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:

  1. When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
  2. When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
  3. When reasonably necessary to avoid any condition or potential conflict, including, but not limited to, a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, bicycle, pedestrian, animal, surface hazard, turn lane, or substandard-width lane, which that makes it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge or within a bicycle lane. For the purposes of this subsection, 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.

(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.

Potential Conflicts

Probably the easiest thing to define is where a cyclist is unlikely to encounter potential conflicts when riding in a bike lane or near the edge of a wide lane. That would be on a long, straight stretch of road where there are no parked cars, no intersections, no driveways and no debris or standing water. And where the bike lane or wide lane width was sufficient to provide adequate operating space and passing clearance from large vehicles. That’s pretty much only going to occur in a low-density setting.

An urban bike lane is so riddled with potential conflicts that the exception voids the law (or it would in an unbiased world). Potential conflicts exist:

This cyclist was cut off by a fire department truck entering a parking space.

  • Anywhere motorists can enter or leave the roadway — any intersection or driveway. In an urban grid, there are intersections every 200-300ft. In a high-density commercial or residential area, there are driveways every 30-50ft. A right hook, left cross or drive-out can happen at any driveway. I’ve been nearly left-crossed by a motorist turning into a private home driveway on Lakemont Ave (a residential collector).
  • Anywhere a bike lane exists next to on-street parking. Not only is the door zone an issue, the potential for motorists entering and leaving parking spaces offers a conflict. I’ve had an elderly driver dive into a parking space in front of me (nearly grazing my front wheel) on Edgewater Drive.
  • Anywhere the bike lane, or edge of the road is likely to be obstructed or covered with debris or standing water so regularly that getting in and out of the bike lane creates constant, unpredictable movement. Or such that the cyclist is likely to get trapped between an obstruction and overtaking cars.
  • Anywhere the bike lane or right edge causes the bicyclist to be trapped in a position that interferes with sensible traffic flow. There are many cases where a bike lane is to the right of a lane that diverges, and then jumps to a pocket bike lane just before the intersection. Traffic flow actually begins several blocks before the intersection, so it is safer and easier to move to the next lane over well before the bike lane does. This video shows an extreme example of bad design (the bike lane ends 1000ft past that interchange, making it pointless to use it).
  • Anytime your speed is such that it would be impossible to react safely to potential downstream conflicts. Never ride at downhill speed in a bike lane (I rarely use absolutes, but I mean it here). The design speed of the standard bike lane (for a user not trained in emergency maneuvers) is about 12mph (something proponents don’t recognize or won’t admit).
  • When a lane marked for bicycle use is so narrow that you can’t possibly get safe passing clearance from vehicles in the adjacent lane. The same is true for a 14ft lane. If there is potential for trucks, buses or landscape trailers to be on that road, it’s not wide enough to keep right and share the lane.

Forward focus is your priority in a complex streetscape. Leaving a bike lane to avoid a potential conflict requires scanning behind you to negotiate before moving left. Any time a series of potential conditions would cause you to move in and out of a bike lane every 15 seconds (that’s common with a city street grid, it also happens on trash day), it’s easier and more predictable just to stay out.

Unfortunately, we live in a culture where 99% of the population, including street designers, law enforcement and many bicyclists, don’t know what potential conflicts are or how to recognize the conditions which produce them. If they did, we’d have much lower crash rates for bicyclists, and we wouldn’t have urban bike lanes. Because urban bike lanes manufacture conflicts.

Special concerns for cycling in groups

Individual cyclists have a more options for dealing with an imminent bike lane conflict that a group does. We can slow down, negotiate a lane change, or at worst, perform an emergency stop.

For a group of cyclists, lane changes must be initiated by the rear rider (to avoid trapping a car in the middle of the group). Sudden changes in speed at the front cause wild braking fluctuations and swerving at the back as each rider responds with a little more braking force than the rider ahead. Emergency stops are completely out of the question — they would result in a pile-up.

These riders are safely away from debris and get a comfortable passing buffer as motorists change lanes to pass.

But while the rear rider controls the lane change, the front rider is the one who sees the obstruction. If a parked truck is blocking the bike lane, all the riders can see it and communicate in time to have the rear rider negotiate out of the bike lane to avoid the obstruction. But if the bike lane is obstructed by a pile of glass or some other hazard, there is not enough time/distance for the leader to see it and communicate from front to rear and negotiate before hitting it. As a result, the front rider has no choice but to swerve and try to communicate the hazard to all the other riders, hoping there are no overtaking cars. There have been many paceline crashes caused by this kind of last-second obstruction avoidance. Bike lanes and shoulders, by their very nature, accumulate hazardous obstructions that are rarely found in a general use lane.

The distance from an intersection at which a single rider would leave a bike lane to prevent intersection crashes must be increased by the length of the paceline and the time/distance it takes to communicate from front to back. Right hooks and other disruptions are caused because a motorist can’t judge the length of a group and distance needed to pass. If a motorist begins passing a group a block from the intersection where he wants to turn, but the group is 80-100ft long and traveling at 30ft per second, he probably won’t reach the front of the group in time to slow for the turn before the intersection. He will face the choice of attempting to speed up and cut the group off, or stop in the thru lane and wait for the group to pass. I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer not to trust my safety to the decisions of a motorist whose judgement is unknown. (See animation for more group bike lane conflicts.)

By groups, I don’t just mean roadies. When we plan social rides like First Friday, s-cargo and ice cream rides, we steer clear of roads with bike lanes. It’s not only too risky, it’s not at all social to have to ride single file in a bike lane, when you could otherwise ride 2 abreast in a general use lane.

So what does it mean?

In the short term, it can’t hurt to have one more legal defense if you get cited by an uninformed police officer who believes you are violating a discriminatory law that shouldn’t exist in the first place. Many police and magistrates are ignorant of how we drive defensively, so they wouldn’t know what constitutes “far right as practicable,” even if they know what the word itself means.

Legal redundancies are an attempt to band-aid a festering problem of ignorance, bias and injustice in a dysfunctional, car-centric traffic culture.

The truth is, “Potentials conflicts” and conditions “that make it unsafe…” are covered by “practicable.” It is not practicable to subject yourself to unsafe conditions or potential conflicts. The exceptions are redundant in the same way the 3ft law is redundant to the law requiring an unspecified safe passing distance (which is really more than 3ft most of the time!) and the duty to exercise due care not to run into people. Both redundancies are an attempt to band-aid a festering problem of ignorance, bias and injustice in a dysfunctional, car-centric traffic culture.

The “far right as practicable” law and its offspring— mandatory use laws for bike lanes, shoulders and side paths—serve no other purpose than getting bicycle drivers out of the way. They were created by the culture of speed (AKA Motordom). The original far right law, added to the UVC in 1944, did not have any exceptions beyond the word practicable. At the same time that law was imposed on bicyclists, the bicycle was downgraded from “vehicle” to “device” in the UVC. At least bicyclists retained the rights and duties of drivers, save for the new restrictions. The familiar exceptions were added in the 1970s, after a failed attempt to remove the far right law altogether. The UVC also restored vehicle status to the bicycle (though a number of states did not adopt that change).

In retrospect, those exceptions may have served to preserve the law itself more than to protect us. In practice, it is the law itself that reinforces the bias. The exceptions are often ignored by law officers as they substitute their biased opinions for accurate interpretation of the law. In practice, even if a cyclist is able to defeat a citation, the time, hassle and costs of legal council are an unfair burden to defend defensive driving (something every other driver is granted without question).

The FBA staff and lobbyists who worked to add this new exception did so because they know we currently don’t have the political or public support to get rid of the law itself. I understand that. I’ve been a part of many discussions on this topic and I still don’t have a clear idea how to proceed politically. I understand advocates in Pennsylvania spent years building relationships in order to create the conditions for having their far right and mandatory side path laws removed from statute. It takes time and deliberate action.

This is not the end

Exceptions or not, the far right and mandatory bike lane laws repress defensive driving practices for the drivers who are most exposed, passed with the highest speed differentials, create the least impact upon the system, and are the least likely to threaten the safety of others. These laws are egregious. The costs of having to fight an unjust and unwarranted citation in a potentially-biased court are onerous. This creates conditions for targeted harassment, such as Fred has suffered in Port Orange, Ormond Beach and recently Daytona Beach. Exceptions or not, they make us second class citizens.

We will not build a healthy community for alternative transportation on second-class citizenship.

So here’s my challenge to all those who want to promote bicycling (bike industry, health industry, environmentalists, new urbanists, etc): The foundation must come first! Put your power, money and energy into helping get rid of these laws entirely. This is the base of the pyramid and without it, we will build nothing of lasting value.

61 Comments

  1. Excellent as usual. Thanks, Keri.

  2. I’ll be ripping you off on Carbon Trace later today. Your message is especially important for Springfieldians to understand as the city moves forward with infrastructure ahead of the foundation of respect.

  3. Thanks, Keri, for putting this out clearly and concisely. You are a civil and respectful voice of reason in this world.

  4. Good stuff Keri! Definitely informative.

  5. When one drives a human powered vehicle of approximately 30 inches in height, one is always dealing with potential conflicts if side-lined into a bicycle lane or other subordinate position on a roadway.

    I so wish that the motorist education portion was more than a dream for the duration of my lifetime.

  6. I just read the bill at the link provided. I’m somewhat dismayed to learn that they don’t take effect until 1 Jan 2013, but then again, to have such a change for the better is certainly a positive note.

    Speaking of notes, the horn-blower’s lobby must have had a hand in one of the changes. It’s no longer unlawful to sound one’s horn on the roadways, even for reasons other than providing warning. Well, isn’t that just loverly!

  7. One of Far to the Right exceptions not added to the FL law is “anywhere a right turn in authorized.” That excpetion exists at least in Illinois and California. Was there no attempt to include it in the Florida law update?

    • Why? Potential conflict covers that, as well as many other things. It was a much better addition to include than a single-purpose exception.

      • I was thinking that by specifying”where a right turn is authorized” as an exception (as in CA and IL) that this would apply whenever a right turn is authorized, whether or not there is a vehicle in the vicinity that might make a right turn. Is there a “potential conflict” of a right hook if there is no potentially conflicting vehicle present?

        • anywhere a right turn is authorized there is a potential for a conflict

          and anywhere a left turn can be made

          and anywhere a car can enter the road from a driveway

          and

          and

          and

          and

        • “that this would apply whenever a right turn is authorized”

          Look again at the statute change. Language was added to define a turn lane, whether left or right, as a potential conflict.

          • I understand “turn lane” to be a lane from which a turn is required (often referred to as “left-turn-only lane” or “right-turn-only lane”). This does not include a through lane from which a an authorized turn can be made.

            But as long as a “potential hazard” is understand as certain roadway conditions even when no other vehicle is present, then the more general exceptions are fine (well, as fine as exceptions can be given the far-to-the-right requirement).

          • “I understand “turn lane” to be a lane from which a turn is required (often referred to as “left-turn-only lane” or “right-turn-only lane”). This does not include a through lane from which a an authorized turn can be made.”

            I don’t think that is true in Florida.

      • As long as everybody understands that “potential conflict” includes EVERY intersection and EVERY driveway, then the more specific “right turn is authorized” would be redundant.

        Then again, “it can’t hurt to have one more legal defense if you get cited by an uninformed police officer who believes you are violating a discriminatory law that shouldn’t exist in the first place.”

  8. Given that that the door zone is a standard location to install bike lanes, do police anywhere recognize the door zone as a legitimate reason to leave the bike lane? Since it should be pointless to mark areas unsuitable for bicycling as bike lanes, I would think marking as a bike lane would be proof that the bike lane must be considered safe to ride in (by the motorists that painted it).

    The only areas I can see being universally understood to be optional are the sharrows in Baltimore, many of which are painted in the left wheel track of parked cars. (I was surprised when I saw them; this is also noted on p3 http://baltimorevelo.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Love_2012_AAP_3ft-study.pdf).

  9. Keri, what road is that in the picture with the group cyclists, it looks like a really good roadway for multiple cyclists..

    • That’s E Lake Dr./Seminola Blvd Between Tuscawilla and Murphy.
      http://g.co/maps/gfxhj

      It is a good road for group cycling. That’s a screen shot from this video http://youtu.be/h2Ikj8RxZyg
      Shot on a Saturday morning, typical conditions for when most groups ride.

  10. Bicycle specific law (if we just have to have one):

    Bicyclists shall get in-line with traffic going their direction.
    Bicyclists may move to the right to allow faster traffic to pass only when it is safe.

    Is that enough?

    David

  11. I may have noted this before, but technically, our friend Fred is really not affected by these changes in the law because he’s not driving a BICYCLE.

    316.003 (2) BICYCLE.—Every vehicle propelled solely by human power [...] having two tandem wheels, and including any device generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped with two front or two rear wheels. The term does not include such a vehicle with a seat height of no more than 25 inches from the ground when the seat is adjusted to its highest position or a scooter or similar device.

    So Fred’s velocar is not a bicycle. It is clearly a human-powered vehicle.

    316.2065 Bicycle regulations.—
    (1) Every person propelling a vehicle by human power has all of the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle under this chapter, except as to special regulations in this chapter, and except as to provisions of this chapter which by their nature can have no application.

    (5)(a) 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 [etc., etc.]

    So Fred is not bound by 316.2065 (5), and “has all of the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle.”

  12. Mighk, so Fred’s velocar is not a bicycle because it’s seat is too low? The definition does include human-propelled vehicles with two front or rear wheels.

  13. Gary, based on the statutes, specifically the seat height reference, one could consider that the vehicle I operate is not a bicycle, disregarding the number of wheels on the roadway. The reference to seat height is ambiguous, however. My seat has a neck support that is high enough to qualify. One might suggest then that the reference to seat height is aimed specifically at the portion of the seat upon which one’s bottom resides. The statute overlooks recumbent bikes, probably due to the lack of them when the statute was created, and by the same token, overlooks a more specific definition of seat height.

    It has been my philosophy that it is difficult enough to explain cycling safety to uninformed uniformed law enforcement officers. With that in mind, I did not want to have to explain the difference between a human powered vehicle and a bicycle.

  14. The section about 25″ is WITHIN the section of Motorized bikes and is referencing those.. NOT bicycles in general.
    The reason for the 25″ seat height thing was for the exclusion of pocket bikes, mini scooters, motored powered devices and the like and not in relation to human powered vehicles.

    Skateboards, roller skates, kick scooters, etc are not vehicles (I believe they’re defined as “devices” or “toys” in the statutes) and are not bicycles either. (Nor are they allowed on public roads either).

    • From FL Statutes 316.003:

      (2) BICYCLE.—Every vehicle propelled solely by human power, and every motorized bicycle propelled by a combination of human power and an electric helper motor capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of not more than 20 miles per hour on level ground upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels, and including any device generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped with two front or two rear wheels. The term does not include such a vehicle with a seat height of no more than 25 inches from the ground when the seat is adjusted to its highest position or a scooter or similar device. No person under the age of 16 may operate or ride upon a motorized bicycle.

      It certainly does not include a scooter or similar device, but a human powered vehicle with a seat height of no more than 25 inches does not fall under the definition of a bicycle.

      It has been said that one reason to disallow “low seat” bikes from being defined as bicycles is to permit young children on sidewalk bikes in areas where signs disallow bicycles on the sidewalk.

      • I’ve seen the same logic applied to wheel size, which means some small-wheel folding bikes and recumbents are not technically bicycles, depending how the definition is written.

        • Mike On Bike, I’ve seen a statute or two in which the definition of bicycle allows for recumbent sized wheels, usually cutting it off at the 12″ diameter point for kids bikes and upwards. No reference to seat height, and that seems far more progressive than using a seat height as a limitation. In my case, literally my court case, this particular statute may work in my favor.

          I do prefer to have my velomobile to be considered as a bicycle, and want to have the real statute taken into consideration, 316.2065(5)(a)(3) so the coppers will get off my back permanently.

          If the definition of bicycle ever changes to ignore seat height, then I’m “legally” a bicycle again and I need 316.2065 to protect me properly.

          • Your velomobile IS a bicycle… It is, “a vehicle propelled solely by human power”.. Plain and simple… You do NOT need to read any further, unless it is a (Subsection with an exception) As an example, “316.2065(5)(a)(3)” has the exception to the original “rule” of FRAP and is therefore an exception…
            Anyone who reads further into the definition to try to get you into trouble, is just looking to be a PITA. (A least in my opinion)

    • No, it’s simply a separate sentence within the definition.
      The definition in full:

      BICYCLE.—Every vehicle propelled solely by human power, and every motorized bicycle propelled by a combination of human power and an electric helper motor capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of not more than 20 miles per hour on level ground upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels, and including any device generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped with two front or two rear wheels. The term does not include such a vehicle with a seat height of no more than 25 inches from the ground when the seat is adjusted to its highest position or a scooter or similar device. No person under the age of 16 may operate or ride upon a motorized bicycle.

      It’s fairly plain to me the seat height applies whether the vehicle has an electric motor or not. Perhaps you can explain how I’m reading it wrong.

  15. It doesn’t say this “definition” (referring to “bicycle”), it says this “term” (referring) to the “motorized” bike…
    If it wasn’t referring to the motorized term, why would they add at the END, “No person under 16 may ride a motorized bicycle”..
    They were continuing the term “motorized” as not being a scooter or similar device..

    If the seat height portion wasn’t meant for the motorized bicycle section of the definition, they would have put the seat height portion, right after the first part of the bicycle definition and the “no one under 16″ part right after the “two front or two rear wheels” part..

    It’s plain as day to me, that the entire seat height part is specifically for motorized bicycle and people trying to say their mini bikes, mini scooters, etc are considered bicycles.

    The only people that wouldn’t believe that, are those that want to try to get others in trouble, because they have nothing better to do, then to bother others for the sake of being a jerk.. (Like most cops that stop bicyclists for “taking the lane” and even after being shown they’re wrong, still harass you.)

    Why would you think a recumbent isn’t a bicycle? There is NO way a judge would look at a “bent” and go, that’s not a bicycle.. LOL..

    However, like I said before, if you DID have a recumbent and had it motorized, AND it’s MAXIMUM seat height was UNDER 25″, you might then have a problem… The easy fix for that is to have a seat post made so that you could raise it up past 25″; not that you would have to have it at that height, it just has to have a maximum seat height above the 25″.

  16. The significant portion of the statute reads as follows:
    “The term does not include such a vehicle with a seat height of no more than 25 inches from the ground when the seat is adjusted to its highest position”

    there is an OR involved, which means one or the other or both, it does not require that all terms be true in order for the “does not include” portion to be valid.

    The “TERM” does indeed refer to bicycle, as that is the item being defined.

    I certainly do believe that a recumbent is a bicycle and that my velomobile, however “low” or short on seat height is a bicycle, but the statutes can be used against me in court. In this case, the statutes can be used in my favor. If I have no other alternative, I will attempt to make use of this peculiar twist.

    That said, if the law ever were to change, I would again have to deal with cops who believe that I’m riding a bicycle (per the changed statute) and deal again with the AFRAP wording that I’m fighting now.

    Another way to consider it is that nearly none of the recumbent bikes on the market are defined as bicycles per this statute, so the owners/riders should be taking the lane. Sadly, most of them are unable to recognize they are not operating in an optimum manner.

    I’ll find out on the 24th of May, one way or another, but it’s only an arraignment. “Not Guilty” will be my plea, and the judge at that time can announce “Case Dismissed” or give me a court date. I prefer the former, of course. “Dismissed with predjudice” would be the ideal resolution.

  17. Here’s the thing… If it’s not a bicycle, you can’t ride it on the roadway ANYWHERE… If it’s not a “bicycle”, it’s not technically a “vehicle”.. (Like skateboards and roller skates; as an example)
    If it’s not a vehicle, it’s not allowed on roads.
    I see no “OR” anywhere in that definition. I don’t know what case you have, could you enlighten me, so I don’t have to go searching?
    Also, why wouldn’t you want your tricycle (recumbent) to be a “bicycle”.. That only helps you…

    It’s the positioning of the seat height portion that makes me think it’s only referencing the motorized term…. Why would you want it NOT to be considered a “bicycle”… I’m soooo confused.
    (I’m trying to help you here).

    • “The term does not include such a vehicle with a seat height of no more than 25 inches from the ground when the seat is adjusted to its highest position _OR_ a scooter or similar device.”

      That covers the “or” part.

      “(1) Every person propelling a vehicle by _HUMAN POWER_ has all of the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle under this chapter, except as to special regulations in this chapter, and except as to provisions of this chapter which by their nature can have no application.”

      That covers the not-a-bicycle part.

      The case I have is pending, so there’s nothing to search. I’ve been cited for 316.2065(5)(a) for not riding at the edge of the roadway. The previous six citations have been dismissed, but this one has been brought to the attention of a judge and I have to appear for a hearing, despite all conditions being identical to the previous six tickets.

      You’re entitled to be confused, it’s the law.

      • It’s interesting that you could have two identically appearing small (kids’) two-wheelers and one could be a bicycle and the other not. The bicycle two-wheeler would have a longer seatpost that allowed the seat to be raised to more than 25 inches above the ground.

        • Such wording in a statute is confusing and there’s no reason to have confusion in the laws. If the object of such laws is to permit kids bikes on sidewalks, that’s great, but it should be clear. Timing is a factor, of course, because recumbents and low adult bikes are more common today than when the law was written.

          I’ve yet to see a definitive basis for this particular portion of the statutes, that of bicycle seat height.

      • I can’t imagine how anyone can argue that your velocar is not a vehicle, or that it is human-powered. There is no explicit prohibition of your type of vehicle.

      • Was there a bicycle lane available when you got the ticket?

        • There is no _marked_ bicycle lane on the roadway at the point of the citation. There was a portion of pavement separated by a stripe from the rest of the roadway, but it is not a bicycle lane. I avoid roadways with marked bicycle lanes as they marginalize my position and my safety.

    • Special x, please show us the statutory language which prohibits drivers of human-powered vehicles that are not bicycles from using public roadways.

      • Under that same 316.2065
        (12) No person upon roller skates, or riding in or by means of any coaster, toy vehicle, or similar device, may go upon any roadway except while crossing a street on a crosswalk; and, when so crossing, such person shall be granted all rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to pedestrians.

        • What you see here is a conflict of sorts. The definition of bicycle does not automatically assign to the toy category a human powered vehicle that is not a bicycle.

          I don’t want to be a test case and as long as the court wants to consider my velomobile as a bicycle and allow me the same rights, I’m all for it. I can certainly attest that my velomobile is not a toy vehicle or similar device.

        • The velomobile isn’t any of those things. It’s a vehicle 316.003 (75) propelled by human power 316.2065 (1).

          • “”"The velomobile isn’t any of those things.”"”
            “”"It’s a vehicle 316.003 (75) propelled by human power 316.2065 (1).”"

            EXACTLY…
            Definition of a bicycle.. Very first sentence..
            (2) BICYCLE.—Every vehicle propelled solely by human power.
            DONE DEAL!

            (Unless another type of “vehicle” or “device” somewhere else [as shown in part 12 of 316.2065-e.g. Skateboard] is defined, you pick the closest definition, which is a bicycle!)

            Again, I don’t see why a velomobile is not a bicycle no matter what the seat height is..

            Reading the statute as it currently stands (grammatically speaking), would make any reasonable layperson deduce that there are two descriptions of a bicycle and not 3 or 4 broken up into different portions of the same paragraph..

            Look at the description of a motorized bike (after the first comma) in the second half of the definition.. Why would they put a descriptor of a non motorized bicycle within all the descriptors of a motorized one and then continue on with more motorized bike descriptors… That makes no sense (and would be an unreasonable read of the statute), at least in my eyes.

          • In that same section: “The term does not include such a vehicle with a seat height of no more than 25 inches from the ground when the seat is adjusted to its highest position or a scooter or similar device.”

  18. 316.003 (75) VEHICLE.—Every device, in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, excepting devices used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.

    316.2065 (1) Every person propelling a vehicle by human power has all of the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle under this chapter…

  19. I still don’t see why Fred wouldn’t want to be considered a bicycle… That gives him the right to use the roadway.
    If he’s not a bicycle, 316.2065 (12) states he would be a “toy device” or “similar” and would not be allowed on the roadway.

    It’s plain as day (IMHO) that the seat height requirement is for the motorized term as it’s inclusive of every descriptor of the “motorized” bicycle term (hence the “or similar device” WITHIN the motorized portion) and before the “no person under 16″ part.

    Why would they describe something in the first portion, describe it differently in another portion and THEN describe the first portion again with another descriptor.. It does not make grammatical sense.

    There have been other cases of FRAP law in Florida and 50/50 it’s gone either way.. Depending on many factors including lane width, traffic at the time, bicycle lane availability, debris in roadway, etc.

    • The only reason I would want my velomobile to be considered not-a-bicycle is to get the cops off my back. I do not want to be considered a bicycle, nor to be considered not a bicycle, as I am the human bean powering this specific vehicle. It may seem to be semantics, but such a distinction is important. Back to the focus.

      If my vehicle is not considered to be a bicycle, I am not required to remain as far right as practicable, nor am I required to operate in marked bicycle lanes. If I am considered to be operating a bicycle, I want the recognition that I am not in violation of the statutes, which is truly the case.

      As far as your inability to recognize the grammatical distinction in the statutes, I can’t help that.

      Grammatically, the sentence “The term does not include such a vehicle with a seat height of no more than 25 inches from the ground when the seat is adjusted to its highest position or a scooter or similar device.” means (part one):

      “The term (bicycle) does not include such a vehicle with a seat height of no more than 25 inches from the ground when the seat is adjusted to its highest position…”

      and means (part two):

      “The term (bicycle) does not include a scooter or similar device.”

      That is how the use of “OR” is interpreted.

      Also, US laws are based on the premise that if it’s not disallowed specifically, it is permitted. There is no definition of toy vehicle in the statutes as far as I can determine. If the court decides that my velomobile is a toy vehicle, then we have a completely different case with which to contend.

      • I disagree with your reading of “the term” meaning (bicycle), I think it refers to (“motorized”) bicycle.
        So we’ll just have to agree on disagreeing…
        Either way, your “conveyance” would not excuse a disregard of a/the FRAP law.

  20. I think you’re confused about something…
    Whether or not you’re a “bicycle”, would not preclude you from the FRAP law (unless you were going the same speed as other traffic), so not a bicycle or not a toy device, doesn’t allow you full use of the roadway lane (while going slower than the rest of the traffic) just because your “conveyance” is not defined anywhere in the statutes.

    If that’s what you’re hoping for, that’s not gonna happen as it would lead to people creating devices, vehicles and what not, just to bypass FRAP laws.

    FYI, I do NOT own a car.. I have a moped, a motorized bicycle and a bianchi sport bicycle.

    • The preclusion from the AFRAP law is that a 12′ wide travel lane is not safe enough for a bicycle and motor vehicle to operate side by side. The Florida definition for travel lane DOES NOT INCLUDE bike lanes or shoulders.

      I grow weary of this needless bantering. You’re certainly welcome to continue to post to any thread you wish, but I will cease to reply.

  21. Let me qualify my statement about FRAP.

    It wouldn’t preclude you from using a bicycle lane (at least in part) for complying with FRAP.

  22. Why is it when someone has valid discussion points to the contrary to what the other person wants, they get defensive and think it’s personal… It’s not…

    Trying to say you’re something other than a vehicle that would be allowed on roads, would preclude you from using them, on said roads, in the first place. The only other outcome is the definition of a recumbent bicycle irregardless of seat height included in the statutory definition of a bicycle.

    How about finding out who drafted that definition of a bicycle and just ask them what they originally intended that statutory definition to mean legally and if the seat height portion is inclusive of the non-motorized bicycle term.

    If you want, I can find out for you.

  23. How many human-powered vehicles can dance on the head of a pin?

  24. HERE YOU GO…
    (Via the legislative record)…

    INITIAL LAW..

    (2) BICYCLE.—Every vehicle propelled solely by human power upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels.

    REVISED TO INCLUDE ADULT TRIKES AND WORK BIKES-

    (2) BICYCLE.—Every vehicle propelled solely by human power upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels, and including any device generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped with two front or two rear wheels.

    REVISED TO INCLUDE MOTORIZED BIKES -

    (2) BICYCLE.—Every vehicle propelled solely by human power, and every motorized bicycle propelled by a combination of human power and an electric helper motor capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of not more than 20 miles per hour on level ground upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels, and including any device generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped with two front or two rear wheels. No person under the age of 16 may operate or ride upon a motorized bicycle.

    REVISED TO MAKE SURE MINIATURE MOTORCYCLES ARE NOT INCLUDED AS A BICYCLE AND THIS BECOMES STREET LEGAL-

    (2) BICYCLE.—Every vehicle propelled solely by human power, and every motorized bicycle propelled by a combination of human power and an electric helper motor capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of not more than 20 miles per hour on level ground upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels, and including any device generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped with two front or two rear wheels. The term does not include such a vehicle with a seat height of no more than 25 inches from the ground when the seat is adjusted to its highest position or a scooter or similar device. No person under the age of 16 may operate or ride upon a motorized bicycle.

    SO YOU HAVE IT IN A NUTSHELL….
    Trikes are legally bicycles.

    • That could be useful information once verified. Can you provide a link to a recognized source of legal information?

      • That information was given to me on another forum..
        Unfortunately, I have no clue how to look up (pre-1997) Florida statutes.

        (This was given to me by someone, and an ex-Florida state judge agreed with my interpretation of the statute).

        • That won’t help me in a court case. Oh well.

          • But I’m sure your lawyer can easily look up stuff like that.

        • I think they keep the old statutes in the downtown Orlando library. Could be in other libraries, too. Or maybe in the county law library if it still exists in your nearby counties.

  25. IANAL, so I can only point you in the right direction.