2010 Law Enforcement Guides

The new FBA Law Enforcement Guides explaining the mandatory bike lane law are published. You can download a PDF or contact FBA to have a booklet sent to you. I hope to get my hands on a stash before the next CyclingSavvy class.

What follows is the new text:

Roadway position [§316.2065(5)]

A person operating a bicycle on a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic under the conditions existing must ride in the lane marked for bicycle use or, if no lane is marked for bicycle use, as close as practicable [safe] to the roadway’s right-hand curb or edge, except under any of the following situations:

  • when passing another vehicle
  • when preparing for a left turn
  • when reasonably necessary to avoid conditions including (but not limited to), a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, pedestrian, animal, or surface hazard
  • when a lane is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side.

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

Comment: A bicycle lane is a lane marked with a stripe and symbols for the preferential use of bicycles on a roadway (motorists may enter or cross a bicycle lane to turn into or off a roadway at intersections and driveways). The official symbol marking used in Florida to designate a bicycle lane is shown in the figure [right] (FDOT Design Standards Index 17347 and Florida Greenbook).

Where no bicycle lane is marked, a white edge line is often marked to indicate the edge of the roadway. On a road with curbs, the gutter is not part of the roadway. A cyclist should avoid the gutter area; pavement joints or debris may be hazardous. On a road with flush shoulders, any pavement beyond the edge line is a paved shoulder; it is not a bicycle lane unless it is marked with the bicycle lane marking.

A cyclist may leave a bicycle lane for any of the purposes listed in the law. Bicycle lanes are typically designed for through travel. To make a right turn where a right turn lane is provided to the right of a bicycle lane, a cyclist should leave the bicycle lane, since continuing in the bike lane to the intersection and making a sharp right turn could surprise a motorist in the right turn lane.

Similarly, a cyclist using the roadway to make a left turn should leave the bike lane in advance of the intersection, rather than make a sharp left turn at the intersection that could surprise or cut off a motorist in a through lane.

Where a bicycle lane is continued along the right side of a through/right lane, a cyclist who intends to go straight may need to adjust their position to the left to reduce the hazard of being cut off by a turning motorist (in about 10 percent of bicycle-motor vehicle crashes, through cyclists were cut off by motorists who overtook the cyclists and made right turns in front of them, or who approached from the opposite direction and made left turns in front of the cyclists).

Where no bicycle lane is marked, a cyclist who intends to proceed straight through an intersection should not ride in a lane marked or signed exclusively for right turns, since all drivers are required to obey applicable traffic control devices (see “Obedience to traffic control devices” above).

Roads with flush shoulders: where no bicycle lane is marked, a white edge line is typically marked to indicate the edge of the roadway; any pavement to the right of the edge line is shoulder pavement, not a bicycle lane unless it is marked with the bicycle lane symbol.

Since the definition of “roadway” excludes shoulders, a cyclist is not required to ride on a paved shoulder that is not marked as a bicycle lane, although they may prefer to do so. A cyclist who rides on a paved shoulder should still travel on the right because (1) this reduces crash risk at intersections and driveways (drivers don’t expect traffic on shoulders to approach from the “wrong” direction) and (2) whenever the cyclist enters the roadway (e.g., to pass a pedestrian or other cyclist, cross an intersection, keep clear of a vehicle approaching to enter the roadway at a driveway, avoid debris or obstructions, etc.), right-side operation becomes mandatory.

Since the minimum clearance for passing a bicyclist is 3 feet (see “Overtaking and passing a vehicle” above) and the total width of larger motor vehicles (with extending mirrors) is commonly 8 feet or more, an outside traffic lane with less than 14 feet of width for travel is commonly not wide enough to accommodate passing motor traffic within the lane. Where restricted conditions prevent inclusion of bicycle lanes or paved shoulders on urban roadways, Florida Department of Transportation engineering guidance recommends an outside lane width of 14 feet to “allow passenger cars to safely pass bicyclists within a single lane,” i.e., without the need for passing motor vehicles to change lanes (Florida GreenBook, chapter 9).

Operation on limited access highways [FBA is working with FDOT to modify this section to provide access to bridges and other roads where there are no surface street options to access destinations]

[§316.091] No person shall operate a bicycle on a limited access facility, except as otherwise provided. No person shall operate a bicycle on an interstate highway.

Comment: At this time, the only exception provided is for the Jacksonville Expressway System [§ 349.04(1)]. A limited access facility is “a street or highway especially designed for through traffic and over, from, or to which owners or occupants of abutting land or other persons have no right or easement, or only a limited right or easement, of access” [§316.003(19)].

1 reply
  1. Brad Hawkins
    Brad Hawkins says:

    That contains just about everything I would hope for regarding a cyclist’s right to the road and lane usage. Here in Washington, we don’t have anything as progressive as this yet Washington is listed as a bike friendly state and Florida is not. Do you have any ideas as to what’s going on here?

    Congrats on a very fine set of guidelines!

Comments are closed.