The Doc appreciates all the mail recently regarding last week's item about safely sharing the road, in particular as it applies to four-wheeled vehicles and bicycles and the various scenarios in which rights of way are in question. Several readers shared car vs. bike stories, and none of them had happy endings. At the suggestion of reader Everett E. Newton and others, I am including some information here from the Florida Bicycle Association website. Check it out at floridabicycle.org/rules/bikelaw.
The group reminds everyone that "in Florida the bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle. Bicyclists have the same rights to the roadways, and must obey the same traffic laws as the operators of other vehicles. These laws include stopping for stop signs and red lights, riding with the flow of traffic, using lights at night, and yielding the right-of-way when entering a roadway. There is only one road and it is up to bicyclists and motorists to treat each other with care and respect. Strict adherence to the law is the foundation for this respect."
Some highlights from the site include a summary of Florida statutes pertaining to bicycles, including:
• A bicyclist who is not traveling at the same speed as other traffic must ride in a designated bike lane or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the road. 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.
• 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 road as practicable.
• A bicyclist intending to make a vehicle left turn is entitled to full use of the lane from which the turn is made. After scanning, signaling and moving to the center of that lane, the bicyclist must check the signal, then proceed when it is green and safe to do so.
• In addition to the normal vehicle left turn, a bicyclist may proceed through the right-most portion of the intersection and turn as close to the curb or edge as possible at the far side. After complying with any official traffic control device, the bicyclist may proceed in the new direction.
• 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.
Until next week, happy and safe motoring!
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