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Cars have to drive in the right direction, so what about bikes?

After a reader nearly hit a bicyclist traveling against traffic, she wants to know who was abiding by the law. Dr. Delay has the answer.
Luis Espel, 22, uses the Cass Street bike lane to commute to work in Tampa. Times (2019)
Luis Espel, 22, uses the Cass Street bike lane to commute to work in Tampa. Times (2019)
Published Feb. 17, 2020|Updated Feb. 17, 2020

ST. PETERSBURG — As Tampa Bay’s infrastructure continues to develop, there’s a strong emphasis on making roadways and bridges more accommodating for everyone — vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians.

As a result, the Florida Department of Transportation has installed bike lanes on many streets throughout the region. And the agency is adding bike lanes to many of its largest construction projects. Examples include the State Road 679/Bayway Bridge project in Pinellas and the Maydell Bridge reconstruction and County Road 580 (Sam Allen Road) widening projects in Hillsborough.

Related: St. Pete's road vision: 60 miles of bike lanes and other upgrades in 5 years

Many have embraced the new bike lanes. But for some motorists, it poses safety concerns.

Linda Humphers emailed the Doc, wondering whether bicyclists are allowed to ride in either direction in the designated bike lanes. Recently, she nearly collided with a cyclist.

She wrote that she was leaving the Shell station at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Street North and 22nd Avenue North. As she turned south, she didn’t see the bicyclist heading towards her vehicle against the flow of traffic.

“All my attention was focused on the traffic coming towards me from the north,” Humphers wrote.

Related: Is a bike lane backlash brewing over St. Pete's MLK Jr. Street N?

Suddenly, Humphers wrote, the bike rider yelled at her and swatted the hood of her car.

Humphers wrote that she was stunned and shaking from nearly hitting the bicyclist. But she couldn’t help believing that the bicyclist — and not her — was in the wrong since the bicyclist was traveling against the flow of traffic.

And she’s right.

Bikes must travel with the flow of traffic, and pedestrians are to walk facing traffic, according to Steve Gaskins with the Florida Highway Patrol.

This is outlined in the “bicycle regulations” under Florida Statute 316.2065.

So now that we’ve got that out of the way, can you say you’re a safe bicyclist under the law? The Doc, who occasionally bikes, has come across a few citizens in her travels who could use a refresher.

If this applies to you as well, I’d advise reading up on each regulation and subsection of the law to avoid a run-in with a law enforcement officer.

Traffic and road closure updates:

Hernando County:

  • State Road 50 (Cortez Blvd) widening from Windmere Road/Bronson Boulevard to U.S. 301 causes intermittent lane closures through Friday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Hillsborough County:

  • Lane closures with flagging operations on County Road 580 (Sam Allen Road) from east of Paul Buchman Highway (State Road 39A) to Wilder Road through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Lane closures through Friday from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. on Interstate 275 from west of SR 60 (Exit 39) to Lois Avenue (Exit 40B), SR 60 under I-275 and West Shore Boulevard (CR 587) at I-275
  • Lane closures are anticipated nightly for I-275 striping between I-4 and Bearss Avenue between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.
  • Intermittent lane closures for U.S. 41 repaving from Bullfrog Creek to Denver Street through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Nightly lane closures continue through Friday for I-75 repaving from Manatee County Line to CR 672 (Big Bend Road) from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • U.S. 92 (Hillsborough Ave) repaving and drainage improvements from Nebraska Avenue to N 15th Street causes 24-hour lane closures through Saturday
  • SR 60 (Kennedy Boulevard) traffic signal upgrades at Armenia Avenue and Brevard Avenue cause nightly lane closures through Friday from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • CR 672 (Big Bend Road) bridge replacement from Dickman Road to Wyandotte Road causes 24-hour lane closures through Saturday
  • SR 582 (Fowler Avenue) median improvements at 12th Street causes lane closures through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • The southbound outside lane of U.S. 41B/Florida Avenue will be closed daily for utility repair from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. between River Shore Drive and Kirby Street
  • The northbound I-75 rest area in southern Hillsborough County (at Mile Marker 238) has been closed for demolition and reconstruction since Jan. 15. The rest area will be closed to the public until the new facilities are constructed.
    • The closure includes the entire site.
    • Motorists should plan on this rest area to be unavailable for any use (including parking and restrooms) until spring 2021. The next open rest area on northbound I-75 is located in Pasco County at mile marker 278, which is 40 miles to the north.
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Pasco County:

  • The outside lane of northbound Dale Mabry Highway from W County Line Road (Pasco-Hillsborough County Line) to Walmart Way may be closed daily between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday

Pinellas County:

  • Gateway Expressway (new tolled roadway system) updates:
    • Lane closures through Saturday from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. on I-275 from south of Gandy Boulevard (Exit 28) to Fourth Street N (Exit 32), I-275 northbound Exit 30 ramp to westbound State Road 686 (Roosevelt Boulevard) and westbound 118th Avenue (County Road 296)
    • Lane closures through Saturday from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. on U.S. 19 Frontage Roads from 110th Avenue N to 126th Avenue N, on the SR 686 (Roosevelt Boulevard) entrance ramp to the Bayside Bridge, SR 686 (Roosevelt Boulevard) from SR 688 (Ulmerton Road) to 49th Street N, SR 686 (Roosevelt Boulevard) from 28th Street N to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street N, and CR 611 / 49th Street from 145th Avenue to Bayside Bridge
    • Lane closures through Saturday on 118th Avenue North from U.S. 19 to 34th Street North from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Lane closures with flagging operations continue for SR 699 (Gulf Boulevard) drainage improvements from First Avenue to Central Avenue through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • SR 688, SR 586 and SR 580 intersection lighting improvements cause intermittent lane closures through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at various locations:
    • SR 688 (Ulmerton Road) between Hamlin Boulevard in Largo and Feather Sound Drive in St. Petersburg
    • SR 586 (Curlew Road) between Alt 19/Bayshore in Dunedin and Tampa Road in Oldsmar
  • Eastbound lane closures on Thursday and Friday for Alt. U.S. 19 (Bay Pines Boulevard) bridge repairs over Long Bayou from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Monique Welch is a staff writer at the Tampa Bay Times, and the voice behind Dr. Delay. Send your traffic concerns, questions and pictures of roadway troubles you spot in your travels around the Tampa Bay area to Follow @AskDrDelay.


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