take the lane!


The Florida Bicycle Law Enforcement Guide is a great little booklet. Everyone should carry one 😉

Today’s lesson is Position on Roadway {316.206595)}.
A cyclist traveling less than the “normal speed of traffic” must ride as close as practicable to the right hand curb or edge of the roadway, except in the following situations:
when passing another vehicle
when making a left turn. you should be positioned in the center of the lane or more towards the left side of the lane. This lets other traffic know your intention as well as signaling a left hand turn by simply pointing or looking to the left.

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. This includes an opening car door and potholes as well as drunks wandering into the street.

when a lane is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side. This is almost every road on the island!

The guide recommends cyclists stay about two feet out from the curb to be safe and visible and four feet out from parallel parked cars to avoid being doored. State Law requires cars to pass cyclists by at least three feet of clearance. This pretty much puts a cyclist in the middle of the lane on most streets on this island, which wouldn’t be a problem if more cars respected this as well slowed the F down. Riding in this style will certainly get you beeped at, and that means the car behind you sees you, which can only be a good thing. It is the car that doesn’t see you that is an accident waiting to happen.

Of course you will also encounter the driver who will wail on their horn and yell at you to get out of the road. This driver obviously feels as though they have more of a right to the road and that their life and their car are far more important to you. Perhaps they feel inferior to be stuck driving their noisy expensive purchase behind a happy, healthy cyclist enjoying their travels. I wonder where else in their pathetic lives they simply and  quickly throw honking or yelling tantrums. I can imagine them driving a shopping cart at the super market yelling at people in their way. No, wait. Actually i can’t, because these people don’t have the balls to yell at someone when they are not encased by thousands of pounds of steel and tinted windows!

I’d like to quote BikeSnobNYC where he compares a car driver telling a cyclist to get off the road to, “telling women to get out of the voting booth and back in the kitchen or telling Japanese-Americans to “Go back to China!” The ignorance inherent in the statement is almost as offensive  than the sentiment behind it.” Well written BikeSnob. We have the right to be able to ride safely in peace and without intimidation from other drivers or misinformed police officers. Now get out there and own that right…ride on!

The Florida Law Enforcement guide is available two ways on the
The Florida Bicycle Association website
A third way is to stop in at Fixed Gears Bicycle Shop, 421 Simonton Street, and pick up a free copy. There are lots of rights that many cyclists do not realize they have and this guide explains them well. I hope to continue to share this information and am very grateful to the FBA for all of their work, thank you! If you are not a member, please consider joining.

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