Category Archives: take the lane!

Key West Citzen gets owned by Bikeman!

Unfortunately, our daily newspaper isn’t doing a good job fact checking the laws they are writing about and thus they are misleading the public, law enforcement and drivers. Fortunately citizens are writing letters to the editor and trying to get the facts out! Check out this letter:

Bicyclists can pass on the right of cars

Please refrain from publishing inaccurate information regarding bicycle laws. It creates unnecessary discord between cyclists and automobile drivers.

[A Citizen story states:] “It is illegal for a bicyclist to pass a car on the right, especially through an intersection.”

The following information was taken directly from the Florida Bicycle Law Enforcement Guide: Cyclists traveling in a bicycle lane, or in a lane wide enough for motor vehicles and bicycles to share, may pass motor vehicles on the right, but must take care to avoid turning vehicles. Passing is allowed in these cases, since there is sufficient width for two lines of moving traffic (one of which is bicycle traffic).

In other words, on a bicycle, you can pass a car on the right as long as there are no cars parked on your right and you yield to right-turning vehicles ahead of you.

Perhaps the article should have focused on the fact that although we are similar in population, we are not similar in terms of the amount of cyclists on our streets on any given day. Or your reporter could have questioned why tangible improvements like signage were not included in this grant, only education and ticketing of a population that will most likely not be here in a year, given the transient nature of Key West.

What about educating automobile drivers? They are the ones doing the maiming and killing of our cyclists. Finally, why interview only one person who actually rides a bike? Could your reporter not find one other cyclist?

Tom Theisen

Key West

read it here online

and maybe write a letter yourself!


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 … Continue reading

Beware of Brian Wise and his Jeep!

Hi Brian. I think we both agree cyclists who flagrantly dart in front of cars are trouble and put them selves at risk. But you need to understand that the speed limit is the speed limit for perfect conditions, which pretty much rarely exists here in Key West. Yeah, the “law of the land” is pretty clear that if there’s bicycles in the street, people with baby strollers, and not perfect conditions, YOU should be driving less that the speed limit. I think you should maybe listen to the Conchs….SLOW DOWN. This ain’t the mainland.

Also, you telling cyclists to take their own advice and slow down…uhhh….huh? That doesn’t even make any sense. What’s a cyclists speed have to do with “darting” in front of your jeep? Please focus on your driving more than you focus on maintaining your point in letters to the editor. Drive safe, and remember, legally, bicycles may take the full lane on most of Key West’s streets, leaving you and your 2300 pound jeep behind them waiting to pass safely and legally. Its the LAW. You also must pass by at least three feet.

Brian’s Citizen’s Voice

Reckless cyclists put themselves at risk

Since transferring down here a year and a half ago, I realized that Key West has a more laid-back lifestyle than I was used to. I respect that, and have come to enjoy it. I’ve learned to adjust my schedule so that my time management is better, and I don’t need to rush everywhere.

That being said, I’m still rather perturbed at the multitude of Conchs who insist upon yelling at me that I need to slow down when I’m doing the speed limit. First of all, none of them are cops. Second, the speed limit is the speed limit, and therefore the law of the land. They may be of the opinion that I’m going too fast, but that’s all it is; an opinion. If they think motor vehicles should go slower in that particular area, then they need to petition the city to lower the speed limit in whatever area I happen to be traveling. Third, I think they may be yelling at me to slow down because of the multitude of bicyclists and pedestrians that have jumped out in front of me (that I’ve almost hit) after they blew a stop sign on a busy street.

… Now, I do understand that in certain cases, bicycles have the right of way …, and as I am also a bicyclist, I respect and obey those rights of way whether I’m on my bike or driving.

However, in cases where you, on a bicycle, decide to ignore a stop sign and barrel out onto a busy street, you show a complete lack respect for the law, a complete lack of respect and consideration for other people, and worst of all, a complete lack of consideration for your own personal safety.

I hope each and every person reading this will take a moment to consider what would occur if they barreled out in front of my 2,300-pound Jeep and I was unable to stop in time. Which do you think would receive the most physical damage? …

And you tell me to slow down? Take your own advice.

Brian Wise

take the lane!

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

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 andĀ  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 offensiveĀ  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.

ride safe and know your rights

Hello my fellow riders. there’s a few things we should all be doing to stay legal, but more importantly, to be safe and stay alive to enjoy another healthy day. These few things would certainly reduce accidents, anger and broken bones.

Please ride on the right side of the street. Though some believe they are safer facing the traffic, its is a proven fact that riding against traffic is far far more dangerous and results in more accidents.

Lights at night. A red light in the rear and a white headlight are a state law that makes sense. You really want cars to see you, especially in Key West where you got gawking tourists, cellphonetalkingscofflaws and drunk drivers are not paying much attention to the road…or your life.

Please respect one way streets. Please don’t pedal the wrong way in a bike lane. It creates a bad situation for everyone and no one knows what you’re gonna do next.

You have the right to take the entire lane if a car cannot safely pass you. State law requires cars to pass cyclists by at least three feet. If it is not safe to be passed, take the lane. The car does NOT have more right to the road and legally and safely must yield to you until safe to pass.

There are two great, free publications available.
The Florida Bicycle Law Enforcement Guide
The above link opens in the FBA website with two ways to get the guide. A third way is to stop in 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 am working on a link for the other publication, check back this weekend!

Ride on!