Sharing the Road with Cyclists

Man cycling on the road Jim Dodson LawI’m sure some may be wondering why it’s even necessary in the first place. Many drivers seem to believe the road belongs to them and someone on a bicycle needs to stay out of the way. I get it. I drive, as well.

I’m really talking about recreational cyclists (the ones in spandex). The majority of injury and deaths involving bicyclists involve someone who has no driver’s license, is riding at night without a light, is not wearing a helmet or has been drinking.  Hopefully, the recreational rider is aware of the rules of the road and makes an effort to obey them. There are noticeable exceptions which seem to get our attention.

Keep in mind a person on a bicycle when riding on the road is considered to be a vehicle, just like you. They must abide with most all the same rules of the road, with some noticeable exceptions. The difference is that you have tons of steel surrounding you while driving while they have no physical protection from the effects of a driver’s mistake.

How To Share The Road With Bicyclists

First, they have the right by law to ride in the road. They are permitted to ride on sidewalks as well (in most cities). However, I believe it is more dangerous for riders to be on the sidewalk. Plus, no serious recreational cyclist will be there simply because it’s impossible to ride safely at cruising speeds (15-25 mph generally).

There is a lot of confusion about what part of the lane a cyclist may occupy. In most situations where a bike lane is provided a cyclist will gladly occupy it. Most ride single file, but the law permits them to ride two abreast if they are not obstructing traffic.  However, as a cycling safety advocate, I urge riders to choose the position in the lane which is safest for them.

Bicyclists are permitted to “take the lane” or occupy the full lane if riding on a “substandard” road, which Florida law describes as less than 14 feet wide. Relatively few roads have 14 foot widths. This means a rider is permitted to share the full lane with vehicles on most Florida roads. Many are too intimidated to do this, however.

Why on earth would it increase safety for the rider to take the middle of the lane? When a cyclist hugs the right curb where there is no bike lane drivers will try and squeeze by resulting in them coming dangerously close to the rider. Imaging being on a bike and having a 3 ton vehicle suddenly pass on your left at 18” or less! By taking the lane drivers will recognize they must commit to changing lanes and give the cyclist a safe lane. Drivers also recognize from a greater distance they need to move over. This really works and is recommended by cycling safety advocates.

Have You Been Injured In A Bicycle Accident?

If you've been hurt in a Florida bicycle accident you should speak with an experienced bicycle injury lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

Jim Dodson
Connect with me
A Florida injury lawyer, family man and avid cyclist who clients have trusted for over 25 years.
Be the first to comment!
Post a Comment