Getting buzzed by thoughtless drivers who pass too closely is more than a nuisance; it’s dangerous. Many of our roads are “substandard,” meaning less than 14 feet. If a vehicle can’t safely pass a cyclist in the same lane giving the minimum safe passing distance, the cyclist is permitted to “take the lane” to ensure their safety.
Unfortunately, too many police officers are uninformed and hassle or even ticket cyclists who take the lane in those situations. What happens if you get one of those tickets for “moving too slowly” and “failing to ride on the right side?”
According to the Ft. Myers News-Press, Guy Hackett, a Lee County cyclist who has 2 instructor-level bicycle safety certifications, was sick of close calls and almost being forced off the road. He decided it was time to take the lane. That’s when he was ticketed for “slow bike, fail to ride to right curb.”
Hackett, teamed up with Dan Moser of BikeWalkLee and a local attorney to fight the ticket. They explained to the Hearing Officer the hazards of riding to the right on a substandard lane. Doing so encourages drivers to squeeze by and pass too closely.
After listening to the arguments, examining photos of the road and, of course, looking to the law, Hearing Officer Mary Jacobs found Hackett not guilty.
This win was worth much more than the $61.50 fine on the ticket. Congrats to Guy. Just another step on the road to making cycling a little safer.