In summer, we tend to see more bikes on the road in Florida, so it is helpful to be aware of the rules for sharing the roads between cyclists and motorists. Not long ago, Florida lawmakers revised and clarified some of the rules regarding the procedures that can enable cars, trucks, and other motorized vehicles to safely pass bicycles, and changed some other bicycle laws as well.
Drivers Can Cross a Double Yellow Line to Give Bicycles Room
It has been drummed in our heads since driver’s ed that you’re never allowed to cross a double yellow line marking on the road. However, the law actually allows that when a driver is approaching a bicycle in the same lane of traffic.
The driver is required to stay behind the bicycle, maintaining a safe distance until it is safe to pass. If a driver needs to cross the center line in a “no passing zone,” they may do so if that is necessary to give the bicyclist three feet of clearance. Regardless of the situation, they should not pass until they are able to remain at least three feet away from the bicycle.
If the vehicles are approaching an intersection and the driver wants to make a right turn after passing, the bicycle must be 20 feet or more away from the intersection. Otherwise, the driver will have to wait.
Bicyclists Have More Lane Rights
The changes in the law give bicyclists more rights to use travel lanes. For instance, if they are planning to turn left, they have full use of a lane to do so and are not required to share the lane with a car.
In bicycle lanes, the law now allows bicyclists to ride next to each other so long as they can both stay within the bike lane. Cyclists traveling in groups are allowed to proceed through a stop sign together rather than stopping individually. Motorists must allow groups of up to 10 cyclists at a time to pass through the intersection together.
Safety is More Important Than Right-of-Way
Bicyclists are generally supposed to ride in the right hand part of the lane to make it easier for faster vehicles to pass, but if hazards or road conditions make that dangerous, they may ride in any part of the lane. And this highlights an important point.
Safety is the most important part of any rules of the road. If you have the right to proceed through a stop sign but a car is approaching with no sign of slowing down, you would be wise to stop even though legally you do not have to. Your rights are no match for the laws of physics.
Zweben Law Group Can Help if You are in a Bicycle Accident
If you are injured because of someone else’s reckless or negligent behavior on the road, you do have the right to seek compensation. Zweben Law Group can help ensure that you get the medical treatment you need and we can fight to help you recover for your losses. We know that even when you take all possible precautions to keep safe, accidents still happen. When they do, call on us to get you through.