Friday, July 31, 2009

10 Things Motorists Should Know About Bicycling

From Metroplan Orlando:

  1. Safety studies have consistently shown bicyclists are safest when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles. Bicyclists who drive on the roadway and obey the rules of the road for vehicles have far fewer crashes than those who behave as “pedestrians
    on wheels.”
  2. Bicycles are defined as vehicles (Florida Statute 316.003 (2)), and were so long before the automobile existed.
  3. Sidewalks are for walking. 9 out of 10 crashes between bicyclists and motorists involve
    turning and crossing conflicts. Sidewalks present many hazards, and increase conflicts with
    motorists at intersections and driveways. Bicyclists on sidewalks have the same rights and duties as pedestrians. In some places bicyclists are prohibited from traveling on sidewalks.
  4. Bicyclists are entitled to full use of a lane in many circumstances. Bicyclists are only required to keep to the far right if the lane is wide enough to share safely with a car or truck, and there are no other hazards which would make keeping right riskier for the cyclist. Bicyclists may leave the far right if they are going as fast as other traffic, to make left turns, to avoid being cut-off by turning motorists, or to avoid any other hazard (F.S. 316.2065 (5)). Motorists are required to give at least three feet of space when passing a bicyclist (F.S. 316.083 (1)), and may cross a solid yellow stripe to pass if done safely.
  5. Bicyclists should always travel with the flow of traffic, and are required to do so when on the roadway. Traveling against the flow increases a bicyclist’s crash risk four-fold. Since many bicyclists are afraid to travel on roads, you’ll often encounter them coming down the sidewalk from the “wrong” direction.
  6. The purpose of a bike lane is to make passing easier for motorists. Bicyclists may
    leave bike lanes for the same reasons they would leave the far right side of any road. Motorists turning right should move into the bike lane (after first yielding to any bicyclists) to keep cyclists from passing on the right.
  7. Bicyclists help pay for our roads, too. Gas taxes and tolls account for only about 60 percent of street and highway funding. Property taxes, sales taxes, impact fees, and other funding sources make up the other 40 percent in Florida. And of course most bicyclists also own cars and pay gas taxes.
  8. The “impeding traffic” law (F.S. 316.183 (5)) does not apply tobicyclists. (It applies only to motor vehicles.)
  9. Bicyclists are permitted to travel twoabreast unless doing so impedes traffic. However, since a solo bicyclist may command a lane if it is too narrow to safely share with a motorist, the presence of a second cyclist to the right of the first one makes little difference.
  10. Bicyclists must obey the same rules for yielding and stopping as all other drivers. Motorists should treat bicyclists who are on the roadway the same as they would treat any other driver. Don’t wave bicyclists through at an intersection if you wouldn’t do the same for another motorist.

    For more information, go to