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Old 04-16-08, 08:41 PM   #1
Kurt Erlenbach
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Orlando: There are BIKES on our roads!

Here's a stupid story that was on the news tonight. The tenor of the story is that, golly, there are bikes on our roads and we need to look out, fellas! And they're not keeping up with traffic!

WINTER PARK, Fla. -- Bicycles are popping up on Central Florida Roadways like never before.
But when bikes, cars and trucks mix, safety becomes a major issue.
Video: Deputies: Cyclists, Drivers Have Right To Road
Seminole County sheriffs said in some cases, large groups of cyclists are clogging roads, not keeping up with traffic.
They wanted the illegal behavior stopped.
Avid bikers said they often struggle blending safely with traffic, and a video from deputies encouraging cyclist and drivers safety seemed to make the rude treatment they already get on the road worse the past few days.
"They see a cyclist and they target them in many cases," cyclist Keri Caffrey said.
Bicyclists sat down with law enforcement in an effort to find a middle ground.
"It's not their right to assault a cyclist or to run a cyclist off the road because they get impatient," Lt. Pete Kelting said.
Each side left feeling they had a better understanding, and deputies want everyone in cars and trucks to be very aware that cyclists have rights.
"When conditions call for it, cyclists have the right to command the entire lane and motorists need to understand that," Kelting said.
"They can't overtake when it's not safe, and if there's oncoming traffic they can't just squeeze through," Caffrey said.
Both cyclists and motorists have legal right to the road, and if people break the laws, officers will be handing out tickets if necessary to make sure everyone is safe.
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Old 04-16-08, 08:55 PM   #2
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Goodness no! Let's pass them illegally!
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Old 04-17-08, 03:22 AM   #3
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you have to admit those guys were riding like total doooshbags... the one guy was all the way across the yellow line? c'mon... makin' us all look bad.
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Old 04-17-08, 05:34 AM   #4
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motorists have legal right to the road,.
Nice to know if I ever loose my driver's license, that I have a right to drive a car in Florida.
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Old 04-17-08, 05:39 AM   #5
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WHy do cops take the videos, instead of writing tickets? Why not stop that group of j2ck2sses in the video and write them a couple dozen tickets? And any of them resist? Toss them in the cop car and the bike into the weeds. After that maybe next time they'll stop at stop signs.
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Old 04-17-08, 07:02 AM   #6
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you have to admit those guys were riding like total doooshbags... the one guy was all the way across the yellow line? c'mon... makin' us all look bad.
If you look at the video, he's in a left-turn only lane and he signalled a left turn before breaking away from the group. I suspect he's turning left there and leaving the group. Of course, the cops had to edit out that part.

I can't condone the group that ran the stop sign, but beyond that I didn't see much that would make for tickets that would stand up. Florida has a 3-foot passing distance for cyclists, and a strict prohibition on crossing the double yellow, so on the roads they show it wouldn't be legal to pass even a lone cyclist riding right.

My beef is that the cops and the reporter have chosen to flame emotion and spread misinformation by insinuating that this behavior is illegal, rather than telling the true story, which is that there is no law against large bike rides.
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Old 04-17-08, 07:21 AM   #7
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If you look at the video, he's in a left-turn only lane and he signalled a left turn before breaking away from the group. I suspect he's turning left there and leaving the group. Of course, the cops had to edit out that part.

I can't condone the group that ran the stop sign, but beyond that I didn't see much that would make for tickets that would stand up. Florida has a 3-foot passing distance for cyclists, and a strict prohibition on crossing the double yellow, so on the roads they show it wouldn't be legal to pass even a lone cyclist riding right.

My beef is that the cops and the reporter have chosen to flame emotion and spread misinformation by insinuating that this behavior is illegal, rather than telling the true story, which is that there is no law against large bike rides.
You took the words right out of my mouth. In the initial report about the video the police say that the cyclists should have yielded to the motorists behind them. How in the world are 20 or 30 cyclists supposed to safely pull off the road on a 45 mph road and let traffic go by. The cops say the cyclists have a right to the road but at the same time say they must yield to other traffic on the road. Which is it? It is they have a right to the road so unless they run another stop sign, leave them alone and let them excerise thier rights.
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Old 04-17-08, 08:47 AM   #8
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[QUOTE=maddyfish;6533849]WHy do cops take the videos, instead of writing tickets? Why not stop that group of j2ck2sses in the video and write them a couple dozen tickets? And any of them resist? Toss them in the cop car and the bike into the weeds. After that maybe next time they'll stop at stop signs.[/QUOTE]

I have a modest proposal, just cut off a cyclists head and mount it on the patrol car's antena as a warning to cyclists. I think that reasonable, don't you?
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Old 04-17-08, 02:15 PM   #9
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It did look like he was turning left to me as well.

SAn Rensho- I just think the answer to these problems is to write tickets. Instead of cops whining to the press and too city councils and such. A few expensive tickets would take care of this garbage.

I have asked my local police to write tickets to the local race ride that ignores all traffic law.
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Old 04-17-08, 06:46 PM   #10
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SAn Rensho- I just think the answer to these problems is to write tickets. Instead of cops whining to the press and too city councils and such. A few expensive tickets would take care of this garbage.

I have asked my local police to write tickets to the local race ride that ignores all traffic law.
My problems with that are law enforcement officers who do not know our rights to use the full lane or to leave the bike lane to make a left turn, as well as zero tolerance Nazis who figure a cyclist has not stopped unless he/she has put a foot (or two) down. I am all for reasonable law enforcement, but I have seen too much extremism.
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Old 04-17-08, 06:48 PM   #11
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I can't disagree with tickets for illegal conduct on the road -- in fact, there should be more! When did the 'don't sweat the small stuff' attitude take over as far as traffic laws go? I'm sure almost everyone has said or thought, "Why are you stopping ME, when you could be out busting drug dealers?"

I was also under the impression (FL cyclists, correct me if I'm wrong) that riding two abreast was legal, three+ isn't, and isn't there something about going single file under certain conditions? Pulling off, though...nah. Not happ'nin.

It's bothered me a little over the last couple of New Year's Day events here at home (Chilly Challenge, Jan 1 open ride, watch the Polar Bears dunk themselves), when on the ride, seeing the large group I'm in just roll stop signs like it Critical Mass or something; I had to go with it or get dropped, btw....
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Old 04-17-08, 06:51 PM   #12
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I
I was also under the impression (FL cyclists, correct me if I'm wrong) that riding two abreast was legal, three+ isn't, and isn't there something about going single file under certain conditions? Pulling off, though...nah. Not happ'nin.
Two abreast legal until being approached from behind by faster vehicle, then its
single up. Pulling off is the law when being approached from behind by an
emergency vehicle or police car that is lit up.
If a cop wants to, they can cite you for improper following distance, too.....
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Old 04-17-08, 06:53 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kerlenbach
... motorists have legal right to the road ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by maddyfish
Nice to know if I ever loose my driver's license, that I have a right to drive a car in Florida.
We all have a right to use public facilities (roadways). We do NOT have a right to operate motor vehicles on those roadways. That requires the priviledge/license to do so. Your driver's license is granted by a state to you for the "priviledge" of operating a motor vehicle on the public roadways you have a right to use.

So, unfortunately, you do not have the "right" to drive a car in Florida ...

BTW, Kerlenbach, I used to live in Brevard Co. I get Winter Park, Winter Garden, and Winter Haven mixed up. Which one is Winter Park again??
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Old 04-17-08, 07:10 PM   #14
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Trike

Try riding a Catrike in Orlando, or anywhere else in Florida. I have something like 10K on DF and recumbents here and find Florida to be a pretty unfriendly place, although a lot less hassle on my recumbent.

NNY
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Old 04-17-08, 07:14 PM   #15
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Winter Park is north of Orlando
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Old 04-17-08, 07:30 PM   #16
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Two abreast legal until being approached from behind by faster vehicle, then its
single up. Pulling off is the law when being approached from behind by an
emergency vehicle or police car that is lit up.
If a cop wants to, they can cite you for improper following distance, too.....
Do you have the laws in front of you? Two abreast is generally legal unless impeding traffic, i.e. if the lane is narrow and a motorist would need to change lanes to pass anyway, two abreast is fine. Pulling off the roadway is generally a requirement if the slow moving vehicle driver is impeding the normal flow of traffic, usually quantified as 3-5 vehicles backed up behind the slow driver. Pulling off the roadway is only required when there exists a safe place to do so though (in my understanding, that means a paved shoulder or cross street/driveway to turn onto).
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Old 04-17-08, 07:57 PM   #17
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Do you have the laws in front of you? Two abreast is generally legal unless impeding traffic, i.e. if the lane is narrow and a motorist would need to change lanes to pass anyway, two abreast is fine. Pulling off the roadway is generally a requirement if the slow moving vehicle driver is impeding the normal flow of traffic, usually quantified as 3-5 vehicles backed up behind the slow driver. Pulling off the roadway is only required when there exists a safe place to do so though (in my understanding, that means a paved shoulder or cross street/driveway to turn onto).
This is correct. The SO was initially trying to make the cyclists ride single on the far right to let cars pass, but the lanes are 10 - 11 feet wide. They've been set straight.
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Old 04-17-08, 08:09 PM   #18
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Do you have the laws in front of you? Two abreast is generally legal unless impeding traffic, i.e. if the lane is narrow and a motorist would need to change lanes to pass anyway, two abreast is fine.

We had a thread about this just a couple of days ago. Florida law says, "Persons riding two abreast may not impede traffic when traveling at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing and shall ride within a single lane."

Florida law requires that motorists allow at least three feet clearance when passing a bicycle, and does not allow operators to cross a double yellow line. I do not believe it would be legal to pass a bicycle on any of the roads shown in the video. Since it is not legal to pass, riding two abreast doesn't impede traffic.

Looking at the size of some of those packs, I don't see any way that they could array themselves where they could be easily passed.

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Pulling off the roadway is generally a requirement if the slow moving vehicle driver is impeding the normal flow of traffic, usually quantified as 3-5 vehicles backed up behind the slow driver. Pulling off the roadway is only required when there exists a safe place to do so though (in my understanding, that means a paved shoulder or cross street/driveway to turn onto).
I wouldn't say "generally." Laws like this seem to be common in the West, less common in the East. I believe that California is the only state where this type of law applies to non-motorized vehicles.
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Old 04-17-08, 08:32 PM   #19
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I wouldn't say "generally." Laws like this seem to be common in the West, less common in the East. I believe that California is the only state where this type of law applies to non-motorized vehicles.
From PA vehicle code:

§ 3364. Minimum speed regulation.
(a) Impeding movement of traffic prohibited.--Except when reduced speed is necessary for safe
operation or in compliance with law, no person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to
impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.
(b) Slow moving vehicle to drive off roadway.--Except when reduced speed is necessary for safe
operation or in compliance with law, whenever any person drives a vehicle upon a roadway having
width for not more than one lane of traffic in each direction at less than the maximum posted speed
and at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, the driver shall,
at the first opportunity when and where it is reasonable and safe to do so and after giving appropriate
signal, drive completely off the roadway and onto the berm or shoulder of the highway. The driver
may return to the roadway after giving appropriate signal only when the movement can be made in
safety and so as not to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.


From DE vehicle code:

§ 4125. Turning off roadway by slow-moving vehicle.

On a 2-lane highway where passing is unsafe because of traffic in the opposite direction or other conditions, a slow-moving vehicle, behind which 5 or more vehicles are formed in line, shall turn off the roadway wherever sufficient area for a safe turnout exists, in order to permit the vehicles following to proceed. As used in this section, a slow-moving vehicle is one which is proceeding at a rate of speed less than the normal flow of traffic at the particular time and place. (60 Del. Laws, c. 701, § 24.)


In both vehicle codes, the reference is made to "slow moving vehicles" turning off the roadway which would include cyclists moving at less than the speed of traffic. I believe New Jersey has a similar law as well but PA and DE are the only vehicle codes I have handy at the moment. The only "impeding traffic law" that I've seen that applies solely to motor vehicles is (a) from the PA code (similar laws exist in many other states).
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Old 04-17-08, 08:49 PM   #20
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OK, you got me.
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Old 04-17-08, 09:41 PM   #21
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Bob Mionske argues in his book, rather convincingly, that cyclists, being traffic, can never impede traffic, but that is theory and does not echo the practicalities of everyday riding.
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Old 04-17-08, 10:41 PM   #22
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I second Bek, if there are fifty cyclists together going 15 mph, that is the speed of traffic at that time and place and the motorists need to slow down..
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Old 04-18-08, 03:34 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
Do you have the laws in front of you? Two abreast is generally legal unless impeding traffic, i.e. if the lane is narrow and a motorist would need to change lanes to pass anyway, two abreast is fine. Pulling off the roadway is generally a requirement if the slow moving vehicle driver is impeding the normal flow of traffic, usually quantified as 3-5 vehicles backed up behind the slow driver. Pulling off the roadway is only required when there exists a safe place to do so though (in my understanding, that means a paved shoulder or cross street/driveway to turn onto).
This was explained very concisely in a Town Meeting I attended in another thread
dealing with trying to get control over the Rogue-ies in Jupiter Island. The number
of the statute is in that thread and as I mentioned, a policeman who claimed to be
a roadie himself explained this stuff.
All Florida laws were explained and the way the police interprited them(?).
Sort of weird was that some huge bicycling org. in FL has a handbook published
and their interpritation of the laws are different than what the police are. I forgot what
the org's name was but they say that slowing to a crawl to go through a stop sign is
OK in Fl. in one instance of stuff the cop said was wrong.
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Old 04-18-08, 05:08 AM   #24
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I second Bek, if there are fifty cyclists together going 15 mph, that is the speed of traffic at that time and place and the motorists need to slow down..
I'd, too, agree that 50 cyclists on the road together would constitute the speed of traffic at that time and place. I, however, do not agree that a single cyclist cannot impede traffic as Bob Mionske has argued. Any vehicle can impede traffic provided they meet the requirements of the minimum speed law. A single vehicle can impede traffic. The law, in some states, is very clear about this.

The Selz case where this argument was upheld (that traffic cannot impede traffic) happened on a multilane roadway. In that specific situation, traffic, per the law, cannot be impeded as there is always an available same direction passing lane.
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Old 04-18-08, 06:10 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
From PA vehicle code:

§ 3364. Minimum speed regulation.
(a) Impeding movement of traffic prohibited.--Except when reduced speed is necessary for safe
operation or in compliance with law, no person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to
impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.
(b) Slow moving vehicle to drive off roadway.--Except when reduced speed is necessary for safe
operation or in compliance with law, whenever any person drives a vehicle upon a roadway having
width for not more than one lane of traffic in each direction at less than the maximum posted speed
and at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, the driver shall,
at the first opportunity when and where it is reasonable and safe to do so and after giving appropriate
signal, drive completely off the roadway and onto the berm or shoulder of the highway. The driver
may return to the roadway after giving appropriate signal only when the movement can be made in
safety and so as not to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.


From DE vehicle code:

§ 4125. Turning off roadway by slow-moving vehicle.

On a 2-lane highway where passing is unsafe because of traffic in the opposite direction or other conditions, a slow-moving vehicle, behind which 5 or more vehicles are formed in line, shall turn off the roadway wherever sufficient area for a safe turnout exists, in order to permit the vehicles following to proceed. As used in this section, a slow-moving vehicle is one which is proceeding at a rate of speed less than the normal flow of traffic at the particular time and place. (60 Del. Laws, c. 701, § 24.)


In both vehicle codes, the reference is made to "slow moving vehicles" turning off the roadway which would include cyclists moving at less than the speed of traffic. I believe New Jersey has a similar law as well but PA and DE are the only vehicle codes I have handy at the moment. The only "impeding traffic law" that I've seen that applies solely to motor vehicles is (a) from the PA code (similar laws exist in many other states).
The key phrases in the statutes you cite are "Except when reduced speed is necessary for safe
operation" and "such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic"
and "wherever sufficient area for a safe turnout exists"

I certainly wouldn't consider it safe to ride my road bike on a gravel shoulder unless it was an extreme emergency. I wouldn't consider 5 cars waiting to pass an extreme emergency.

Just because some cars have to wait does not mean the normal and reasonable flow of traffic is impeded. The normal and reasonable flow of traffic is slowed or stopped by any manner of things which don't require one to leave the roadway. Ever make a left hand turn on a 2 lane road? I've done it and been there quite a while and had way more than 5 cars stacked up behind me. Should I have to pull off onto the gravel and wait for half an hour for traffic to clear to try and make my turn? How about when school busses stop to drop off or pick up kids, are they such an impedement to trafffic that they should have to pull off onto the gravel shoulder?

If a cyclist is going as fast as they reasonably can, they have a right to be on the roadway. Read Trotwood v Selz it talks about this very issue.
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