I don't get the point of all this; it will not change the minds of those that hate cyclists. I wonder how much money they are spending on this?
And if a cop sees you riding down the road slowing traffic he can still cite you. Unless the law has changed, has it?
Current law: http://www.delcode.delaware.gov/title21/c041/sc12/
§ 4196. Position on roadway.
(a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand edge of the roadway except under any of the following circumstances:
(1) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
(2) When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway;
(3) When proceeding straight in a right-turn-only lane; or
(4) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions including, but not limited to fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards or substandard width lanes that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand edge of roadway. For purposes of this section, a "substandard width lane" is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.
(b) Any person operating a bicycle upon a one-way highway with 2 or more marked traffic lanes and a posted speed limit of less than 30 miles per hour may ride as near the left-hand edge of such roadway as practicable.
(c) Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than 2 abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles. Persons riding 2 abreast shall not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic and, on a laned roadway, shall ride within a single lane.
(d) Any person operating a bicycle may ride upon a paved shoulder with due regard for any traffic control devices intended to regulate or guide traffic or pedestrians.
21 Del. C. 1953, § 4194; 54 Del. Laws, c. 160, § 1; 66 Del. Laws, c. 167, § 2; 78 Del. Laws, c. 206, §§ 1, 2.;
Thankfully that sort of aggressive squeeze play has never happened to me. The biggest problem I face is the #1 set of diagrams (full lane change to pass) while another car is obviously oncoming such that the other car has to slow WAY down or even pull over slightly because of the idiot passing me in the oncoming lane. Then the oncoming car usually honks their horn at ME.
Unless the state law specifically specifies otherwise by FDOT regulations any lane that is not at least 14-foot wide is "a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane".
At least where I am up here in MT lanes anywhere other then the Interstate Freeways that are 14-foot or wider are the extreme rarity. Thus making my state's FRAP law subject to this exception almost all the time (MT law lists same exception and does not define in state code exactly how wide that is).
So basically the exception to the law is the norm. Which the basic result is that the law being only in effect without the exception on such few rare roads with lanes that wide serves mainly as a way to harass cyclists and encourage motorists entitlement mindset and having people like me have to continually explain this fact over and over both out of an in court. I've was given a "failure to FRAP" tickets for riding in the right lane of a five lane, two lanes each direction, middle turning lane roadway that has absolutely no shoulder edges but rather sharp curb edge in-town with 25-speed limit while I was going 20+ on my bike in narrow lanes that were barely 8-foot wide and where I pointed out to the cop that the cruiser he was driving took up the entire lane width with its mirrors and that if I were to try to share the lane with him if he moved to the far left edge of the lane with his tires riding the dashed white line between the fast and slow lanes and his left mirror sticking into the fast lane I would have only slightly more then a foot of width between his right mirror and the curb edge for me and my bike to fit into and had a printout copy of the law in my back-pack and showed it to him and pointed out the exact wording and he still wrote me the ticket and I had to mess with the hassle of taking it into court and then when I put him on the stand and asked him about what I had shown him on the scene and how wide his cruiser was in the lane and how much room I would have he refused to answer the questions and took the fifth !!!
You need to actually read that law and consider each one of the possible exceptions very carefully and understand its full implication. By the time you are done it would surprise me very much if you didn't realize that the exceptions are the rule more often then the rule !!!
The folks opposed to FRAP laws are VERY opposed to them and have been for a long time. OTOH- I agree with others that it's much ado about nothing. I'd rather that we put effort into preventing passage of more "must use" laws relating to bicycle specific amenities.
I was stopped by cops twice in my lifetime over lane position. In one case, I explained my reasoning to the cop; pavement at the edge, and a double line on a short steep hill, and he immediately understood and agreed that it made sense. The other went to traffic court, where I explained that as I understood the law, as "captain of my ship" and it my decision about what was safe and "practicable". I explained my thinking, and the judge asked the cop how many cars were delayed behind me and for how long -- 2 cars for under a minute, convinced the judge that I was reasonable, case dismissed.
In many ways I'd like to see FRAP replaced with a clear shared use law where violations would be based on effect, similar to the laws some mountain states have whereby slow moving cars and trucks must create passing opportunities when they accumulate too long a train behind them.
However, seeing the conduct of militant cyclists, I'm concerned that easing of FRAP will only encourage bad "I have rights to the road, so tough" conduct, and in the long term make things worse than they are now.
Saw this on my FB feed yesterday, excellent article about how FRAP laws are nothing but discriminatory to cyclists and how the burden is placed on us to prove that not riding FRAP is in fact safer, which is different than pretty much every other traffic law in the books.
Could you suggest better language for the law that covers all conceivable situations? If you got more specific it would be unreadable, unenforceable and even more useless. But please, jot down some proposed code for forum comment, it should be a lively discussion.
I agree with what you had to say there a great deal. I personally think that current FRAP laws with their exceptions and understood fully and properly are not by any means "asking too much" or an undo burden. Quite frankly on high speed roads I strongly prefer to get entirely out of the main traffic lanes and shoulder edge ride to the right of the white line. Problem is not all such roads have decent shoulder edges of sufficient width or pavement condition to be considered ride-able. Heck some roads have less then 6" of pavement to the right of the white line and then a sharp drop off into the ditch and the lane is just barely wide enough for cars much less car and bike side by side.
I also agree that the "mandatory cycle infrastructure use" laws are a serious problem. Most of the ones I've had to deal with are local ordinance and thankfully by MT state law the only local ordinance concerning bicycle traffic that is permissible is whether or not bicycles are allowed to use the sidewalk, they are always allowed to use the road. Some locals though aren't aware of this fact concerning MT state law that they aren't allowed to make those local ordinances. There is long term danger though that such a mandatory cycle path (or lane) use law could be put through at the state level. There has already been one try I know of that didn't make it out of committee for a law mandating side-path and side-walk use when available.
Basically as far as I have seen if you build bicycle infrastructure correctly people will want to use it, if you got a bunch of cyclists refusing to use it and you have to make a law requiring them to do so, that should tell you something about how bad of a job you did on that infrastructure.
As to the FRAP law itself. I say rewrite it to be clearer and worded the other way.
(1) Bicycles as road legal vehicles may use a full lane and are not strictly mandated to yield to faster vehicles overtaking from behind but rather faster overtaking vehicles shall perform any passing maneuver safely.
(2) However, when a bicycle rider is traveling at a speed both at least 25% less then the posted speed limit and less then other vehicle traffic. As road conditions periodically allow an opportunity for the bicycle rider to move to the side sufficiently to allow faster overtaking vehicles to pass safely while still continuing to safely and effectively travel themselves they shall do so out of common courtesy for other road users.
(3) Such periodic conditions may include but are not limited too:
----- (i) Where an abnormally wide lane width is available allowing sufficient width for both the bicycle and an overtaking motor vehicle to travel side-by-side within the lane with safe clearance of at least 3-feet between them.
----- (ii) Where a paved shoulder edge is available to the right of the white line that in the bicycle riders own judgment is of sufficient width and surface condition to be safely and effectively used by them as a travel surface.
(4) This provisions shall not be construed to mean that a bicycle rider is forbidden from making needful maneuvers safely as normal for any other vehicle or that they are required to marginalize their own safety or ability to effectively travel, only that they SHALL show this courtesy to other road users WITHOUT FAIL when the opportunity arises.
I would also suggest that for those people who decide to be a total @$$ just because they think they can get away with it and try to block up other vehicle traffic on their bikes for no good reason and would be in violation of that statutes wording that judges could get very creative with the repercussions. Like locking them in a room with only one single user bathroom with another person who always jumps into the bathroom and pretends to use it when they need it so they can't get in even though the other person doesn't actually have to do that and is just doing it to block them from using it and do that until they finally mess their pants because the have to go so bad.
It's one thing to "take the lane" when you need to do so or when your already moving just as fast, nearly as fast, or faster then the other vehicles. It's entirely different thing to do it when you don't have to and your just trying to tick other people off.
Probably would have problems in the real world with wording it like that but I think you all get the idea and most people with half a brain would as well after reading the law worded like that. Basically, you've got the right but when you can safely be nice to other people by getting over then for goodness sake DO SO and don't be an @$$ !!!
I kinda' like the wording found on page 105 of the current Tennessee Comprehensive Driving Manual (the state produced guidebook/study guide for passing the written portion of the DL test)
Lane Positions for Bicycles
Bicyclists are required to ride as far right in the lane as
possible only when a car and a bicycle, side by side, can safely
share the lane.
Even then, there are certain times when a
bicycle can take the full lane.
A bicyclist should be allowed full use of the
• The rider is overtaking and passing
another vehicle going in the same
• If the lane is marked and signed for bicycle use only, drivers must
NEVER use this lane as a turning lane, passing lane
or for parking.
• There are unsafe conditions in the roadway, such as
parked cares, moving vehicles or machinery, fixed
obstacles, pedestrians, animals, potholes or debris.
• The lane is too narrow for both a care and a bicycle to
safely share the lane. In this case it is safest to let the
bicycle take the full lane.
The only problem I have with that kind of wording is the part about cars not using the bicycle lane as a turning lane. I strongly prefer cars to safely merge over to the right into the cycle lane or more commonly in my area the shoulder edge I'm using as a cycle lane and then make their turn. It helps prevent right hooks that result not so much from fault on the part of the motorists but rather from cyclists trying to pass right turning cars on the right. It's not just cars that some times need to be prevented from making stupid dangerous passes. Sometimes cyclists try to make stupid dangerous passes as well and the cure for both is the same. Namely "taking the lane" and just as a bike sometimes needs to take the lane to prevent cars from making unsafe passes (usually on the left) sometimes a car preparing for a right turn needs to "take the lane" with the bike lane to prevent cyclists from making unsafe passes on the right.
Pretty good effort Turbo, but that has the same problem of not clearly defined language as the original highly criticized actual regulation. That was my point. The interpretation of traffic regs are and always will be in the view of a police officer, and then subject to review and correction by a judge. terms such as when necessary (who decides), less than other vehicle traffic -all traffic, some, mean or median speed, averaging distance, so on. ITs a endless snakes den that can only be resolved by the pertinent LEO at the scene. There is no better way.
I quoted the portion out of the Driver's manual in its entirety and it does reflect the current state law on that issue.
However and oddly enough; I've noticed many instances were the actual implementation alludes to using the bike lane as turn lane (as you described). The left lane dividing line will cease to be a solid line and become hash lines just prior to a cross street. Which to me, indicates that it can be crossed. Here's a link to google street maps with one example that I pass every day
Point I was trying to make is that the proper way to write a FRAP law is to first clearly state that bicycle riders can take the lane when necessary and then state as the exception when they should edge ride in order to be respectful of other road users as well.
Current FRAP laws have it @$$ backwards and it shows in how they are interpreted and implemented. If "take the lane" is acknowledged by the law as normal and FRAP is the exception that is done when possible to be respectful of other road users it corrects the whole problem with the "guilty until you can prove you meet one of the exceptions" problem with the current FRAP laws.
Well, all I can say to all this is that I'm a happycamper WRT my cycling law here in Florida, which is much like Delaware. I don't get wrapped around the axle over the term "Share the Road". We have them (signs) all over the place down here.
I've been a commuter cyclist for over 25 years and I just don't see the problem with FRAP laws. http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/...0316.2065.html
1. Motorists don't know or care about the exceptions
Motorists believe FRAP includes sidewalks
2. Many police don't know the exceptions
3. Most DelDOT planners don't believe the exceptions
(They've told me motorists don't have to yield to bicyclists)
4. In local bike lanes, DelDOT routes right turning motorists to the left of bicyclists going straight
(Bicyclists should be FRAP; it's not a coffin corner since bicyclists must stop & yield to turning motorists)
5. New bike lanes may be marked 18 - 30 inches from curb if DelDOT needs wider lanes
(Yes, These are marked bike lanes)
Other than these, no problems with FRAP. Cyclists I know that have been cited have had citations overturned on appeal (JP court judges don't believe exceptions either), so police don't see the bicyclist's legal bills as a problem.
I agree that changing FRAP laws is not a battle I would choose right now. Once any changes are proposed, other changes are often introduced in the process that are as bad as the problem being fixed. I do think FRAP is a problem (it is enforced determining fault in collisions- it's not "nothing") but it's not one we can fix at this time.
I agree with fighting any mandatory use laws; I'd also support educating law enforcement. Fortunately, no specific state laws exist or are proposed in DE. DelDOT says bike lanes are mandatory when riding at less than speed of traffic etc. and quotes normal FRAP law independent of facilities, so presumably legal exceptions apply to facilities too. (There is no mention of bicycle facilities in the DE state code that I can find).
I'm not clear on mandatory use for the bike lanes to the right of RTOL lanes I've seen (not unusual here); from experience I think it will depend on any individual officers involved. Some officers I've spoken to understand exceptions to FRAP, others deny any exceptions exist
YMMV will vary with city laws and city police - some towns have bicycle specific restrictions that contradict state law. Again, enforcement will vary by individual officer.
The problem I have with the term "militant" is that the local advocacy groups consider any bicyclist that doesn't like door zone bike lanes or bike lanes to the right of RTOL onto Interstates "militant". I just want to ride without getting doored or right hooked, even at ramps on to I-95 or I-76 (in PA). I find it sad that this is considered militant and offensive to bicyclists (and suspect this may not be what you mean by "militant").
From the link I posted:
Originally Posted by Commute Orlando
Google maps link here: https://www.google.com/maps?ll=48.20...02642&t=h&z=19
The narrow shoulder/gutter area to the right of the white line is officially marked as a bicycle lane and is routed to the right of the right hand turn lane. It is indeed "screwed up" and when I ride that street (not very often) I take a line where I ride in the extreme left part of the right hand turn lane when going straight through and if I'm turning right there I "take the lane" in the right hand turn lane. Right hand turn traffic will try to run you down on that corner if you stay in the bike lane even when your turning right as well because your turning into a narrow road with no bike lane so you will get squeezed off the road to the right at best and non-best case scenario they cut the corner tight like they are NASCAR and run you down right on the corner.
The gutter bike lanes on that street (both sides) are very much bad bike lanes that are designed to marginalize cyclists and "get them the hell out of the road and preferably the hell out of the sight of motorists" rather then to provide them a better safer alternative (which pretty much seems to be the dominant political position in that town much to my annoyance including the cops in that town which I've had more then one run in with). I will use the one on the north bound side at my own discretion taking a proper line across that right turn spot and taking the lane several times at several other right hand turn spots to prevent right hooks and only religiously stay in that bike lane while climbing the big hill on the very north end of that road because it slows me down so much. On the south bound side, I take the lane period, no exceptions. Where it's only one lane its downhill and I'm going the 30-mph speed limit or more and after 3-Mile Drive swoops in at the bottom of the hill and it goes to two lanes south bound then I take the lane in the slow lane. Especially since everyone sticks their garbage cans out for collection in the bike lane on that side of the road so you have to constantly jump in and out of it even if you wanted to use that narrow trashy storm grate littered gutter bike lane on that side.
The correct way to set-up the bike lanes on that road would have been to not have any bike lane on the south bound side and move all the lines on the road over that 2-feet or so and add that width to the bike lane on the other side where there is only one lane north bound the whole way and it goes up that steep hill to make a nice 3-4 foot wide bike line not including the gutter width to the right of it with all the storm grates and junk in it and then properly route the bike lane to the left of the right hand turn lane that goes into Wyoming St. and put up caution signs warning motorists to yield to cyclists in the bike lane when making right hand turns on the other streets and private drive-way parking lot entrances where there is no right hand turn lane under penalty of felony vehicular assault prosecution if they fail to do so.
The only bike lane infrastructure I know of in that town (Kalispell, MT) that they correctly routed to the left of the right hand turn lane is the intersection of US-93 S. and 18th St. E. on the south end of the main city center of that town and the only reason I think that was done correctly is because its a major national highway and it wasn't under the city's control how it was done. Every other piece of bicycle infrastructure with the exception of the Great Northern Rail Trail between Kalispell, MT and Kila, MT is "screwed up" and I believe deliberately so in that city. They also have a very much "get off the road", "get on the sidewalk (even when there isn't a side-walk)", "every time a car hits a bike its the bikes fault for being in the way" culture in their city police department.
Slime of the earth.
Some intersections have Right Turn Yield to Bicycles, but many (most?) do not. Even at many of those that do, the Yield to Bikes sign is hidden until the drivers are right at the sign and the turn (see 1st photo above).
Many of these combined straight/right turn lanes (Marsh Road, Philadelphia Pike) used to be RTOL lanes at major intersections (Silverside Road, Governor Printz Blvd).
I don't see how adding the bike lane can reduce the number of drivers turning right (high enough to justify previous RTOL lane), so the idea of going straight to the right of the right turn arrow makes me far more uncomfortable than riding in the lane ever did.
Considering that the right turn lanes in question are not "right turn ONLY" but are either straight through or right turn that actually isn't too bad. When the straight through bike lane is to the right of a "right turn ONLY" lane that is what is really, really, really a stupid design.
Although I did note that it appears in the distance that this bike lane becomes a door zone bike lane further up the road (white car parked to the right of the bike lane, or is that a right turn ONLY lane that car is moving in further up the road?). Door zone bike lanes are 100% unacceptable to me in every way, as are straight through bike lanes to the right of right turn ONLY main traffic lanes. That isn't a right turn ONLY lane though so although I would not call it ideal I don't consider that unacceptable.
If it were me designing that road I would just put in three "half lanes" in place of both the bike lane and the right main traffic lane with dashed lanes in-between them with signs saying "Bikes use a half-lane, Cars straddle two half lanes." and mark the right half lane as right turn only, the left half lane as straight through only, and the middle half lane as straight through or right turn. Car wishing to take right turn thus is directed to straddle the two right most half lanes leaving the left straight through half lane open for straight through cyclists if they wish to pass the right turning car and also directs cyclists not turning right but going straight through not to use the right most lane and put themselves in position to be right-hooked.