In the summer of 2009 the City Of Miami ran a bicycle safety ad campaign on bus shelters throughout the city. The public service ads informed motorists about the "3-Feet Law", that "Bikes May Use Full Lane", and for cyclists to "Always Use Lights At Night". The campaign was welcomed by cyclists who finally felt acknowledged by the local government. However, in recent months a few cyclists have received citations for doing exactly what one of those ads advised, using the full lane. I have obtained a traffic citation which was recently issued in Little Havana for violation of Florida Statute 316.2065 (5), during this particular incident the cyclist was instructed to "move to the right or get on the sidewalk". Really?
Using the full lane when allowed is one of the safest practices for cyclists, it prevents too-close in-lane passing and right hook turns. Also, cyclists riding past parallel-parked cars should maintain a clearance of 4 feet to avoid risk of collision with an opening car door. Below is an example of the actual road where the ticket was issued with an illustration of where the cyclist was riding. The cyclist was using the full right lane on a one-way three-lane road with on-street parking and a 30 mph speed limit.
Informing cyclists that "Bikes May Use Full Lane" only to have police berate them can be very disconcerting. Miami claims it is committed to becoming a Bicycle Friendly City by 2012, yet in 2010 cyclists are receiving citations and advised to ride on the sidewalk and/or gutter. Miami will never be a safe place to ride a bicycle if cyclists continue to be wrongfully punished for riding their bicycles by those who uphold the law.
Email Collin Worth at firstname.lastname@example.org (305) 416-1022 and ask him what the City of Miami is doing to educate law enforcement, because if they don't understand bicycle laws how can we expect motorists to.
Florida Statute 316.2065 Bicycle regulations.
(5)(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 curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:
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 reasonably necessary to avoid any condition, including, but not limited to, a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, bicycle, pedestrian, animal, surface hazard, or substandard-width lane, that makes it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge. For the purposes of this subsection, a "substandard-width lane" is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.
(b) Any person operating a bicycle upon a one-way highway with two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of such roadway as practicable.
Download the Florida Bicycle Law Enforcement Guide