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Florida Law Regarding Passing Bicyclists

By Orlando Personal Injury Attorney on February 21, 2014

Our Orlando personal injury attorneys fully support any measures that make Florida roadways safer for everyone, especially bicyclists, pedestrians and other non-motorized traffic. While bike lanes, pedestrian crossings, public awareness campaigns and other substantive safety measures have been implemented in recent years, educating the public about road safety may be the most substantive measure of all. To that end, here is a brief post about an important but little-known Florida law intended to help drivers and bicyclists safely share the road.

The law, which was passed in 2006, states:

F.S. 316.083 – Overtaking and Passing a Vehicle

The following rules shall govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction, subject to those limitations, exceptions, and special rules hereinafter stated:

(1) The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction…shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance, and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle.

The driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle must pass the bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle at a safe distance of not less than 3 feet between the vehicle and the bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle.

The “three feet law” seems fairly straightforward, but not all Florida roadways are wide enough to safely accommodate a vehicle and a bicycle with three additional feet of space.

According to Florida bicycle law, when riding on “substandard-width lanes,” bicyclists are entitled to use the whole lane, but bicyclists are encouraged to ride on the right part of the lane so that motorized traffic may pass them when traffic and other conditions allow. Florida law also says that bicyclists must maintain no less than two feet of clearance from the edge of usable pavement. The law states that bicyclists riding on narrow lanes should ride as far right as practicable, meaning that riders should adjust their position according to the means and circumstances present at any given time.

These and other laws written for drivers and bicyclists are meant to illustrate the responsibilities that each party has when sharing the road but they can be confusing and often seem contradictory. This is why many riders injured in bicycle accidents rely on Orlando bicycle accident lawyers, such as Mr. Cunningham. He can explain the law as it applies to the prospective client’s situation and provide insight on which course of legal action, if any, will be best for them. If you are injured in a bicycle accident and would like to schedule a free consultation with him, call him today at 877-FL-INJURY (877-354-6587).

James O. Cunningham

James O. CunninghamSince 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.

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