Cyclists Win Landmark Ruling vs Florida DOT
Florida cyclists are cheering the news today that the State Department of Transportation is, according to a ruling of the First District Court of Appeals, unambiguously obligated “to establish bicycle and pedestrian ways in conjunction with the construction, reconstruction, or other change of any state transportation facilities.”
The ruling goes on to say that bicycle and pedestrian ways shall be established “unless the Department exercises its discretion not to establish [them]” according to one of three conditions described in the statutes, and that the “Department’s discretion is limited.”
The ruling arises out a lawsuit brought by Palm Beach cyclist Bruce Rosenzweig, the Boca Raton Bicycle Club, and the League of American Bicyclists, in response to the failure of the Florida DOT to follow the agency’s own policies and manuals in the reconstruction of State Route A1A in Palm Beach County .
“We are delighted that the Court has vindicated our position,” said Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists. “From this day forward, the Florida DOT has very limited discretion in determining when NOT to accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians in roadway projects.”
The ruling also affirms the standing of individual cyclists and cycling clubs across the state to challenge the failure of the DOT to follow state statutes in upcoming roadway projects. However, on a technicality, the reconstruction of parts of State Route A1A will still go ahead without provision of bicycle lanes.
“We are discussing our options for appeal and legal clarification with our extraordinary legal team of Akerman Senterfitt and Silverman Cosgrove & Sammataro”, concluded Clarke. “First, however, we are celebrating an important victory for the safety of cyclists in Florida and the nation.”