Friday, February 12, 2010

Letter to Pasco County Sheriff's Office

It's no secret that the rolling hills of Pasco County outside San Antonio and Dade City offer some of the best cycling venues in Florida. Hundreds of Tampa Bay bicyclists flock to these scenic hills every weekend. The Pasco County sheriff's office deputies know about cyclists on these roads, too.

I understand deputies recently had a little chat with cyclists at the San Antonio parking lot. And Randy Myhre of SWFBUD member bicycle store Oliver's Cycle Sports tells me several USF racing team members side-by-side in double pace lines were cited by a sheriff's deputy for being in the road in the San Antonio area.

SWFBUD sent this letter to the sheriff's office this morning.

* * *

Dear Pasco Sheriff's Office,

It has come to the attention of SWFBUD (South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers), an alliance of Tampa Bay area bicycle stores committed to growing bicycling in the Tampa Bay region, that Pasco sheriff's deputies are giving citations to bicyclists who ride on the roads of Pasco County.

Bicycles are vehicles under the law, so SWFBUD encourages all bicyclists to comply with all traffic laws.

As you know, under law, cyclists not traveling as fast as the normal speed of traffic must ride as close as practicable to the right hand curb or edge of the road. But I need to bring to your attention that there are circumstances under law that allow a bicyclist to be in the middle of the lane:

1. When passing another vehicle.

2. When making a left turn.

3. When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions such as a moving object, a parked or moving vehicle, pedestrian, animal or surface hazard.

4. When a lane is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side (a cyclist should maintain at least two feet of clearance from a curb or pavement edge and the minimum clearance for passing a bicylclist is three feet; a lane with less than 14 feet of usable width is usually too narrow for motor traffic to pass.)

I realize some Pasco County residents feel inconvenienced when they are behind a bicyclist in a traffic lane. But there are legal reasons why a bicyclist might be in the lane, such as debris along the edge of the road or a lane that is "sub-standard" in width.

I do need to request that if your deputies are handing out citations to bicyclists in Pasco County, then I do hope they are also citing motorized vehicle drivers who violate the law by "buzzing" bicyclists by not passing them with a clearance of a required minimum of THREE feet.

Thank you,
Alan Snel
Director of SWFBUD


GhostRider said...

The SWFBUD letter doesn't address the double-pace line ("two abreast") which is restricted by language in Florida Statutes (specifically F.S. 316.2065 (6). Two-abreast on one of those narrow roads IS impeding traffic, and would also on a standard-width roadway.

I hate to say it, but it appears to me that the Pasco deputies were right on the money in citing two-abreast riders...I do hope, however, that they also ticketed/cited motorists for the many infractions they surely made.

Anonymous said...

As one who lives and rides in east Pasco, I can testify to the fact that these are the most tolerant and respectful motorists in the state.

To try and shift the topic away from cyclists breaking the law to motorists breaking the law is a pitiful defense.

SHow me some evidence of all these supposed motorists buzzing cyclists and maybe you"ll change my mind.

Heres an example of the law being broken:

Anonymous said...

Well said Ghostrider

Anonymous said...

Pasco Deputies apparently have nothing better to do. The fat car driving haters whose efforts to push down on the gas pedal harder are only open to other such activities as pushing the button on the remote control. Really? In a state whose weather would make it ideal to make biking a great mode of transportation INSTEAD of driving--instead splits hair over the sparce amount of room a biker needs! I lived in Minneapolis--& bike paths were everywhere & healthy exercise was promoted. Yet here--not so much as a decent shoulder exits ON 98% OF ROADWAYS. Pasco Deputies exist to bully & bring in revenue, NOT protect & serve--this is REDICULOUS! SO ARE THE AMOUNT OF FAT RESIDENTS IN AN EVIRONMENT THAT SHOULD SUPPORT OUT DOORS EXERCISE. IT IS SICK.