Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Call Gov. Crist To Veto HB 971 -- It's Bad For Bicyclists


HB 971 Bad for Bicyclists and Pedestrians

Unbeknownst to Florida Bicycle Association, a mandatory bike lane use provision was included in the Highway Safety. Call Governor Crist as soon as you can to ask him to veto this bill.

Executive Office of the Governor Switchboard: (850) 488-7146

Mighk Wilson, Smart Growth Planner in Orlando, explains why it's bad for bicyclists.

In part, "Motorists who learn of the bill will have one more very strong excuse to
harass cyclists who "aren't in the bike lane."

"There are many striped-off areas of roadways that are not really bike lanes, but some believe they are.

"They will also likely be ignorant of all the exceptions to the law (because
they'll hear it second hand) and even if they read it in full, they won't
understand many of the good reasons cyclists need to leave bike lanes.

Also, "Many bike lanes are substandard in width, force cyclists into door zones, or are improperly placed to the right of right-turn-only lanes, but many officers don't
understand these problems.

Motorists get another new excuse when they hit a cyclist: "He left the bike

Why it's bad for pedestrians:

"It's bad enough that pedestrians have to suffer parked cars blocking
sidewalks, being blasted by sprinklers, sidewalk bicyclists who don't
announce themselves when passing, and thousands of other nuisances, now
they'll have to share stretches of sidewalk in some jurisdictions with
motorized vehicles. Local governments will be able to permit mopeds,
golf-carts, motorized scooters and other vehicles which don't belong on
sidewalks and on "bike paths." The law limits such vehicles to 15 mph, but
how will that be enforced?


Donald said...

I'm a little worried about it, but the only change if you look at the law is:

"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 in the lane marked for bicycle use or, if no lane is marked for bicycle use, as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:"

And... the usual exceptions apply. However, given the case with Brad, I don't trust the police to properly enforce the law.

But still, is there anything really wrong with the law as worded?

Alan said...

Donny, generally speaking, bike lanes are good to use but I don't think you have to be REQUIRED to use them -- especially in Florida where so many bike lanes are filled with debris, glass etc.

And also I don't think it's a good idea to amend the law to have trails allow golf carts and other motorized vehicles such as mopeds. Those are a poor mix to paths that are currently used by pedestrians.

Donald said...

Regarding the second point, I agree.

Regarding the first... bicyclists are not required to use them if there is glass/debris/etc in the lane. That's still part of the new law description.

So from a pedestrian point of view (and the view against drunk driving) the bill is terrible. But from the view of bicyclists, I don't see where it changes anything.

Anonymous said...

Signed into law yesterday.