Welcome to the inaugural Florida Bicycling & Micromobility Newsletter!
As this newsletter hits the email newsstands, I know there won’t be too many people initially reading it. With any journey, though, there is always a first step and here it is. As I’ve explained in the About section, this newsletter will be providing news and updates on anything micromobility related, ranging from bicycles to e-bikes to e-scooters, and including other related topics like pedestrians and transit. The focus will be on Florida, but I’ll also include things that have caught my eye from across the country and globe.
I’ll be including links to articles that I find interesting, as well as updating any changes in the law regarding micromobility in Florida. If you have any questions or comments, please send them my way. I hope to answer questions here as well, so long as [insert lawyer disclaimer] it is understood that the answer or information provided does not constitute legal advice and there is no attorney-client relationship created by this. Yes, I am a lawyer, and so this is one of those things we have to put out there just in case. That said, in the words of Rick Sanchez…
Paris ain’t the only one!
There’s been a lot of talk lately about how Paris, at the leadership of its amazing mayor Anne Hidalgo, is transforming into the 15-minute city (I’ll follow up more about that in a later newsletter). But with all of the traction in the press that Paris has received, a city on our side of the world has been making a great deal of progress post-pandemic of transitioning away from cars: Mexico.
My sister-in-law gave me the heads up to this great Twitter thread from Robert Foster (@soc4austin) The photo heavy thread shows how parking and travel lanes were transformed into bicycle and bus lanes, and even transitioned to electric trolly buses instead of the heavy and expensive battery buses. I suggest you take a look and see how it can get done over here in the Western Hemisphere.
Two Abreast No More in Florida
If you follow my professional Instagram handle (@flacyclinglaw), you’ll probably already have seen this but I wanted to include it here as well and give a little more context.
Long story short, prior to the 2021 Florida law allowed bicyclists to ride two abreast. While not expressly provided, section 316.2065(6) allowed two abreast if “persons riding bicycles upon a roadway” were not impeding traffic and, and if so “shall ride within a single lane.” Roadway and lane are two different things under Florida law, so the distinction is important. Another section of the law (§316.2065(5)(a)3.) allows a lone bicyclist to take the entire width of the lane if the it is substandard-width (more on that another time). So of course it made sense that since a lone cyclist could take the lane, two bicyclists could take the lane.
The Florida Legislature didn’t think so, but in doing so, only made things more confusing. It changed subsection 6 and added the line “On roads that contain a substandard-width lane as defined in subparagraph (5)(a)3., persons riding bicycles may temporarily ride two abreast only to avoid hazards in the roadway or to overtake another person riding a bicycle.” What difference would it make if a lone cyclist or two were taking the lane side by side? Not much, in that the driver of a car would still need to change lanes to maintain 3 feet distance when passing the bicyclists.
This change doesn’t bode well for group rides large and small, especially with law enforcement up and down A1A in South Florida seeking to actively enforce the new restrictions.
Stop-as-Yield in Florida? One can Dream…
Stop-as-yield, if you didn’t know, is when bicyclists are allowed to treat a stop sign as a yield sign. So far 8 states allow for it, and research shows it increases safety. This article from Streetsblog highlights a new safety fact sheet that supports stop-as-yield with the available research.
From the article:
“As the NHTSA fact sheet points out,
Bicyclists have greater incentive to yield, as they are at high risk for injury at intersections. One study cites research showing that pedestrians and bicyclists exert more care and attention before crossing red signals than green (Leth et al., 2014). A naturalistic study of bicyclists in Florida’s Tampa Bay area found that bicyclists highly complied with general traffic rules (88.1% in the daytime, 87.5% at night). In contrast, drivers were mostly noncompliant with the law on yielding to bicyclists’ right-of-way (Lin et al., 2017).
But the kicker is that ‘there is no evidence showing bicyclist stop-as-yield laws have increased bike conflicts with other bikes or pedestrians.’”
Perhaps it’s time to make a push for Florida to become state number 9?
Feedback and Follows
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