Everyone knows that in Florida drivers must give cyclists 3 feet of space while passing them. All cyclists know it is violated all the time, and rarely enforced. Why?
F.S. 316.083 says:
“…The driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle must pass the bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle at a safe distance of not less than 3 feet between the vehicle and the bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle.”
A traffic infraction must personally be observed by an officer, and that officer must show up in court. This is partially the reason red light tickets were getting dismissed in Florida, because the cameras were operated by a company in Arizona, and law enforcement could not produce the operators for traffic hearings.
In regards to the 3 foot law, an officer is asked to “eye” a 3 foot distance at the instant a vehicle passes a bicycle. An infraction of this sort is easily challenged in court, and therefore it is rarely enforced. Cycling advocates around Florida have been long lobbying law-makers for a law that protects cyclists, and can readily be enforced.
On August 9, 2017, Senate Bill 116 was filed by Senator Dennis Baxley of District 12, and its companion Bill HB 117 was filed by Representative Charlie Stone, District 22. Dubbed the “MOVE OVER FOR PEOPLE INITIATIVE,”
the bill says:
“…A bill to be entitled- An act relating to operation of vehicles; amending s. 316.126 F.S.; requiring drivers to vacate a lane closest to, or reduce speed and pass, vulnerable road users, authorized emergency, sanitation, and utility service vehicles or workers, and wrecker operators under certain circumstances, subject to certain requirements; deleting requirements of drivers approaching certain authorized emergency vehicles, sanitation vehicles, utility services vehicles, and wreckers, providing an effective date.”
Cyclists are “vulnerable users,” and this bill would require drivers to move over a lane when passing a cyclists, failure to do so would subject drivers to penalties under law.This proposed bill clearly has more teeth than the unenforceable “3 foot law.”
If you are in favor of this bill, send your support to the Senator and Representative that sponsored them.
Their information is below.
Dennis Baxley’s website: https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s12. Click on “email the Senator and send him a line.”
Charlie Stone’s website: http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4537&SessionId=86