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Be safe out there: bicyclist do's, don'ts

Dr. Delay Navigating Pinellas County

By LORRIE LYKINS, Times Staff Writer
Published November 24, 2007


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Irritated with cyclists who don't observe the "share the road" principle? You're not alone. Questions about the legality of cyclists' biking on area roads in packs hit the Doc's mailbox weekly.

Bill Balmer of Seminole recently wrote: "I frequently travel Indian Rocks /Oakhurst Road in Largo and Seminole on Sunday mornings. I usually see a bicycle group heading north with a lineup of cars behind them Indian Rocks Road is one lane in each direction. This group consists of 25 cyclists or more. This morning I happened to be northbound and got caught behind them. They paid no attention to the cars backed up behind them and rode as many as four abreast. There was no way that any cars could safely pass."

Balmer said that as the pack approached one traffic signal, it turned red but the pack proceeded through it. He wonders what can be done about cyclists' flouting traffic laws and endangering themselves and others.

We shared Balmer's concerns with Sgt. Jim Bordner of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. Bordner said Florida law prohibits bicyclists from riding more than two abreast except when they are on paths or parts of roads set aside for their use.

Also, "bicyclists who are riding two abreast may not impede traffic when traveling at less than the normal speed of traffic," Bordner said.

Florida statutes also state that a bicyclist has all the rights and assumes all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle, so a cyclist must stop for stop signs and traffic signals.

Florida law also requires that bicyclists riding on a public roadat less than the normal speed of traffic ride as close as possible to the right-hand curb or edge of the road except when they are overtaking another bicycle or vehicle traveling in the same direction. Exceptions to the right-hand-curb requirement: preparing for a left turn or avoiding an unsafe situation, or if the lane is too narrow for a bicycle and vehicle to travel side by side safely.

Bordner said he would forward Balmer's concerns to the commander of the sheriff's patrol operations bureau.

Downtown St. Petersburg

Music fest has shuttle

If you're planning to attend the Sunset 07 Music Festival in Vinoy Park today, a free shuttle will be available from 2 to 11 p.m., cycling every 10 to 15 minutes. Go to www.LooperTrolley.com, then "Events," for stops and a map.

Lorrie Lykins' Dr. Delay column appears regularly in the South Pinellas editions of the Times. Share traffic concerns and comments with Dr. Delay at docdelay@yahoo.com.

[Last modified November 23, 2007, 22:07:03]


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