Saturday, July 17, 2010

HB 971 Goes Into Affect and Lakemont Group Gets Pulled Over

The Lakemont, group B ride, was having a lovely Saturday ride this morning. We were running a nice pace of 25mph and had just turned off of 434 onto Tuskawilla and had about 15 miles left in the ride. As we rounded a slight hill, we saw the flashing blue lights of one of Winter Spring's finest. A code enforcement officer waved the 90 riders off the road at a driveway entrance and gave us the riot act for breaking the new House Bill 971 Law. We tried to explain that we had just made a turn and to get everyone through the light, we could not ride 2 abreast and get us all through in one cycle.

If you recall, House Bill 971 had language in it that required cyclists to ride in the bike lane if it was present and to not ride more than 2 abreast. I know that many of us called and wrote the governor to try and convince him to veto this bill and have the language regarding bike lanes removed, but it wasn't enough and it was signed.The law isn't supposed to go into enforcement until September 1, but I guess the code enforcement officers feel that since the governor signed it, they are ready to enforce it.

I haven't heard of any other rides being pulled over, but I am sure that this is going to become common. The officer tried to tell us that he was going to sit out there and write us all up, but I think that when he realized that it would take longer than an hour and was getting into the mid 90s in temperature, so he let us go with a warning.

This is just a good example of why bike lanes and laws on 4 lane roads out in the county, can become a problem in certain situations. Hopefully this law will be reconsidered and have changes amended to it. In the mean time, keep riding out there, and if you are in a group ride, try to follow the laws and stay safe.

3 comments:

  1. The House Bill does offer caveats, though. Why not copy them here? ::: 1. When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle
    proceeding in the same direction.
    2. When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or
    into a private road or driveway.
    3. When reasonably necessary to avoid any condition,
    including, but not limited to, a fixed or moving object, parked
    or moving vehicle, bicycle, pedestrian, animal, surface hazard,
    or substandard-width lane, that makes it unsafe to continue
    along the right-hand curb or edge. For the purposes of this
    subsection, a "substandard-width lane" is a lane that is too
    narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side
    by side within the lane.

    Of course, Winter Park was wrong since the law isn't even in effect yet but when it goes into effect... it will make sense to have a copy of this on every ride. Maybe the cyclists were just passing each other? There was a perceived hazard? What do you think?

    ReplyDelete
  2. We were just trying to get through the stop light in one cycle. To get 100 hundred riders through a green light, we had to bunch up and take up the full lane and bike lane. It seemed that the police were just waiting for us to make this move and then stop us. We'll see if the harassment continues in the upcoming weeks or after the bill actually goes into affect. I would have been discouraged to ride again if it had been my first time to ride with the group, and I think many cyclist feel that discouragement is the whole point behind such a law. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm going to Orlando from Miami for the next two weekends, and I'm interested in riding while I'm there. Is this a good ride to go on? I understand there are three different speed levels. Is this ride still active even with this new law?

    ReplyDelete