Bus blocking bicycle lane

I was spoiled by learning to ride my bicycle on the road in Gainesville, one of Florida’s most bicycle-friendly cities. Bus drivers in that city typically check for bicycles in the bike lane before pulling over into it to stop, or they stop outside of the bicycle lane altogether. This is in obedience with Florida Statute 316.085(2) that requires a driver to check that a lane is clear before changing lanes. In this regard, a bicycle lane is no different than a regular vehicular lane, just as a bicycle is no different than a regular vehicle. There is nothing wrong with the bus changing lanes into the bicycle lane when stopping, but the driver must make sure the bicycle lane is clear before doing so. Anything else is a violation of the law and a threat to cyclists.

Bus drivers down here seem ignorant of that law as it applies to bicycle lanes. At least the one who I ran into yesterday was ignorant, as was the cop who faulted me for the accident without finding me in violation of any law.

A message to all the local transit systems: train your drivers to drive carefully and lawfully as it pertains to cyclists! In this case, they need to check their right mirror before encroaching on any kind of bicycle lane. We are all part of the multimodal transportation system, and bicycles and buses are both good alternatives to cars. We would hate to see one kill off the other.

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6 Responses to Bus vs. Bicycle

  1. Steven says:

    As posted and discussed several times on this site in the past, bike lanes in this area of the state are a joke. Some last only short distances while others dissapear and re-appear on a whim. Additionally, there is generally a lack of signage to remind drivers of the bike lane.

    Until the counties start putting more emphasis on bicycles as a viable transit solution, and start creating the propper signage and infrastructure needed to support them as a viable transit solution, people will continue to ignore the bike lanes. Additionally, as shown in a picture saveral weeks back, even local law enforcement blocks the lanes unjustly.

    While talking about needing to put better infrastructure in place, how about those new HOT lanes on I-95?

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  2. Mom says:

    Why call it a bike lane if there is no regard for the cyclists?

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  3. JM Palacios says:

    The HOT lanes on I-95 are more important to FDOT than encouraging alternative modes of transportation. Planners do not account for the recent decreasing trends in traffic on I-95 and other roads in their always-increasing traffic forecasts, either.

    The bicycle lane in the picture is another one of these fairly short bicycle lanes, 1 mile in length, and as such doesn’t have the bicycle symbol pavement markings that make it a “designated” bicycle lane. It is still a bicycle lane, however.

    I expect most automobile drivers to be ignorant of the bicycle lane and as such I take due care to avoid conflicts with drivers. What I did not expect (until now) is for a county bus driver to be ignorant of bicycle lanes. Trust me, Broward County Transit will hear more about this issue from me.

    You know the most ironic thing in the picture? That bicycle on the bus rack is an electric model. Minimal exertion for the cyclist to ride it instead of the bus. I’m guessing the reason he put it on the bus was to avoid getting hit by the bus.

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  4. Steven says:

    Or perhaps the bike is there because they have to go simply too far for the electric motor and pedaling to accomodate. We in South Florida do enjoy putting housing really far out west away from the business centers. Biking to the busstop in a neighborhood in Pembroke Pines and then bussing to downtown Ft. Lauderdale and then having the bike as a viable mode of transit in that area is a great way to commute.

    I think that there is a severe problem with FDOT not considering various alternatives. These short bike lanes that are unmarked as well as the HOT lanes on I-95 are a clear example of sideways thinking. The best way to reduce traffic is to give people alternatives to cars, including Bicycles.

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  5. Silver says:

    Make sure you request a court hearing on that ticket. Don’t pay it.
    You could be looking at points that will go against your driver’s license, even though you were on a bike. Especially because it didn’t seem like the officer knew what he was doing.
    Go to court. (or hire an attorney) It may mean some additional time/expense now, but you’ll be a lot happier later, when you’re insurance rates don’t go up because of this idiot bus driver.

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  6. JM Palacios says:

    Silver, the cop was unable to find me in violation of a law so he gave me no ticket. I talked to a lawyer, he said the cop finding me at fault in this case is just his opinion and nothing else. With that in mind, I’ll be talking and writing to BCT about the damage to my bicycle. Of bigger concern to me is not the cost of repairs, but the overall safety of bicyclists riding in bicycle lanes in South Florida. We already have enough to worry about with cars drifting into the bicycle lanes without seeing us. But if the bus is going to do it, and come all the way over without looking? That’s a deadly combination, and it is up to agencies like BCT to prevent it.

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