For about a month, Florida bike blogs have been awash in calls to request the veto of Highway Bill 971 (HB971) by Gov. Crist. I was one of them. When I first saw the post come through Twitter, I immediately retweeted it to all my followers and posted about it here at Transit Miami.
Thing is, I’m not entirely sure WHAT about the bill is it that we’re raising a ruckus about. I assure you, I’m not being facetious or outright annoying; I just really want to know.
The call to arms centers around the changes to the state law dealing with bicycle lanes. Here is the actual text found on HB971 (PDF link) (strikethrough are deletions, underlined are additions):
316.2065 Bicycle regulations.—
(5)(a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride in the lane marked for bicycle use or, if no lane is marked for bicycle use, as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:
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.
(b) Any person operating a bicycle upon a one-way highway with two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of such roadway as practicable.
(20) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a pedestrian violation as provided in chapter 318. A law enforcement officer may issue traffic citations for a violation of subsection (3) or subsection (16) only if the violation occurs on a bicycle path or road, as defined in s. 334.03. However, a law enforcement officer they may not issue citations to persons on private property, except any part thereof which is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular traffic.
I don’t see what is wrong with the information above. Yes, it mandates that bicycles must use bike lanes when present, but it does not take away a bicycle’s right to the regular road use under circumstances which make the use of the bike lane impracticable. The call to attention is centered on the “must ride in the bicycle lane” part, but isn’t that the point of why we ask and advocate for bicycle lanes, so we can use them while we ride?
(The bill also raises other issues which I’ve always seen listed as secondary, like allowing for a process where a person convicted of 4 or more DUI can reapply to have their driving privileges reinstated after meeting a series of requirements. I’m all for second chances, but 4+ DUI convictions seems troublesome to me. But again, I always see this listed as a secondary reason for the request of a veto.)
So, I honestly ask, what exactly about that wording is it why we’re asking for a veto?
Yesterday morning I took the scenic route back home from the synagogue, going down all of Lincoln Road Mall, to the Oceanwalk Promenade, then up 5th St before heading home (see the MapMyRide.com Map). On a whim, I decided to count all the bikes I came across my way, whether parked or with riders. Everyone knows we have a lot of bicyclists here in the Beach, but I wanted to have a very rough headcount. It was 10 AM, and the temp was in the mid 50s, so I figured I would see only those out exercising, and those on their way to/from/already at work.
When all was said and done, I counted 146 bikes, including me, with about 85 of them being spotted just along Lincoln Rd. I am no urban statisticians, but that seemed like a lot of bikes for a 3/4-mile long stretch, let alone for the 2.5 miles of my entire trip. And that fills me with joy.
Check out these pics (click for larger version). Continue reading »
Continue reading »
The Times Union is reporting that seventh-grader Adam Marino has engaged in a noble act of civil disobedience. Adam and his mother, Janette Kaddo Marino, are defying a Saratoga Springs school policy by biking to Maple Avenue Middle School. Apparently, the school board has a policy that does not allow students to bike or walk to school.
Keep up the good work Adam. You are teaching the school board that there are alternatives to the car and the bus to get to school. While you’re at it, make sure the school board provides you with proper bicycle parking. The bicycle parking should include appropriate bicycle racks, which are covered, in order to protect your bike from the elements. Don’t settle for anything less. You are a young advocate in the making.
Have you heard about this act that is about to get voted on in the Senate this Thursday or Friday? It seems like a good thing for those of us using alternative transportation. There’s a tax credit for plug-in “electric drive” vehicles, among other energy related rebates. My favorite is the bicycle commuter tax benefit that gives benefits for those who commute by bicycle.
For more information and to contact your Senator with a simple form, head over to the League of American Bicyclists’ Advocacy Center. You can also read the seven page PDF summary of the bill at the Senate’s website. If you want to see a small step to encourage more to commute by bicycle, then I suggest you contact your Senator now. I just did.
I was just catching up with a week’s worth of posts on the Miami Critical Mass Discussion Board and came across a crucial advocacy post:
We have a problem with a planned project that we were looking forward too. SW 3rd Ave from Coral Way to SW 16th Ave (by US-1/MPath) was in the works to have fresh new bike lanes on them.
We need to support this project. It is an important connector it will connect the planned Coral Way bike lane to the SW 15th Rd project which will connect to South Miami Ave in Brickell.
If this section doesn’t happen it is likely the FDOT will pull their support of the Coral Way project. Remind Commissioner Sanchez that he supported bike lanes when he rode with us earlier in the year, and it is important that he continues his bicycle facility advocacy.
If you want bike lanes on Coral Way, then call Commissioner Joe Sanchez and kindly voice your support.
Office of Commissioner Joe Sanchez· www.miamigov.com/district3
Telephone: (305) 250-5380 · Fax: (305) 250-5386
3500 Pan American Drive, Miami, FL 33133
Had I seen this yesterday I would have posted it. Regardless, if you have not called Commissioner Sanchez yet, do it first thing Monday morning!
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