Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Florida Legislature Pushing Cyclists Into Bike Lanes

The Gulf oil spill has a been an incredibly disturbing event and it's been hard for me to blog about the usual stupid stuff I like to yammer about, but the way cyclists are treated in Florida is a really important issue to me, as well.  

Currently, cyclists in Florida have equal rights on the roadways.  That may change if a 16-word addition to highway safety bill, HB 971, moving through the legislature is not vetoed by Governor Crist.  It seems cyclists will be marginalized and restricted to either using bike lanes or using only the right-hand side of the road if the bill goes through with the current language pertaining to cyclists.  Here's part of the Orlando Sentinel piece:

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Gary Aubuchon, R-Cape Coral, who said Wednesday that he often rides a bike and cannot understand why his fellow cyclists would be against his proposal. 

"If they don't want to ride in the bike lanes, why are we spending all this money on them in the first place?" Aubuchon said.

Obviously, Rep. Aubuchon has never had to make a left turn at a busy intersection while on a bicycle.  A lot of this is simple belly-aching on the part of motorists who feel like bike clubs hog the roads when they are pedaling in formation.  Having been both outside a car on a bike and inside a car trailing a cyclist or cyclists, I know each side of this debate by heart.  But as I've said before on this blog, I'd rather ride very slowly behind a cyclist when I'm in a multiple-ton vehicle than side-swipe a cyclist because I couldn't see them on the right side before turning.
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