A cyclist who was hit Tuesday in Key Biscayne is in critical condition. Key Biscayne is filled with sports enthusiasts. Cyclist and runners go up and down Key Biscayne from Sunrise to Sunset. However, Key Biscayne is also filled with speeding and distracted motorist and that makes for a deadly combination.
In the last two years countless cyclist have been injured and two riders have died. While changes to the roadway such as extending the bike lane after bear cut and installing “vibratory ridges” along the Key Biscayne-bound side of the road have been made, the results are still fatal.
As an attorney that is an avid cyclist, and specializes in bicycle accidents I can tell you that Key Biscayne is a microcosm of the problems that plague the city.
First and foremost motorist do not have enough respect for other people on the road. South Florida drivers are angry, distracted, and careless.
Secondly, there are not enough bike paths, and the bike paths that do exist are too narrow.
Finally, we have a 3 foot law that the majority of the public is unaware even exists, and is never enforced. The law simply states that a motorist must allow a minimum distance of 3 feet when passing to the left of a cyclist. I have represented in the past and currently represent a number of cyclist that were struck by passing vehicles, yet rarely does the officer cite the motorist with violating florida’s 3 foot law.
The law is crystal clear, and reads as follows:
FS 316.083 – Overtaking and Passing a Vehicle
The following rules shall govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction, subject to those limitations, exceptions, and special rules hereinafter stated:
(1) The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction …. shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance, and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle. The driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle must pass the bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle at a safe distance of not less than 3 feet between the vehicle and the bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle.
Despite the high number of bicycle accidents only 337 tickets were issued statewide for failing to obey the law between 2006 and 2010. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, four tickets were issued in Palm Beach County, 55 in Broward County and only 15 in Miami-Dade County.
The law was passed to promote safety. The public needs to learn it, and officers need to enforce it.