On Wednesday, August 9, 2017, “SB 116 – Operation of Vehicles” was filed in the Florida Senate. The bill supports the Florida Bicycle Association’s (FBA) goal to amend the “Move Over Law” as part of the organization’s “Move Over for People” legislative platform.
If signed into law, the bill will require Florida drivers to “vacate lanes closest to, or reduce speed and pass, vulnerable road users, authorized emergency, sanitation, and utility service vehicles or workers, and wrecker operations under certain circumstances, subject to certain requirements,” it reads, with the addition of “vulnerable road users” (bicyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians, and people with disabilities) who would be protected by the Move Over Law if it is amended—currently, they are excluded. The current law in place for bicyclists is the “Three-Foot Law,” which requires vehicles to provide at least 3-feet of space when passing bicyclists on the roadway, but this law has proved difficult to enforce.
The FBA’s Executive Director, Becky Afonso, wrote excitedly of the possibility of change in the FBA’s quarterly newsletter (Vol. 20, No. 4)—change that helps to ensure the safety and rights of Florida’s vulnerable road users. “I’m still in awe,” she wrote. “I am truly grateful for the efforts of our FBA legislative committee, our FBA members and our regional advocacy partners.”
In the past year, FBA members have been asked by the non-profit organization’s leadership to reach out to lawmakers, requesting that vulnerable road users be included in Florida’s Move Over law. When the bill was finally filed, it became clear that their hard work has started to pay off. In addition, Afonso reports that the Move Over for People initiative has been assigned to be heard in three Senate committees. “We are walking the walk and talking the talk,” says Afonso. “It’s a lot of work, I kid you not. Nothing, however, can take away the victory we have right now. We have a Senate bill! We did it!”
Click here to learn more about the Florida Bicycle Association’s legislative platform.
Click here to learn more about enforcing the Three Foot Law.