HB 971 Goes Into Affect and Lakemont Group Gets Pulled Over

The Lakemont, group B ride, was having a lovely Saturday ride this morning. We were running a nice pace of 25mph and had just turned off of 434 onto Tuskawilla and had about 15 miles left in the ride. As we rounded a slight hill, we saw the flashing blue lights of one of Winter Spring's finest. A code enforcement officer waved the 90 riders off the road at a driveway entrance and gave us the riot act for breaking the new House Bill 971 Law. We tried to explain that we had just made a turn and to get everyone through the light, we could not ride 2 abreast and get us all through in one cycle.

If you recall, House Bill 971 had language in it that required cyclists to ride in the bike lane if it was present and to not ride more than 2 abreast. I know that many of us called and wrote the governor to try and convince him to veto this bill and have the language regarding bike lanes removed, but it wasn't enough and it was signed.The law isn't supposed to go into enforcement until September 1, but I guess the code enforcement officers feel that since the governor signed it, they are ready to enforce it.

I haven't heard of any other rides being pulled over, but I am sure that this is going to become common. The officer tried to tell us that he was going to sit out there and write us all up, but I think that when he realized that it would take longer than an hour and was getting into the mid 90s in temperature, so he let us go with a warning.

This is just a good example of why bike lanes and laws on 4 lane roads out in the county, can become a problem in certain situations. Hopefully this law will be reconsidered and have changes amended to it. In the mean time, keep riding out there, and if you are in a group ride, try to follow the laws and stay safe.