Remove "Bicycles Prohibited" Signs from Hidden River Trail
Recently a sign was erected on Hidden River Trail in Lakewood Ranch located in Manatee County, FL that indicates that this road is off limits to bicycle traffic. This road is a major part of the cycling network Lakewood Ranch and we feel that the signage is not only detrimental to the cycling community but also potentially illegal.
FS316.2065 – “Bicycle regulations” states:
(1) Every person propelling a vehicle by human power has all of the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle under this chapter, except as to special regulations in this chapter, and except as to provisions of this chapter which by their nature can have no application.
Furthermore FS316.02 states "...This section shall be supplemental to the other laws or ordinances of this chapter and not in conflict therewith. It is unlawful for any local authority to pass or to attempt to enforce any ordinance in conflict with the provisions of this chapter."
There are 4 east-west connectors in Lakewood Ranch
1. University Avenue: 45mph speed limit, no bike lane, the road converges from 3 lanes to 2 lanes, and there is considerable truck and construction traffic.
2. SR 70: no bike lane (only a shoulder often filled with road debris) 55mph speed limit.
4. Sidewalk on hidden river trail: Rough and uneven, not suitable for bicycles other than cruiser bikes, lots of walkers, joggers, dogs creating obstructions and potential collisions.
4. Hidden River Trail: 25mph speed limit, no bike lane but very little traffic. It is however a sub-standard width road.
Of these 4 options Hidden River Tail is the safest choice.
Our efforts to discuss this issue with the Manatee County traffic department have been met with an unwillingness to discuss the issue. We have been told a new traffic study and signed engineering plans would need to be submitted. It is our position that the onus should not be placed on the citizens but should be the responsibility of the traffic department o review signage and road construction when an issue arises.
We demand that the Manatee County Traffic department review the legality and wisdom of prohibiting bicycles from this roadway. The county should pay for the costs required for new plans ot be submitted and then adopted.
Our official recommendation is to replace the “Bicycle Prohibited” signage with “Share the Road” or “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” signs. In addition we recommend “sharrows” be placed on the road itself indicating that bicycles can be present in the lane.
As this is the only safe route, cyclists WILL continue to use it despite the signage. We believe this is creating potential conflict between automobile and cyclist that could lead to injury or death. It is in Manatee County’s best interest to remove these signs to create an atmosphere or cooperation between the automobile and cycling traffic.
Village Idiots Cycling Club