Activists say signs such as this one have increased awareness of bike laws.
By Steve Plunkett
Signs from Boca Raton to Manalapan cautioning motorists and bicyclists to share State Road A1A are a success, claims zMotion, the cycling group that paid for them.
The bicyclists recently submitted research to the Florida Department of Transportation showing the 16 signs are effective, said Mike Schweiger, zMotion’s co-founder.
His group’s report indicates the signs, one saying “Motorist — Shall Give 3 Foot Clearance” and another saying “Bicyclist — No More Than Two Abreast,” increased awareness of those state laws by both groups, Schweiger said.
The positioning of the signs has Highland Beach residents clamoring for even more.
“There are bike signs all over Delray saying no more than two bike riders may ride abreast, bicycle path, et cetera, et cetera,” Town Commission candidate George Kelvin said. “So we now have a situation where to the north of us Delray has bike signs, to the south of us Boca Raton has bike signs, and we are still waiting to do something.”
In fact Highland Beach has two zMotion signs, but both carry the motorist warning about giving 3-foot clearance. The bicyclist warning is on three of Boca Raton’s four zMotion signs, including one on northbound A1A just 150 feet from Highland Beach.
That means northbound traffic passes the two-abreast warning just south of Camino Real, the 3-foot clearance sign across from Spanish River Park, another two-abreast sign just south of Highland Beach and the 3-foot sign in central Highland Beach.
Southbound traffic passes the 3-foot sign in central Highland Beach and the two-abreast sign at Spanish River Park. At one site in Gulf Stream and two locations in Ocean Ridge, the signs are paired, with one of each message. Manalapan has two bicyclist warnings near its northern border and two motorist alerts near the Boynton Inlet. If state law is that bicyclists cannot ride more than two abreast, “I can’t see why we can’t post a sign or signs in Highland Beach stating that,” former Mayor Harold Hagelmann asked later in the Feb. 7 commission meeting.
“We cannot put signs on A1A. They have to be FDOT-approved,” Town Manager Kathleen Weiser replied. “I have personally been on the phone with FDOT I can’t tell you how many times. Right now their answer is no. They are doing testing to see if this sign works.”
Earlier, Town Attorney Glen Torcivia gave a summary of Florida laws on bicyclists. “There’s not a lot of authority that the town has in terms of regulating bicycles,” he said.
Mayor Bernard Featherman said the problem is when cyclists ride four abreast and do not stop for people in the crosswalks. “I should think that our Police Department would enforce that,” he said.
Torcivia said cyclists who pedal three or four abreast risk a $15 fine. They must obey the rules motorists do about stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks, he said.
Meanwhile Delray Beach moved a large, temporary sign to southbound A1A just north of Linton Boulevard, near where a cyclist was killed by a truck last April. “Drivers Watch Out for Bikes!” it flashes. “Bicyclists May Not Ride More Than 2 Abreast.”
Delray Beach police loaned an identical flashing sign to Highland Beach police, who positioned it on A1A across from the Townhouses of Highland Beach.