Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A1A: Losing a Skirmish, But Winning a Major Battle

The Florida First District Court of Appeal released its decision on Bruce Rosenzweig et al vs. FDOT today, and the news is mostly very good. The Court wrote:
Bicycle paths shall be established unless the Department exercises its discretion not to establish bicycle and pedestrian ways where any of the conditions in section 335.065(1)(b) are demonstrated. Accordingly, we agree with appellants’ interpretation of the statute and find that the Department’s discretion is limited.

The key point in that to my ears is "demonstrated." The Department must now demonstrate that a particular project cannot include bike lanes and/or sidewalks, due to reasons of safety, excessive cost, or an absence of need. The Court also made clear that cyclists and pedestrians clearly have legal standing in such matters. Cycling and pedestrian advocates must still be watchful on projects, but now have a much stronger hand to force FDOT to prove any of those three conditions. Indeed, FDOT procedures have long required that Districts record any variation from the requirement to provide bicycle and pedestrian facilities; now the Court says they must do so as well.

Unfortunately, due to procedural matters, the plaintiffs were not able to show that the cost of providing bike lanes and sidewalks on A1A in particular were within a reasonable cost range. Discussion is on-going to determine if they will pursue the procedural matter up to the Florida Supreme Court.

The decision can be read here in its entirety.

Huge thanks are due to plaintiffs Bruce Rosenzweig, the Boca Raton Bicycle Club, and the League of American Bicyclists for stepping forward, and especially to the law firm of Akerman Senterfitt for its untold hours (though I'm sure they know how many!) of effort.

Road I Course in Orlando

FBA is teaming up with the BOBbies women's cycling group and Metroplan Orlando to host another Road I Cycling Course.

Here's what Ironwoman Aylin had to say about the course:

I admit that the reason I came to the course was more to accompany my friend who I am introducing to road cycling, however to my suprise I got extremely good information out of it that will benefit and protect me while I am riding.

The 10-hour course will be held Friday April 4 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., and Saturday the 5th from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Metroplan Orlando's downtown offices. Six spaces are still available as of March 25. The fee is $30.

Road I gives cyclists the confidence they need to ride safely and legally in traffic. The course covers bicycle safety checks, fixing a flat, on-bike skills and crash avoidance techniques, and includes a student manual. Recommended for adults and children above age fourteen, this fast-paced, nine-hour course prepares cyclists for a full understanding of vehicular cycling.

For more information go here.