Capital City Cyclists members help to improve Florida Driver’s Handbook

The new 2012 edition of the Florida Driver’s Handbook is here and we are happy to report that it brings with it added attention to bicyclists and pedestrians thanks to the work of local (Tallahassee) cyclists! Last year (2011) the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FDHSMV) had the handbook text reviewed by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Safety Office, and in particular Dennis Scott, the (now retired) State Pedestrian/Bicycle Coordinator. He and his colleague Dwight Kingsbury made many useful edits, and they in turn provided the opportunity for several members of the Capital City Cyclists advocacy committee (Committee for a Bikeable Community) to make suggestions as well. To their great credit, the FDHSMV included all our suggestions in the final 2012 driver’s handbook!

 
So what changed? In many places throughout the Handbook motorists are asked to pay attention to bicycles and pedestrians. And this new version finally explains what sharrows (shared roadway markings) are – they have been present for years on several of our roadways, but the driver’s handbook had yet to mentioned them. The table below provides a nice statistical baseline on how awareness of bicycle and pedestrian information has increased significantly throughout the handbook:

 

Wordcount of Bicycle/Pedestrian related terms in 2011 and 2012 editions of the Florida Driver’s Handbook
2011 2012
Bicycle 28 40
Pedestrian 46 71
Cyclist 45 62
Sharrow 0 2
Bike lane 7 14

 

So what was specifically updated with regard to bicyclists? You can review our updates in the 2012 Florida Driver’s Handbook:

  • Section 5.17 – Bicyclists: Added Share the Road image and multiple text additions
  • Section 5.27 – Traffic Lanes: Added last sentence text on bicycle lanes
  • Section 6.5 – Pavement Markings: Added text and images for Bicycle Lanes and Sharrows

 

 
Per the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles website over 800,000 new drivers licenses are issued every year. By increasing awareness of bicycles and pedestrians in the drivers handbook, we will increase driver’s knowledge of traffic rules with regard to bicyclists and pedestrians on the road. Increased awareness leads to improved interactions between motorists and cyclists and a safer more enjoyable environment for us all.

 
With the success of this effort, we look forward to working with the FDHSMV and the FDOT in the future to continue an increase awareness of bicyclists within the Florida Driver’s Handbook. Great job Dennis, Dwight, Zach, and others!

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