Hello, my name is Mark

mark-name-tag

state trooperI’m a transportation safety & crash investigator for the USDOT. I was a State Trooper for 10 years and I know what State Statute 316 has to say about cyclists sharing the road.

I have two sons, 10 & 15 who are cycling enthusiasts.

When I’m not on the bike I’m doing what single dads do best: laundry and homework. Non-bike weekends mean kayaking, camping, or going to the beach. My goals for the next year are to buy my own home and get in better shape.

familyI love riding because is it’s a great way to see a town, get good exercise, and once you buy a bike, the rest is free.

I know the risks of cycling, and my 15yr old has first-hand experience with the business end of an inattentive driver’s sedan. Fortunately he was uninjured. The closest I’ve come is getting buzzed by a BMW in Fort Lauderdale. No argument from me at the next light, however, I’d rather not get shot.

trailI do my best to stay out of a motorist’s way for two reasons:

  1. Sharing the road also means ME giving cars room to get by and
  2. no one will want to read Statute 316 at my funeral.

Some people ask, “Why don’t I just ride sidewalks instead?” Several reasons:

  • Traffic doesn’t have to stop at a sidewalk crossing, so I’m more likely to get hit.
  • People and pets use sidewalks. Kind of hard to pass them and walkers don’t like that.
  • Sidewalks are rough as hell and usually slippery with mud, mold, leaves and sticks.
  • Most unknown fact about sidewalks: In many cities it’s illegal (Orlando for instance.)
  • Orlando allows bikes on some sidewalks, but it must be marked.
  • Also, sidewalks that do allow cyclists have speed limits.
  • Orlando allows 12mph. Orange County allows 15mph on trails and “multi-use” sidewalks.

kid-carFlorida statute 316.2065 says I have the right to ride on the road. With that being said, I will not hide behind a law that you may disagree with because it won’t prevent me from getting run over. I will do my part to stay out of your way because I will not win.

In the end, motorists and cyclists alike should:

  • Read the statute.
  • Be vigilant.
  • Respect one another.

… and when you witness “an infraction”, cool your jets. No one follows the law to a tee: rolling through stop signs, failing to use turn signals, speeding, etc. Don’t flip your stuff when a bicycle rolls through an intersection and I won’t yell at you when you forget to signal.

Mark is a member of our USA Cycling club. We thank him for his lesson in “mutual respect.”

Mark Audette, State Trooper and Cyclist

Mark Audette, former State Trooper and Cyclist