The City has received several complaints about bicycle riders and runners blocking traffic, advising motorists the road is "closed" and making obscene gestures and otherwise threatening motorists, especially in the area of Monroe Road. The City of Lakeland has not received, nor granted, any requests to close this road for a bicycle or running/walking event.
As a bicycle rider and walker myself (I hope a courteous one), I was disturbed at reports of bicycle riders and runners not "sharing the road" in a courteous manner. I see it from the perspective of a bicycle rider, pedestrian, and also as a motorist, and, 99% of the time, I feel all parties are courteous in Lakeland, in fact, I meet both motorists (when I am biking/walking) and bikers (when I am driving) who go out of their way to be courteous and "Share the Road".
However, after receiving three complaints in a short time about the same street, I have to assume there is merit in the complaints.
I discussed this with Steve Shular, of the Shelby County Sheriff Department. He advised me as follows:
-Bicycle riders and pedestrians (runners or walkers) have a right to legally use the road. Generally, bicycle riders and pedestrians are expected to stay in their lanes.
-Under no conditions (other than with a parade permit etc.) is it legal for bicycle riders or pedestrians to block the road, block traffic, or create a hazard. (Riding at a normal speed of the bicycle to the right in your lane is NOT blocking traffic.)
-Obviously anyone threatening, using abusive language or creating a hazard to the other party is not acceptable.
If anyone uses abusive or threatening language or gestures, etc., call the Sheriff Dispatcher at 379-7625. DO NOT try to handle it yourself, but call as soon as possible with your location and follow the instructions of the dispatcher until assistance arrives.