Drivers and Cyclists at Driveways

Question

Pris asked:  I was traveling on my bicycle on the sidewalk.  The driver of the car had a stop sign (on private property) He was only looking to the left to see oncoming traffic, did not look to the right, and hit me.  The policeman did not give him a ticket saying we both should have yielded.  I did not have a stop sign, the driver did and he hit me.  What are the rules on that?

Answer

A bicyclist on the sidewalk has the same rights and responsibilities as a pedestrian.

s. 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations

(10)  A person propelling a vehicle by human power upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway and along a crosswalk, has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.

The pedestrian regulations caution drivers to avoid colliding with a pedestrian or bicyclist.

s. 316.130 – Pedestrian Obedience to Traffic Control Devices and Traffic Regulations

(15)  …. every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or person propelling a human-powered vehicle ….

As we would expect, drivers must stop at stop signs and yield to cross traffic, including bicycles on the sidewalk.

s. 316.123 – Vehicle Entering Stop or Yield Intersection

(1)  The right-of-way at an intersection may be indicated by stop signs ….

(2)(a)  … every driver of a vehicle approaching a stop intersection indicated by a stop sign shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering the intersection.  After having stopped, the driver shall yield right-of-way to any vehicle which has entered the intersection from another highway or which is approaching so closely on said highway as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time when the driver is moving across or within the intersection.

(3)  If such a driver is involved in a collision with a pedestrian in a crosswalk or a vehicle in the intersection, after driving past a yield sign without stopping, the collision shall be deemed prima facie evidence of the driver’s failure to yield right-of-way.

Three definitions are needed to fully understand the obligations of the driver.

  • The highway indicated in the statute includes the sidewalk.
  • A crosswalk is delineated by the lines connecting the sidewalk across a roadway, and can be marked or unmarked.
  • The driveway is part of a roadway.

s. 316.003 – Definitions

(53)  Street or Highway

(a)  The entire width between the boundary lines of every way or place of whatever nature when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for the purposes of vehicular traffic ….

(6)  Crosswalk

(a) That part of a roadway at an intersection included within the connections of the lateral lines of the sidewalks on opposite sides of the highway ….

(42)  Roadway

(a)  That part of a highway improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel…

There is a specific statute that applies to drivers entering a roadway from a driveway which requires drivers to stop and yield to all vehicles and pedestrians before crossing a sidewalk.

s. 316.125 – Vehicle Entering Highway from Private Road or Driveway or Emerging from Alley, Driveway or Building

(2)  The driver of a vehicle emerging from a … driveway within a business or residence district shall stop the vehicle immediately prior to driving onto a sidewalk or onto a sidewalk area extending across the … driveway … , shall stop at the point nearest the street to be entered where the driver has a view of approaching traffic thereon and shall yield to all vehicles and pedestrians which are so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.

Although they have the responsibility to be aware of bicycles on sidewalks, drivers do not expect traffic from the right such as a cyclist traveling against traffic in the roadway or on a sidewalk, and frequently do not look to the right.

Judging from the information provided, the driver should have looked and yielded to the bicyclist.

One possible mitigating circumstance might be the speed of the cyclist.  Although there is no specific speed restriction on a sidewalk other than the due care of the cyclist, we should keep in mind that sidewalks are designed for pedestrians and excessive speeds are not appropriate.

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