Bicycles on Sidewalks 2

Question

Bob asked:  I was told by a University police officer yesterday that I had to use the bike lane (as opposed to riding on the adjacent sidewalk, which I was doing at the moment).  Is that correct?  I thought bicyclists still had the option to use the sidewalk, regardless of whether a bike lane on the street is present.  I think there’s a lot of confusion whether HB 971 prohibits sidewalk bicycle riding when the street has a bike lane.  My reading of HB 971 doesn’t address any changes in rights of bicycles to sidewalks.

Answer

Your reading of HB 971 is correct.  The change that will occur when the provisions of HB 971 go into effect on September 1 has nothing to do with riding a bicycle on the sidewalk, whether there is a bicycle lane or not.  That change only applies to cyclists in the roadway, as does the rest of that subsection of the bicycle regulations.  When amended, it will read as follows:

s. 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations

(5)(a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride in the lane marked for bicycle use or, if no lane is marked for bicycle use, as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway ….

(And let’s not forget about all the exceptions in the law that allow cyclists to leave the ride side of the roadway, and situations that require a cyclist to use correct roadway position avoid unsafe conditions and other reasons.)

A sidewalk is not part of the roadway.

There is no Florida statute that prohibits cyclists from using the sidewalk.  See:

http://flbikelaw.org/2012/11/bicycles-on-sidewalks/ – more-1196

The university may have regulations that do prohibit cyclists from using sidewalks.  Check with the university police department.

Posted in Ask Geo, Sidewalks & Crosswalks Tagged with:
5 comments on “Bicycles on Sidewalks 2
  1. Frank says:

    What about going across crosswalks?

    Do you need to walk the bike? or can you ride across if you’re on the sidewalk already?

  2. Geo says:

    There is nothing in the Florida statutes that prohibits riding a bicycle across a roadway in a crosswalk. The following subsection of the bicycle regulations applies:

    s. 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations
    (10) A person propelling a vehicle by human power upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.

    I am aware of one local ordinance at a state university that requires dismounting to cross a crosswalk, and there are signs that state that. There may be others.

  3. euallia V says:

    Bicyclists are RUDE, sophomoric and dangerous to those of us walking on sidewalks. They come from behind us, making no noise, expecting – no arrogantly demanding – that WE move off the “WALKWAY” so they can breeze through. When walking a dog, they have an almost challenging desire to come up behind us to scare the dog into going after them. Don’t they KNOW that a dog will defend its master if they perceive an attack is pending? HOW STUPID ARE THESE self appointed anarchist of the side WALK! It would be called a bicycle path, a roadway for bikes rather than a WALK way or sidewalk! The LEAST a bicyclist can do is say something like “coming around” loudly at some 30 feet before they get to us. ARROGORANCE is a stupid behavior when you want ME to do something for YOU!! And YES, I DO ride a bike!

    • Mary Ann says:

      This just happened to me on Monday 11/25/2013. I was walking my two dogs when a bike came up behind me on the sidewalk. I didn’t even know he was there. One of my dogs reacted and bite the man. I have gotten two citations from animal control and will be fighting them in court. My dog was only doing what he should be doing protecting his master. I did not even know what was happening until after my dog bit the man.

  4. Geo says:

    Bicyclists are not the cause of your concern. Some are polite and slow before passing and say “passing on your left please” then wait until you acknowledge their passing. That is what I do when on the sidewalk, which is seldom.

    Your problem is people who are rude and obnoxious.

    You will find similar people driving motor vehicles when you are riding a bicycle in a narrow lane and legally impeding their progress (“Get on the sidewalk where you belong”). You will also encounter them if you are driving a motor vehicle and they believe you are not going as fast as they would like and they can’t pass (Tailgating and unsafe passing at inopportune times). If you have ever walked the busy sidewalks of New York you will know that you can’t slowly meander and enjoy the scenery. You will be impolitely ushered to the gutter by those who are in a hurry. You will also find them if you ride a bicycle on a bike path and hinder their passage.

    If you want to solve the problem of rude bicyclists on the sidewalk, you only need to ignore them. Pedestrians on the sidewalk have the absolute right of way. Bicyclists must yield to them. You are not required to move out of their way.

    s. 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations
    (10) A person propelling a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian.

    That means they must slow or even stop to avoid colliding with a pedestrian.

Leave a Reply