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