Crosswalks and Turning Vehicles

Question

Debbie asked:  I was riding on a sidewalk/bike path.  Headed west had green at intersection.  A car headed east had a green light and was stopped in left lane, then turned left.  I caught her out of the corner of my eye as I entered crosswalk, slammed on the brakes before either she hit me or I hit her.  There was no contact with vehicle but I was injured.  Who has the right of way?  Would her auto insurance cover bills and loss of work?

Answer

Bicyclists on the sidewalk have the same rights and duties as pedestrians.

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.

Drivers must yield to bicyclists (Same rights as a pedestrian) in a crosswalk or so close as to be in danger.

s. 316.130 – Pedestrians; Traffic Regulations

(7)(a) The driver of a vehicle at an intersection that has a traffic control signal in place shall stop before entering the crosswalk and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian, with a permitted signal, to cross a roadway when the pedestrian is in the crosswalk or steps into the crosswalk and is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.

Drivers must yield to pedestrians and other vehicles within the intersection.

s. 316.075 – Traffic Control Signal Devices

(1)  …. the lights shall indicate and apply to drivers of vehicles and pedestrians as follows:

(a) Green indication

1. Vehicular traffic facing a circular green signal may proceed cautiously straight through or turn right or left unless a sign at such place prohibits either such turn. But vehicular traffic, including vehicles turning right or left, shall yield the right-of-way to other vehicles and to pedestrians lawfully within the intersection or an adjacent crosswalk at the time such signal is exhibited.

Drivers turning left must yield to other vehicles approaching from the opposite direction.  The statute does not say that the vehicle must be in the roadway.

s. 316.122 – Vehicle Turning Left

The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection …. shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction …. which is within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.

To determine fault in this incident, it would be necessary to know the speed of the cyclist and whether the cyclist was (reasonably) so close as to constitute an immediate hazard when the motorist entered the crosswalk.

To determine if the costs incurred will be covered by insurance, you should contact your insurance company and that of the driver.  You should provide the information above to your attorney who will be able to assist with insurance information and the determination of fault.

Posted in Ask Geo, Sidewalks & Crosswalks Tagged with: ,
3 comments on “Crosswalks and Turning Vehicles
  1. Richard Froh says:

    For one’s own safety and the safety of other crosswalk users, I recommend walking one’s bike across crosswalks.

    From bicyclist safety perspective, this is because motorists are expecting either a) vehicles at vehicle speeds operating as vehicles in typical vehicle locations, or b) pedestrians stopping/proceeding as pedestrians within the crosswalk. Riding a bicycle across an intersection from sidewalk (whether previously stopped, or othersise) can place an unreasonable burden upon crossing motorists, who are expecting “normal” traffic in “normal” locations and at “normal” speeds. The same is true for any sidewalk riding where bicyclists are crossing driveways and intersections at two to four times the speed that motorists are prepared to encounter pedestrians.

    Many pedestrians do not appreciate having to dodge (or worry about dodging) bicyclists who are using crosswalks and sidewalks.

    Choosing to operate one’s bicycle as a pedestrian by riding it on sidewalks (side paths, multi-use trails – they are all the same) places the burden on the bicyclist to warn slower sidewalk users and to avoid them. Choosing to operate one’s bicycle as a “rolling pedestrian” is just like operating as a running pedestrian – it is best to slow down to walking speed whenever there are potential pedestrian or vehicular traffic conflicts.

    Can a motorist REASONABLY be expected to accommodate a bicyclist who is traveling at 2 to 5 times walking speed in a crosswalk? Are pedestrian crosswalk / street intersections and their traffic patterns and signal timings designed to protect “pedestrians” (bicyclists) traveling 8 to 20 mph in crosswalks? The answer to both these questions is “no”.

    Bicyclists have a choice to either operate in roads as vehicles (except where and as specifically restricted by statute) or on sidewalks as pedestrians. When bicyclists try to “mix” the two formats of bicycling, bad things will happen. So we must choose our perferred mode of riding and accept the consequences of our choice.

  2. Francis X. says:

    The problem with walking my bicycle across the crosswalk, would be that between me and my destination, there are literally 100 cross streets, and riding on the only (1) lane is out of the question, because it’s just too dangerous.. If i had to stop at every cross walk and walk my bike across, and then ride again and then at the next crosswalk, get off my bike and walk it across again, it would literally take me 4 hours to get where i’m going….

    MY question is, is there a statute, stating that I MUST walk my bike across a crosswalk or not.

  3. Geo says:

    Francis,

    Please see the post today about this. http://flbikelaw.org/2010/09/dismount-at-crosswalks/

    Richard,

    Please see the link above which supports your statement about a higher responsibility for bicyclists on sidewalks. While many might agree with your position, this site is intended to discuss the statutes. Many believe that sidewalk riding is safer than the roadway. The stats don’t necessarily bear that out. Riding on some sidewalks under some circumstances can be very dangerous for a lot of reasons, partly due to complacency and false sense of security. Since it is permitted by the statutes, our goal is to inform all of the statutory requirements. There are other sources of safe cycling practices. We recommend that everyone utilize those and become fully informed of all cycling hazards, but that is not the purpose of this site.

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