Dismount at Crosswalks?
J asked: My wife and I rode our bicycles to a (football) game tonight. We were riding down xxxx Street, through traffic, when we were politely redirected by a police officer to follow the pedestrians because it “would be safer.” We followed/avoided pedestrians and came to the main crosswalk to the stadium. Still steering clear of pedestrians, we crossed through the crosswalk and were told by police that we were not allowed to ride our bicycles through the crosswalk. We immediately dismounted our bikes. I would love to keep riding bikes to games, but what’s the deal here?
The location of the incident is removed since we want to discuss the laws and not specify communities or agencies.
There is no state statute that requires bicyclists to dismount when crossing a roadway within a crosswalk. When on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk, bicyclists have the same rights a 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.
Bicyclists must always yield to pedestrians on a sidewalk or crosswalk, and must give an audible signal before passing.
(11) 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.
Giving the audible signal does not relieve cyclists of the responsibility to yield to pedestrians. In other words, cyclists cannot expect pedestrians to get out of the way just because they yell at them. Sidewalks and crosswalks are first and foremost for pedestrians.
Bicyclists have a further responsibility to reduce speed and exercise due care to avoid colliding with pedestrians. I believe crowds of pedestrians could be interpreted as one of the special hazards indicated in this statute.
s. 316.185 – Special Hazards
The fact that the speed of a vehicle is lower than the prescribed limits shall not relieve the driver from the duty to decrease speed …. when special hazards exist or may exist with respect to pedestrians or other traffic …. and speed shall be decreased as may be necessary to avoid colliding with any person, vehicle, or other conveyance on or entering the street in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to use due care. The sidewalk is part of the “street or highway” in the statutory definition.
None of the above indicates a requirement to dismount, but does indicate a higher responsibility of a cyclist on a sidewalk or crosswalk.
There may be a local ordinance in effect or special order for such events which does require additional actions of cyclists on sidewalks and crosswalks.
I recommend taking this information to the police department in question and asking them to clarify the rules that you and others must follow for these events. If different from the above, ask them for reference to any statutes, ordinances or regulations that are the basis for their statements. You might also ask them to publicize the requirements for all attendees for these events so everyone will understand the rules. Please advise me of the response.