Bicycles and Skateboards at Crosswalks

Question

Scott Asked:  In a recent email from the head of campus security, students were informed:

Bicycles and skateboards do not have the right of way at crosswalks or at any other time …. If you fail to stop before entering the road and you are struck by a vehicle, it is YOUR FAULT. (Emphasis his)

It was my understanding that bicycles did have right of way in a pedestrian crosswalk, and that any driver striking a bicycle would almost certainly be at fault, with very few exceptions.

Answer

The statement about right of way seems to conflict with the statutes.  The basic premise of the statutes is that bicyclists on sidewalks and crosswalks have the rights and duties of pedestrians.

s. 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations

(10) A person propelling a vehicle (A bicycle is 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.

Although not specified, skateboards would likely be included in the following description.

(12) No person upon roller skates, or riding in or by means of any coaster, toy vehicle, or similar device, may go upon any roadway except while crossing a street on a crosswalk; and, when so crossing, such person shall be granted all rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to pedestrians.

There is no state statutory requirement for a pedestrian (bicyclist or skateboarder) to stop before entering a crosswalk.

The operator of a motor vehicle must yield right-of-way if a pedestrian (bicyclist or skateboarder) is in the crosswalk.

s. 316.130 – Pedestrians; Traffic Regulations

(7)(b) The driver of a vehicle at any crosswalk where signage so indicates shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian (bicyclist or skateboarder) to cross a roadway when the pedestrian (bicyclist or skateboarder) 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 (bicyclist or skateboarder) is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.

(c) When traffic control signals are not in place or in operation and there is no signage indicating otherwise, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian (bicyclist or skateboarder) crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian ((bicyclist or skateboarder) is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian (bicyclist or skateboarder) is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.

Right of way in the crosswalk does not mean a person can step into the path of a motor vehicle which is too close to safely stop.

(8) No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.

There are other posts that address bicycles and crosswalks.  Note the comments and statute about the speed of the cyclist.

http://flbikelaw.org/2010/09/dismount-at-crosswalks/

http://flbikelaw.org/2010/08/crosswalks-and-turning-vehicles/

http://flbikelaw.org/2010/08/crosswalks-driveways-and-bicycles/

There may be a local ordinance or school regulation that is different from the state statutes, which is permissible if it does not conflict with the statutes.  The regulation may require stopping, but would not relieve the driver of the responsibilities of the statutes.  Check the school regulations before acting.

A confrontational approach is usually not the best way to deal with such situations.  Why not ask for a meeting and begin a dialog with the Security Department, show them this information and ask if they considered it?

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