Keep Right on Bike Paths

Question

Chris asked:  Do any Florida laws apply to cyclists riding on bike paths?  Does each rider have a duty to stay to the right?

Answer

I don’t know of any case law on the topic, but I believe a good case can be made that the laws requiring drivers to “keep right” apply to bicyclists on bike paths.  Bicycles are vehicles.  If you look at the statutory definitions of highway, roadway and bike path, I would argue that a bike path meets the definition of highway and roadway.

s. 316.003 – Definitions

(63) Bicycle Path – Any road, path, or way that is open to bicycle travel, which road, path, or way is physically separated from motorized vehicular traffic by an open space or by a barrier and is located either within the highway right-of-way or within an independent right-of-way.

(53) Street or Highway

(a) The entire width between the boundary lines of every way or place of whatever nature when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular traffic;

(42) Roadway – That portion of a highway improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of the berm or shoulder.

A bicycle path is a roadway that is off-limits to motor vehicles.

s. 316.1995 – Driving Upon Sidewalk or Bicycle Path

(1) …. a person may not drive any vehicle other than by human power upon a bicycle path …

(Exception: Motorized wheelchair)

Another statute describes the responsibility for drivers to stay to the right when passing oncoming vehicles  wherever they may be.

s. 316.082 – Passing Vehicles Proceeding in Opposite Directions

(1) Drivers of vehicles proceeding in opposite directions shall pass each other to the right.

I doubt that anyone would question a cyclist’s responsibility to stop at a posted stop sign while on a bike path, even though there is no specific statement of such in the statutes.  The laws requiring lights apply to bicycles on bike paths even though that is not specified.  Other laws apply to bicycles on bike paths just as they would on other roadways.

Cyclists on bike paths have the responsibility to “keep right” as they do when on what we normally think of as the roadway.

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