Limited Access Facilities
Nathan asked: s. 316.091 says “no person shall operate upon a limited access facility any bicycle”. (Apparently there can be exceptions in Jacksonville, but it’s not clear whether there actually are.) It’s pretty obvious that Interstates and most toll roads are limited access. But how would one identify whether an edge case qualifies?
Limited Access Facility – A street or highway especially designed for through traffic and over, from, or to which owners or occupants of abutting land or other persons have no right or easement, or only a limited right or easement, of access, light, air, or view by reason of the fact that their property abuts upon such limited access facility or for any other reason. Such highways or streets may be parkways from which trucks, buses, and other commercial vehicles are excluded; or they may be freeways open to use by all customary forms of street and highway traffic.
(Apparently a bicycle is not a customary form of traffic?)
This definition is very broad. Many surface roads have access limited such that a property owner can e.g. only build one driveway. There is no access to a bridge at all. Other roads may have no private access, but intersections with public roads. (Parts of John Young Parkway and Maitland Boulevard in the Orlando area, and those portions of Jacksonville’s Southside Boulevard with frontage roads, for example.) All of these fit the definition, yet obviously are not intended to be prohibited to cyclists.
The best edge cases I can think of are the Acosta Bridge and Main Street Bridge in Jacksonville. They have no property access by virtue of being bridges, but are also accessed by ramps at each end (the south end of each feeding into I-95).
Is it reasonable to assume that a lack of signs prohibiting cyclists from a road means that one can use it?
I’m not sure, but I believe your assumption is pretty safe.
For a specific roadway such as those you mention you may want to contact local authorities. Your local police or Sheriff’s Office should be able to answer your question about a specific roadway.
In Jacksonville, the North Florida Bicycle Club has rides that regularly use some of the bridges. I’m not sure which, but you can go to NFBC.us and see their maps or contact them. The City of Jacksonville government also has a new Bike/Ped Advisory Committee that may be able to answer your question.
For Orlando, check with the Bike/Ped Office or CommuteOrlando.com
FBA has tried to get legislation to allow bicycles on some limited access highways. As far as I know, that is still pending. If you aren’t a member, you may want too join so you will have access to information on issues such as this. They also have participants that are experts in the field. Go to Floridabicycle.org