Herman asked: If a cyclist is traveling down the road and an elderly person is about to step off of the sidewalk/curb but sees the cyclist and stops short and/or has a heart attack or some other “fear induced” reaction, could the cyclist be held accountable for the pedestrian’s injuries?
You will have to ask an attorney about potential liability. Assuming you are referring to a crosswalk, the following is the applicable statute, which would be the case whether it is a motor vehicle, human powered vehicle, horse or any other traffic.
s. 316.130 – Pedestrians; Traffic Regulations
(7)(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 crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian 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.
If there is no crosswalk, this would apply:
(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.