Jocelyn asked: I am going into middle school and I have to ride my bike and I don’t know if I can ride on the sidewalk or if I have to ride in the road?
There is no state law requiring or prohibiting cyclists’ use of the sidewalk. There may be a city or county ordinance that could prohibit sidewalk use.
When on the sidewalk or crosswalk, cyclists have the same rights and duties as a pedestrian, must yield to pedestrians and signal when passing.
s. 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations
(10) A person propelling a vehicle by human power upon or 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.
(11) A person propelling a bicycle upon or 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.
Note that the operator of a bicycle on the sidewalk is still operating a vehicle, and is not a pedestrian. Other statutes about helmets, lights, etc. still apply.
Sidewalks are designed for pedestrians, and bicyclists on the sidewalk must exercise “due care” to avoid a collision with a pedestrian. Speeds should be commensurate with the conditions. Simply yelling “passing” and blowing by a pedestrian is not only rude, it is also a violation of the statutes.
Riding on the sidewalk, particularly against the flow of traffic in the roadway, is hazardous:
- At intersections and driveways, motorists are not expecting traffic from the right.
- Bicyclists on the sidewalk may not be able to see traffic signs and signals.
Before using the sidewalk, ask your school officials or the local police if there is a local ordinance prohibiting sidewalk bicycling.
See the other posts in the “sidewalk” and “crosswalk” tags for more information.