Jaywalking on a Bicycle


Eric asked:  Here is a news article that has a lot of things wrong with it.


But it did make me wonder. Can the police demand that you identify yourself in Florida? Demand that you show ID? Does being on a bicycle make any difference or are cyclists treated like pedestrians in this case?  Can they arrest and detain someone for jaywalking — or only detain them while issuing a citation? Can they use the jay walking charge against someone riding a bicycle?


When riding on the sidewalk, a bicyclist has the rights and duties of a pedestrian, but is still operating a vehicle.  See the posts in the tag cloud about “sidewalks.”

When on the roadway, a bicyclist has the same rights and duties as other drivers.

A cyclist in the roadway is operating a vehicle and the violation could not be a pedestrian violation except as follows.  There is one set of circumstances in which a cyclist could be “jaywalking.”

Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary

Jaywalk – to cross a street at a place other than a regular crossing or in a heedless manner, as diagonally or against a traffic light.

When on a sidewalk or crosswalk, a bicyclist has the rights and duties of a pedestrian, but is operating a vehicle.  Lights, helmets, etc. still are required under some circumstances.

s. 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations

(9) A person propelling 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.

A pedestrian must comply with all traffic control devices.

s. 316.130Pedestrians; Traffic Regulations

(1) A pedestrian shall obey the instructions of any official traffic control device specifically applicable to the pedestrian unless otherwise directed by a police officer.

(2) Pedestrians shall be subject to traffic control signals at intersections

A bicyclist on the sidewalk or crosswalk has the duty of a pedestrian to comply with the traffic light.  If the cyclist crosses against the light while on the crosswalk, the cyclist is in violation of the statute above.  That apparently is “jaywalking” according to the Webster’s definition.  However, if a citation is issued for “jaywalking” rather than quoting the statute above that is violated, the cyclist or pedestrian in similar circumstances could likely prevail at traffic court, since there is no statutory definition of “jaywalking.”

A cyclist would not be “jaywalking” if crossing the street “at a place other than a regular crossing or in a heedless manner” , therefore not on a sidewalk or crosswalk, since it is only there that the cyclist has the rights and duties of a pedestrian.

Concerning identification:

A driver’s license is not required to operate a bicycle.  See the posts about citations, drivers’ licenses and identification.  Pedestrians and bicyclists are not required to have drivers’ licenses or other identification on their person.

However, if you are stopped for a violation, you must be able to properly identify yourself for obvious reasons.  If not, the officer can detain you until you are correctly identified.  Most police vehicles are equipped with computers that can retrieve your driver’s license, so the officer will be able to verify your ID.  If you don’t have a driver’s license, providing proper ID may be difficult but is still necessary.  Carrying proper ID is recommended.

Concerning the arrest:

Without seeing the citation, we don’t know the actual charge.  It appears the person in the article was not arrested for the jaywalking violation, but rather for refusing the officer’s demand for identification.

The penalties imposed for violations of the Bicycle Regulations are treated as pedestrian violations, except as noted in those regulations.

s. 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations

(20) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a pedestrian violation as provided in chapter 318.

Other violations in the roadway are treated as vehicle violations.  For example, running a red light is a moving vehicle violation.

What we usually call ”jaywalking” is a pedestrian violation. The violation was likely for crossing a street illegally, and under the pedestrian regulations would be a non-criminal traffic infraction.

s. 316.130 – Pedestrians; Traffic Regulations

(19) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction

Unless otherwise noted, a traffic violation is an infraction, and not punishable by arrest and incarceration, but the offender can be detained as appropriate to be cited. I believe the time of detention to effect the citation is legally considered an arrest.

s. 318.13 – Definitions

“Infraction” means a noncriminal violation …. but is not punishable by incarceration and for which there is no right to a trial by jury or a right to court-appointed counsel.

Even if the officer is not correct about a violation, it is recommended that we cooperate and address the citation in a proper manner.  See this post:


3 Comments on “Jaywalking on a Bicycle

  1. Ask Geo’s TLDR: Yes you can “Jaywalk” across an intersection on a bicycle. Yes you can be detained for refusing to show your ID as a result of Jaywalking, like this guy in Florida was….

  2. Please provide the statute that a bicyclist would be violating when “jaywalking” on a bicycle across an intersection.

  3. I did find one set of circumstances in which a cyclist could be “jaywalking.” I have revised the post accordingly.

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