Sidewalks and Bike Lanes

Question

Aimee asked:  I am aware that in Orange County, Florida riding the sidewalks is acceptable, but are the bike riders required to ride with the flow of traffic?  And is it required to use the bike lanes, if they are there, instead of the sidewalk?

Answer

Bicyclists may always use sidewalks unless prohibited by a local ordinance, even if there is a bike lane in the roadway.  When in the roadway, the cyclist must use the bike lane under some circumstances.

A cyclist on the sidewalk has all the rights and duties of a pedestrian and there is no directional requirement as there is in a bike lane, which is a part of the roadway.

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.

There is much more about sidewalks and bike lanes in the posts under those subjects in the tag cloud.

Posted in Ask Geo, Bike Lanes Tagged with: , , ,
7 comments on “Sidewalks and Bike Lanes
  1. Dwight says:

    We should probably note that, within City of Orlando, “No person shall ride a bicycle on a sidewalk within the corporate limits of the City unless the sidewalk has been designated for joint use as a bicycle path and posted with appropriate signs indicating such use” (section 10.15(1), City Code).

    Where cycling on the sidewalk is legal, sidewalk riders may find it preferable to ride in the direction of adjacent street traffic, even though this is not required. Crash statistics suggest that sidewalk riders who ride in the direction opposed to street traffic experience collisions with motorists at side streets and driveways at 3 to 4 times the rate of sidewalk riders who ride in the direction of street traffic.

  2. NE2 (Nathan) says:

    Note that there is also no legal requirement to ride with traffic when using a shoulder, but this is recommended for safety reasons.

  3. Jessica says:

    I’m conflicted about the issue of sidewalk cycling in Windsor. In other communities I’ve lived in, I’ve rarely felt the desire or need to get up onto the sidewalk, but I have to say that I resort to taking the sidewalk here on a number of occasions. I fully support the idea of getting bikes onto the road (a) because they belong there, and (b) to develop a biking culture, but Looking at the reasons why I do this, I’d say it s mostly safety and convenience, or some mix thereof:1) I got my bike lights stolen the other day and I won’t bike on the road at night without them.2) Certain streets (like University West) are bike lane equipped, but they’re also six lanes and fairly heavily trafficked, and if you’re only going a couple of blocks, it seems not worth it to switch to the other side of the street3) Roads like Tecumseh are far too dangerous to bike on, in my opinion. I take side streets around it as much as possible, but once there, I take the sidewalk at slow speeds, watching all four directions at each intersection. I realize that it’s against the law to bike on the sidewalk, but I’d rather be alive than right. Part of my hesitation comes from encounters with drivers in this town. I almost got sideswiped by a van on Campbell a little while ago, and I confronted the driver when he pulled into a plaza shortly afterwards. I told him that he had nearly killed me, and his basic position was that I shouldn’t have been on the road to begin with, and that I deserved whatever I got. I want to see bikes on the road, but again, I’d rather be alive than right.

    • Diana says:

      I would like to know why people believe bicycles belong in the street. I ride often and would never consider riding on the street. When I am driving an automobile on the street, I find it annoying that there are cyclists sharing the road. I don’t mind as much when there is no sidewalk, but when I see a cyclist on the street and riding right next to a sidewalk I don’t know why they would rather be in the street.

  4. Geo says:

    Diana,

    Bicycles are vehicles. Roadways are intended for use by vehicles. Sidewalks are intended for pedestrians. Bicyclists have the rights and duties of other drivers in the roadway. Bike lanes are part of the roadway. Bicyclists are permitted to use sidewalks unless prohibited by local ordinance, and when doing so have the rights and duties of pedestrians.

    Imagine a bicyclist traveling at 20-30 mph on a sidewalk for example. Extremely dangerous for the cyclist and pedestrians! Many hazards to cyclists are present on sidewalks.

    There are many posts on this site that quote that applicable laws and discuss the details.

    • Karl says:

      If a town or city ha s a designated /dedicated lane for bicycles why allow a bicycle on a sidewalk designated for pedestrians?

  5. Geo says:

    It should be noted that pedestrians are not permitted to use bike paths unless so designated and signed.

    Sec. 10.16. – Riding on Bicycle Paths; Joint Use as Sidewalks

    (2) No person shall walk on a bicycle path within the corporate limits of the City unless the bicycle path has been designated for joint use as a sidewalk and posted with appropriate signs indicating such use.

    (4) Whenever a bicycle path has been designated and signposted for joint use as a sidewalk, pedestrians walking thereon shall yield the right-of-way to bicyclists riding on the bicycle path. Bicyclists shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian on the bicycle path.

    See this post:
    http://flbikelaw.org/2014/11/bells-on-bikes/

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