Motorist Entering the Roadway

Question

Kathy asked: I hit a bicyclist yesterday. I did not see him. He’s okay. His bike will need a new front wheel. Thankfully, it was a very slow/low impact accident as I had just put my vehicle in first gear. I was pulling out of the drive onto a 6 lane divided highway and turning to my right to join the westbound traffic. The cyclist was traveling due east on the sidewalk. This 6 lane divided highway has bicycle lanes and the cyclist was on the sidewalk riding against traffic instead of with traffic. I was cited for failure to yield. I was stunned. Isn’t there also a law for cyclists about riding with traffic? I’m confused.

Answer

When in the roadway, a cyclist is operating a vehicle and must ride on the right with other traffic.

s. 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations

(1) Every person propelling a vehicle by human power has all of the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle

When on a sidewalk, a bicyclist has the rights and duties of a pedestrian and there is no requirement to walk or cycle in a particular direction.

(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 motorist entering the roadway from a driveway is required to stop at the sidewalk or sidewalk area and yield to pedestrians (and bicyclists with the rights and duties of pedestrians).

s. 316.125Vehicle Entering Highway from Private Road or Driveway or Emerging from Alley, Driveway or Building

(2) The driver of a vehicle emerging from an alley, building, private road or driveway within a business or residence district shall stop the vehicle immediately prior to driving onto a sidewalk or onto the sidewalk area extending across the alley, building entrance, road or driveway, or in the event there is no sidewalk area, shall stop at the point nearest the street to be entered where the driver has a view of approaching traffic thereon and shall yield to all vehicles and pedestrians which are so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.

This is a common occurrence and one of the reasons that cyclists using the sidewalk, although it is lawful, are strongly cautioned to use extra care. Drivers do not expect traffic from the right on the sidewalk, paved shoulder or the roadway. Typically they do not look to the right for pedestrian or vehicular traffic.

If cyclists do use a sidewalk, riding in the same direction of roadway traffic reduces the hazard somewhat.

There are many other reasons cycling on sidewalks is hazardous that are discussed in other posts on this site.

Posted in Ask Geo, Sidewalks & Crosswalks Tagged with: , , , , , ,
11 comments on “Motorist Entering the Roadway
  1. Dwight says:

    In crashes of sidewalk cyclists with motorists coming out of driveways, cyclists riding in the direction opposed to adjacent roadway traffic outnumber cyclists riding with traffic by better than 5 to 1. As Geo noted, a driver entering a roadway from a driveway concentrates their attention to the left; a sidewalk user coming from the right often goes unseen. Walkers and runners who use sidewalks will often detour behind the motorist in this situation; it takes less time than trying to get the motorist’s attention. Sidewalk riders usually go faster, so it’s less convenient for them to go behind the motorist.

  2. SpecialFX says:

    Kathy,

    What town was this in?

  3. If there is no sidewalk or shoulder available, then pedestrians must proceed as near as practicable to an outside edge of the roadway and, if the roadway is a two-way roadway, only on the left side of it. ORS 814.070(1)(e). Thus, while bicyclists have a “right to the road” (so long as they ride as far to the right as practicable on a two-way street in traffic), pedestrians do not have a right to the road and must yield to vehicles except when in a crosswalk.

  4. Silver Ghost says:

    When a cyclist is riding on a sidewalk and encounters a crosswalk, does not he [she] have the responsibility to stop riding and walk the crosswalk…since the cyclist…”has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances”?

  5. Geo says:

    There is no requirement to walk a bicycle across a crosswalk.

    “A person propelling a vehicle by human power …. upon and along a crosswalk” has the rights and duties of a pedestrian, but is not a pedestrian. The person is operating a bicycle which is a vehicle.

  6. Geo says:

    Charmaine,
    It appears your comment is based on a statute that is not Florida, since the wording is a little different. The content is essentially the same though. What is ORS? My guess: Oregon?

  7. Dwight says:

    ORS=Oregon Revised Statutes. ORS 814.070 can be found at http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors/814.html .

    In discussing pedestrians’ “right to the road”, we should keep in mind that state traffic codes (generally) define “road” and/or “highway” to include the entire expanse of the public right-of-way on which the “roadway” is built; the “roadway” excludes shoulders, sidewalks, and other parts of the right-of-way not improved for vehicular travel. State traffic codes in the US do not deny pedestrians’ right to travel on public roads/highways–except those that are freeways or other limited-access highways. They do subject pedestrian use of the “roadway” itself, outside crosswalks, to strictly limited conditions.

  8. Emory Reese says:

    176 (1) The driver of a vehicle in a business or residence district and emerging from an alley, driveway, building or private road must stop the vehicle immediately before driving onto the sidewalk or the sidewalk area extending across an alleyway or private driveway, and must yield the right of way to a pedestrian on the sidewalk or sidewalk area.

  9. Keithmj says:

    If you have noticed most bike riders on the sidewalk are traveling at a higher speed than a pedestrian, some are going as fast as they can and you can look to the right and then left and pull out and the biker gets hit. He came out of nowhere. Bicyclists on the sidewalk should be required to yield to vehicles also, they are just as responsible for any accident since they are riding on the sidewalk. If they are on the sidewalk they should be on the same side as the traffic is going, going the same direction. This would cut down on some of the accidents, which can be avoided.

    • Dwight says:

      “Motorist drive-out at midblock location” is a common crash type; it accounted for 7% of all bicycle-motor vehicle crashes in a six-state study of 3000 bicycle-MV crashes conducted in the 1990s. 88% of the 207 cyclists involved in midblock motorist drive-out crashes were riding in known positions on the roadway or sidewalk; of these, 55% were riding on the sidewalk (the one the motorist crossed) and 45% were riding on the roadway. Of the cyclists who were riding on the sidewalk, 85% came from the motorist’s right.

  10. Geo says:

    Keithmj,

    While you are correct that riding in the direction of roadway traffic when on the sidewalk is recommended, what you are proposing is not currently the law. Bicyclists on the sidewalk are not necessarily responsible for crashes. They have the rights and duties of pedestrians when on the sidewalk or crosswalk. Numerous posts on this site discuss the responsibilities of bicyclists on sidewalks and crosswalks.

    If you want to change the laws, you must participate in the legislative process. I suggest sending your proposals to FBA for their consideration and possible inclusion in their legislative agenda.

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