Bicyclists on Sidewalk or Bike Lane Riding Against Traffic
Emilie asked: On Lake Mary Blvd., there are two car traffic lanes going west. There is a bicycle lane also. Can bicycles ride in the bicycle lane in the OPPOSITE direction on a one-way street, AGAINST THE TRAFFIC?
A bicycle actually ran into the passenger side of my car as I attempted to make a right turn (slowly), as I was attempting to turn right (west) onto a one way street. He may have been in the bicycle lane (going east, opposite of oncoming traffic) or he may have been on the sidewalk, going east, and attempted to go into the street to go around me. In any event, he and the bike skidded over my hood causing dents etc., but he seemed OK.
What is the law for bikers in the bike lane on a one-way street? Also, what is the law for bikers on the sidewalk on a one way street with a bike lane (in both cases, the biker would be traveling opposite the oncoming traffic.
Bicycles are vehicles and while in the roadway their operators have the rights and duties of other drivers unless specified in the statutes. If the bicyclist was in the roadway and riding against traffic, the cyclist is riding unlawfully. A marked bike lane is part of the roadway.
A paved shoulder that is not marked as a bike lane is not part of the roadway and the cyclist can legally ride in either direction.
Cyclists can use the sidewalk unless there is a local ordinance to the contrary, even if bike lanes are present on the roadway. A cyclist on the sidewalk has the rights and duties of a pedestrian and can legally ride in either direction.
If the cyclist was riding on the sidewalk in either direction, a motorist is required to yield to a bicyclist (with the rights and duties of a pedestrian) before crossing the sidewalk or crosswalk unless a traffic control signal (traffic light) indicates otherwise. See this post and the others under “Sidewalks and Crosswalks”:
The law implicitly assumes a motorist approaching a roadway on a driveway will have sufficient sight distance to detect and then yield to any cyclist approaching from left or right on the sidewalk (i.e., where sidewalk riding isn’t prohibited by local ordinance), but this isn’t always the case; shrubbery, a tree, a sign, a fence, etc., may restrict the view. In that case, motorists often creep forward to approach the edge of the roadway, blocking the sidewalk. Pedestrians and runners will typically go behind the motorist in this case.
For a sidewalk rider traveling at a higher speed (I occasionally see sidewalk riders who appear to be doing 15 mph or faster), though, turning quickly to go behind a motorist who appears unexpectedly and advances across the sidewalk is less practical–or perhaps the cyclist imagines there is still time to scoot in front of the vehicle.
Pedestrians and biker are still required to yield and look at intersections, if a vehicle is there before they get in the crosswalk then they should yield to the vehicle. This has been my complaint about bicycles on sidewalks, they appear out of nowhere and travel at high speeds and after dark when they have no lights you can’t see them. I would say that crosswalks are controlled by who ever is there first, if a vehicle is turning and a bike comes off the sidewalk and runs into the side of the vehicle, crossing the crosswalk, the biker is at fault for not yielding. The biker has the responsibility of having their bike under control too, and ride according to conditions. This is just my opinion, I am not a lawyer.