Cyclists at Stop Signs

Question

Colleen asked: My daughter was riding her bicycle in the bike lane on roads of a Florida college campus. She came to a 3-way stop and slowed but saw no one was coming and continued thru the intersection. She then crossed onto the sidewalk where a police officer was waiting to give her a citation for not stopping at the stop sign. He stated that she was a vehicle because she was on the road. He then gave her a citation for $173!!! Her bike didn’t even cost $80!! He also told her that she would need to take a driver’s improvement course in order to avoid points on her license. It seems that this may not be the case. I am just asking because there seems to be some gray areas. Can you tell me which if any of this violation is truly a violation and if the police is giving her the correct information?

Answer

Your daughter was operating a vehicle and had the same rights and duties as other drivers.

s. 316.2065Bicycle 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 under this chapter, except as to special regulations in this chapter, and except as to provisions of this chapter which by their nature can have no application.

If the officer said the bicycle was a vehicle because it was in the road that is not correct. A bicycle is, by definition, a vehicle, wherever it may be.

s. 316.003Definitions

(2) Bicycle – Every vehicle propelled solely by human power ….

A bicycle is not a motor vehicle.

(21) Motor Vehicle – …. a self-propelled vehicle …. but not including any bicycle, ….

When on the sidewalk, a bicycle is still a vehicle, but the operator has the rights and duties of a pedestrian. For example, the cyclist must still use lights at night when on the sidewalk, but with the rights and duties of a pedestrian, would not need to stop before crossing the roadway in a crosswalk unless a pedestrian sign or signal so indicated. Whether on the sidewalk or the roadway, the cyclist must comply with the applicable traffic laws.

The amount of the fine seems to be in line with other moving violations, which also includes court costs. Those may vary according to the jurisdiction.

A bicyclist does not receive points for a violation of the traffic statutes since the points are for drivers of motor vehicles, which require a driver’s license. See this post:

http://flbikelaw.org/2009/08/points-for-bicyclists-violations/

Posted in Ask Geo, Misc, Sidewalks & Crosswalks, Stop Signs & Red Lights
2 comments on “Cyclists at Stop Signs
  1. The daughter was not a vehicle, but her bicycle was.

    Traffic fine amounts can ordinarily be checked on the website of the Clerk of Courts of the respective county. For example, the Alachua County Clerk of Courts’ table of traffic fines is at http://alachuacounty.us/Depts/Clerk/Traffic%20Citations/Pages/traffic-fines.aspx .

  2. Gary Crites sr says:

    The cyclist think they can do what they want when riding,because no law enforcement agency enforces the laws the fdle should do something. About this, most of these accidents happen,because law enforce won’t enforce the law,they even see the riders disregard the law.

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