Yield to Bicycles in Crosswalks

Question

Liubov asked: On June 11th, 2014, while I was riding my bike I became a victim of crash. I was hit by truck which was turning from parking lot entrance, joining a main road. I was riding my bike on sidewalk on the intersection which has no bike lines on both sides of the road. I stopped before crossing the entrance from parking lot, it was right light for me to begin crossing, a truck was standing ready to turn to its right. For the truck, it was red light of the traffic light. Because truck was standing before road crossing I began crossing and in this moment, I was hit by the truck. I did not see my fault in this accident but later, when I was in emergency room a policeman bring me a ticket, which noted that I was riding on side road, facing traffic, which is not true and I told the policeman I was riding on sidewalk before I was taking by emergency to hospital. When I told the policeman that it is clear lie and I was riding on sidewalk I was told I have no any rights to ride my bike on sidewalk anyway. I set up the court day to decline the ticket because it is not right and I feel like I was discriminated by police because English is my second language and I speak with an accent. The question is: Can I ride my bike on sidewalk, where road has no bike lanes on both sides and intersection is pretty dangerous for bike to ride on side road?

PS: I know the answer because I ride my bike up to 5 times a week on the same sidewalk and I know Florida bike law but I need it in print so I can take it with me on court day.

Answer

Unless there is a local ordinance prohibiting sidewalk cycling, it is legal throughout Florida, whether there are bike lanes or not. Bicyclists in a crosswalk, marked as a crosswalk or not, have the rights and duties of pedestrians. See this post and the others in the category:

http://flbikelaw.org/category/sidewalks-crosswalks/page/2/

If the roadway is regulated by traffic control signals, that is, traffic lights, the driver with a red light must stop and yield to pedestrians (bicyclists with the rights and duties of pedestrians) in the crosswalk. From what you describe, it appears the truck ran the red light when you were in the crosswalk, an obvious violation.

s. 316.130 – Pedestrians; Traffic Regulations

(7)(a)The driver of a vehicle at an intersection that has a traffic control signal in place shall stop before entering the crosswalk and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian, with a permitted signal, to cross a roadway when the pedestrian is in the crosswalk or steps into the crosswalk and is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.

This post applies to bicyclists in crosswalks with stop signs for the crossing traffic.

http://flbikelaw.org/2013/08/bicycles-in-crosswalks/

Even if there is no traffic light or stop sign, a motorist must stop and yield to pedestrians and bicyclists on the sidewalk before crossing a crosswalk, even if it is not marked as such.

You can find local ordinances by searching the Muni codes for your community.

For example, to find the city ordinances for St. Augustine, use this:

https://www.municode.com/library/fl/st._augustine

If the citation is for something other than sidewalk cycling, you should address that. If you were riding in the roadway against traffic, that is unlawful. If that is what the citation is for, you will need to address that.

We recommend obtaining legal counsel and filing a motion to dismiss rather than going to traffic court, particularly if you may have trouble communicating the legal aspects of the case.

One comment on “Yield to Bicycles in Crosswalks
  1. NE2 says:

    Note: if you were riding on a paved shoulder, not marked as a bike lane, against traffic, that is legal (though not recommended in most cases).

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