Bicycles on the Sidewalk


Jim asked: I was driving my car on US 1 and wanted to turn right into a Publix shopping plaza and two Adult bicyclists were riding on a sidewalk and were not paying attention and turned at the same place and time I wanted to turn they did not even look to see if a car was going to turn off US 1, if I wasn’t paying attention I would’ve run them over, and they continued to ride in the parking area side by side and would not get over and were not allowing me to go by them, so I had to wait until they turned and continued in another direction. My question is were they following the Florida Bicycle laws?


Probably, but it is hard to tell from the information provided.

Bicyclists on the sidewalk or crosswalk have the same rights and duties as pedestrians in the same circumstances. They had the right of way in the crosswalk, the connection between two sidewalk areas, whether it was marked as a crosswalk or not.

Once they were in the driveway of the parking lot they were probably in a substandard-width lane, which is one that is less than 14 feet wide, and did not have to keep right and move out of your way. I’m sure they appreciated your patience since you waited, and did not do something illegal or dangerous, even though you had to wait s few seconds or possibly as long as a minute.

This is discussed in detail in the posts on Sidewalks and Crosswalks and Substandard-width Lanes.

11 Comments on “Bicycles on the Sidewalk

  1. I don’t see the issue here. If the bicyclists were on the sidewalk and they DIDN’T turn you would still have to wait for them to cross as they have the right-of-way.
    Once they turned into the parking lot, technically they were no longer on a public right of way, but on private property.

    Also, you didn’t say if they were traveling in the same direction as you were.

    I’ve had people, traveling in the same direction as me, cut me off, while I was in the bike lane, to turn into a driveway.
    Once when I approached someone about the situation, they told me, that I should have to look behind me before I pass a driveway, to make sure someone isn’t trying to turn into it. Ridiculous, don’t you think?

  2. Specialx,
    Almost right. Municipalities and counties can have jurisdiction and law enforcement powers on private property under certain circumstances. The roadways of shopping centers are highways. When municipalities have an agreement with the property owner for that jurisdiction, a common practice, all traffic laws apply. For example, state statutes concerning stop signs and traffic lanes can be enforced by local police in shopping centers.
    s. 316.003 – Definitions
    (53) Street or Highway
    (a) The entire width between the boundary lines of every way or place of whatever nature when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular traffic;
    s. 316.006 – Jurisdiction
    (2) Municipalities
    (a) Chartered municipalities shall have original jurisdiction over all streets and highways located within their boundaries, except state roads, and may place and maintain such traffic control devices …. upon all streets and highways under their original jurisdiction as they shall deem necessary to indicate and to carry out the provisions of this chapter or to regulate, warn, or guide traffic.
    (b) A municipality may exercise jurisdiction over any private road or roads, or over any limited access road or roads owned or controlled by a special district, located within its boundaries if the municipality and party or parties owning or controlling such road or roads provide, by written agreement ….

      • Just like all the laws. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. It is incumbent on the citizen to know the laws. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case with the laws that apply to bicycling.

      • I think you missed my point.
        Is this true for all parking lots… that it is private property with a law-enforcement able to enforce traffic laws within it or is it only specific places?
        The question I had was how would somebody now if it is in one place or another?
        It may not sound like it pertains to bicycle laws but it kind of does when you start talking about private property and stop signs with in a parking lot being enforceable law when it comes to traffic citations.

        So again, I ask if that is true for all parking lots or just certain ones and if it is only certain ones where would somebody go to find out that information?

  3. Specialx,
    As indicated above, the only properties affected are those with agreements with law enforcement. Determining those that have such agreements is beyond the scope of this site, but here’s some possibilities.
    1. Ask the property manager.
    2. Ask local law enforcement.
    3. Ask other local officials. It is possible that the city or county may require such enforcement agreements when approving property development plans.
    4. Consider that the presence of a stop sign, lane markings or other traffic control devices may indicate there is some enforcement plan in place to insure compliance.

  4. If I were riding my bike on a sidewalk and get clipped more than half way thru the crosswalk on the rear end of my bike by a vehicle making a left turn. the driver did not signal his intention to turn left. on a two way Blvd who would be at fault for this accident?

  5. Bicyclists on the sidewalk have the rights and duties of pedestrians under the same circumstances. Motorists must yield to pedestrians (bicyclists) when in a crosswalk. See the posts on “Sidewalks and Crosswalks” on this site for the applicable laws and more details.

Leave a Reply