Joshua asked: I commute to work using my bicycle and travel on SR 535 to Lake Buena Vista Drive. Today I noticed a “no bicycle” sign posted on a stretch of road construction on LBV Drive. As a detour I want to take SR 536/Epcot Center Dr. to LBV drive. Can I commute on this road?
The primary consideration is that all vehicle operators must comply with traffic control devices. Assuming it is properly installed, a “No Bicycles” sign is a regulatory traffic control device.
s. 316.074 – Obedience to and Required Traffic Control Devices
(1) The driver of any vehicle shall obey the instructions of any official traffic control device applicable thereto, placed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter ….
Bicyclists have the same rights and duties as other drivers. One of the most basic rights is the use of the roadway.
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 under this chapter ….
Unless the roadways in question are limited access highways and signs are posted accordingly, or otherwise restricted by proper authority, bicycles are permitted.
s. 316.091 – Limited Access Facilities; Interstate Highways; Use Restricted
(2) Except as provided herein, no person shall operate upon a limited access facility any bicycle, motor-driven cycle, animal-drawn vehicle, or any other vehicle which by its design or condition is incompatible with the safe and expedient movement of traffic.
(4) No person shall operate a bicycle or other human-powered vehicle on the roadway or along the shoulder of a limited access highway, including bridges, unless official signs and a designated, marked bicycle lane are present at the entrance of the section of highway indicating that such use is permitted pursuant to a pilot program of the Department of Transportation.
You may want to consider challenging the closure of the roadway to you by “No Bicycles” signs. Placement of any regulatory traffic control device must be based on written laws, but the authority having jurisdiction can authorize temporary traffic control devices. Signage must be approved by proper authority and not just installed by the contractor.
Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
Section 1A.08 Authority for Placement of Traffic Control Devices Standard:
Traffic control devices, …. shall be placed only as authorized by a public authority or the official having jurisdiction, …. for the purpose of regulating, warning, or guiding traffic.
When the public agency or the official having jurisdiction over a street or highway …. has granted proper authority, others such as contractors and public utility companies shall be permitted to install temporary traffic control devices in temporary traffic control zones. Such traffic control devices shall conform with the Standards of this Manual.
All regulatory traffic control devices shall be supported by laws, ordinances, or regulations.
I recommend that you take this information to the person in charge of the project and ask the following questions:
What authority has jurisdiction over the roadway, and therefore the authority to install the temporary signs?
What is the authority that approved the use of “No Bicycles” signs?
What is the regulatory basis for that approval?
Was there previously the right for bicyclists to use the roadway in that area?
Why was that right not maintained?
If the person in charge refuses to remove the signs, to whom can you appeal the use of the signs and prohibition of bicycles using the roadway?