Limited Access Facility
RJ asked: Saturday I was pulled over while riding my bike down the interstate, and was told by the police I couldn’t ride my bike there but I never saw a sign; So can you tell me which roads I can and cannot ride my bike on even if there is a sidewalk.
The operator of a bicycle, a vehicle, has the rights and duties of all other drivers unless specified in the statutes. The presence of a sidewalk is not relevant.
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, except as to special regulations in this chapter, and except as to provisions of this chapter which by their nature can have no application.
The most basic right is the use of the roadway, which is intended use by vehicles.
Bicycles are not permitted on limited access highways unless indicated by signage.
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.
This is the definition of a limited access highway
s. 316.003 – Definitions
(19) Limited Access Facility – A street or highway especially designed for through traffic and over, from, or to which owners or occupants of abutting land or other persons have no right or easement, or only a limited right or easement, of access, light, air, or view by reason of the fact that their property abuts upon such limited access facility or for any other reason. Such highways or streets may be parkways from which trucks, buses, and other commercial vehicles are excluded; or they may be freeways open to use by all customary forms of street and highway traffic.
If the roadway in question is truly a limited access facility, the entrance should be so marked and “No Bicycles” signs should be posted. However, I could find no similar definition of “Limited Access Facility” in Department of Transportation design documents nor the national Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, nor any guidance requiring signage to prohibit bicycles on these facilities in accordance with the statute above. If anyone is aware of anything to the contrary, please advise.
I recommend asking the roadway authority having jurisdiction if that is the case and requesting proper signage.
In general, you can assume that Interstates and state roads with “toll” shields are closed to bikes by reason of being limited access.
Note that ‘limited access’ legally refers to the right of adjacent property owners to build driveway connections to access the highway. Many surface roads intended primarily for through traffic include some degree of partial or full limited access, yet are definitely open to bikes. The law is poorly written, and its intent beyond obvious cases is unclear.
The MUTCD uses the term “freeway”. In everyday speech, people seldom talk about using a “limited access facility”.
In section 2B.39, the MUTCD describes “Selective Exclusion” signs that “give notice to road users that State or local statutes or ordinances exclude designated types of traffic from using particular roadways or facilities”. Selective exclusions on freeways vary from state to state and may not be uniform on all freeways within a given state; consequently different signs are used. The sign usually used by FDOT on Interstate entrance ramps is a black-on-white sign that displays the multi-line message “NO PEDESTRIANS BICYCLES MOTOR VEHICLES LESS THAN 5 BHP”.
The MUTCD does not require such signs to be posted at freeway entrances where cyclists are excluded. However, it’s common practice, and important in a state where some freeway segments are open to a cyclist and others are not.
The MUTCD also uses “expressway” for a facility to which access is only partially limited. These are generally open to bikes.
Oops, that’s me.
Yes, although this is an area where an MUTCD–Florida Statutes translation app would be handy. As the MUTCD defines “freeway” (“a divided highway with full control of access”) and “expressway” (“a divided highway with partial control of access”), the highways in Florida we call “expressways” (e.g., the Beachline Expressway, SR 528) are freeways, not expressways.
The definition of “limited access facility” in s. 316.003 of the Florida Uniform Traffic Control Law (quoted in Geo’s original post) implies that a highway that provided some “limited” access for adjacent property owners or occupants could still be a “limited access facility”, in which case cyclists would be prohibited from using it under s. 316.091, quoted above. In practice, though, “limited access facility” has been understood to refer only to a highway with full control of access. For example, FDOT’s description of the State Highway System Access Control Classification System and Access Management Standards in s. 14-97 of the Florida Administrative Code states: “Access Class 1 consists of limited access facilities, which roadways do not provide direct property connections” (14-97.003).
In other words, “limited access facility” in Florida is an euphemism for “no-direct-access facility”; an occupant of an adjacent parcel of property who wanted to use the freeway would have to take an indirect route on other roads and find a freeway entrance.
Highways with >partial< control of access are indeed generally open to cyclists in Florida.
However, it’s not so simple: there are surface roads that have no direct property connections – all access is via side roads. But it looks like FDOT usually classifies these as access class 2. For example (the dashed line near the bottom):
US 90, a normal surface road (class 3-6) http://www2.dot.state.fl.us/Straight-linesOnlineGIS/blank.aspx?docId=100461
SR 102, a surface road with frontage roads (class 2) http://www2.dot.state.fl.us/Straight-linesOnlineGIS/blank.aspx?docId=30865
but SR 202, mostly freeway (class 1) http://www2.dot.state.fl.us/Straight-linesOnlineGIS/blank.aspx?docId=100436 – note that it’s class 1 even through the Bonneval Road intersection
and SR 23, a two-lane surface road that is planned to become a toll road with interchanges (class 1) http://www2.dot.state.fl.us/Straight-linesOnlineGIS/blank.aspx?docId=30883
SR 23 is a pretty good example of a road that is clearly not a freeway, yet is considered limited access by FDOT. Are bikes allowed? Here’s an example of the current state: http://firstcoastexpressway.com/images/2014-04-gallery/2014-04-21-sr-23-toll-03.jpg
As examples demonstrate, a highway or highway segment without connections to adjacent land isn’t necessarily a limited access facility. The land may simply not have been developed. If any rights or easements of access to the highway once held by the owners or occupants of adjacent land have been extinguished, then it is a limited access facility.
If a highway segment classified limited-access (“Access class 1” in FDOT’s scheme) isn’t an Interstate or “expressway”, though, and can be accessed from an at-grade intersection, its status generally won’t be obvious (at least, not without a No Bicycles message posted at an entrance); it may look much like a non-limited-access highway that runs through a natural area or crosses a body of water. If enforcement of s. 316.091 is to be done, appropriate Selective Exclusion signs should be posted at entrances. An unfamiliar cyclist can’t be expected to stop and research the access management classification of a highway segment that doesn’t look like a conventional “freeway”, just because they see no driveways that connect to the segment.
I am involved in a situation concerning this very statute. We were biking eastbound on US92 past the Hard Rock Casino. There is a dedicated bike lane that follows US 92 which is Hillsborough Avenue. The bike lane continues on a bridge that crosses over I-4. At the end of the bridge there is a sign that says that bike lane ends. We intended to continue on US 92 across the canal but we were stopped in the area between the end of the bridge but before the 301 clover leaf. We were not on the road but rather on the 8 foot wide paved shoulder. I looked at the straight line inventory for this segment and it appears to be designated as US 92 not I-4 or i-4 exit ramp. I do not see where the class is designated on the drawing, but it makes no sense that the state would lure us into this area without a way out. Based on the strict reading of 316.091 this might fall within the definition of limited access facility but I would argue if it is a limited access facility the bike lane and signs marking it should fall within the exception.
It may also fall outside the definition of 316.003 if you can really figure out what that means. There are no signs excluding bicycles or any one for that matter from the area in any direction. If it is limited access 316.091 says you cannot be on the shoulder either. Can anyone give me any insight as to this particular area and perhaps some direction in my argument that it is not a limited access facility. Common sense says it is not but I need more. Thanks in advance for your help.