Sidewalk Bicyclists


Maria asked: My community has designated bicycle lanes and signs posted as well, yet many people ride on the sidewalks forcing myself, children and dog to move out of the way and even into the street. If there is a designated bicycle lane, why are they allowed to ride on the sidewalk where that is my only place to walk/run?


Just as pedestrians in the roadway are a problem for bicyclists, rude or inconsiderate bicyclists can inconvenience and endanger pedestrians on the sidewalk.

Sidewalks are designed and intended for pedestrians.

s. 316.003 – Definitions

(47) Sidewalk – That portion of a street between the curbline, or the lateral line, of a roadway and the adjacent property lines, intended for use by pedestrians.

However, even if bike lanes are present, bicyclists may use the sidewalk unless there is a local ordinance to the contrary.

s. 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations

(9) A person propelling a vehicle by human power upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.

Bicyclists must always yield to pedestrians, which means slowing or stopping as necessary to yield, and must signal when passing.

(10) A person propelling a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian.

That does not mean yelling, “Get out of the way. I’m coming through.” A better signal is to politely ask, “Passing on your left please?” from a safe distance after slowing.

If you have a persistent problem, I suggest contacting your local police and asking them to intervene or asking your local officials to enact an ordinance and signs prohibiting bicyclists from using the sidewalk.

7 Comments on “Sidewalk Bicyclists

  1. As a runner, I will track toward the right side of a sidewalk to let a cyclist pass on the sidewalk, but will not step off the sidewalk. With a dog (or children) present, more clearance is needed than typical suburban sidewalk provides; any cyclist on the sidewalk should leave sidewalk or stop so as to yield to the pedestrian party.

    The jurisdiction could prohibit riding on the sidewalk, but not many communities in Florida seem prepared to enforce such prohibitions.

  2. Is it legal for pedestrians to deliberately obstruct the sidewalk (e.g. by walking in the middle when there’s no reason for them not to move to one side) after being made aware that a cyclist is approaching? I ask because I had a bad crash once trying to get back onto the sidewalk from the grass, so I’d prefer to stay on the sidewalk if I’m using it.

    • Think of it this way…
      Change the pedestrian in your anecdote to a bicyclist “taking the lane” on a substandard width road and the answer will become clear to you.

      (i.e. When on the sidewalk, the pedestrian has the right of way, always)

      • But a cyclist using the lane is doing so for safety reasons. If those reasons do not exist (i.e. the lane is wide enough etc.), they must keep to the far right. There are not usually any safety reasons for a pedestrian to walk in the middle.

      • Observing common courtesy, oncoming pedestrians usually do move right to let each other pass on a (narrower) sidewalk. A pedestrian overtaken by a sidewalk cyclist who does not move toward or keep to the right side of the sidewalk to let the cyclist pass more easily (and safely) might not have heard the cyclist’s required “audible signal”, or might have heard it but still be momentarily unsure which side to move to (when a cyclist says “On your left”, some pedestrians react by moving left).

        If the pedestrian is aware of the cyclist and could make an adjustment but simply will not do so, it’s unlikely that a law to enforce the courtesy would make any difference.

  3. It doesn’t matter whether there is a “safety reason” or not…
    Pedestrians have the right of way on the sidewalk, ALWAYS…
    So, if they are in the middle of it and you’re riding a bicycle, you must yield to them.

    My point was, if a bicyclist is on the road lawfully and you, as a driver of another vehicle, want to pass, you must slow down to the appropriate speed and go around them when it’s safe to pass… Same holds true for a pedestrian on a sidewalk and you as a bicyclist wanting to pass.. slow down to the appropriate speed and go around when safe…

    There is no law that says a bicyclist using the roadway lawfully has to move over for a another vehicle, just as a pedestrian doesn’t have to move over for a bicyclist who wants to pass.

  4. “There is no law that says a bicyclist using the roadway lawfully has to move over for a another vehicle”

    Correct that bicyclists in a narrow lane do not have to yield, but that does not apply to wide lanes. Cyclists must keep right (Yield) in those lanes.

    Common sense laws: If wide enough for bike and motor vehicle, keep right to facilitate traffic flow (Note exceptions- See other posts). If not, no requirement to yield.

    Pedestrians should keep right in a crosswalk but not necessarily on a sidewalk.

    s. 316.130 – Pedestrians; Traffic Regulations
    (13) Pedestrians shall move, whenever practicable, upon the right half of crosswalks.

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