Sidewalk Cyclists and Motorists at Driveways

Question

Vicki asked: When a person riding a bike on the sidewalk crosses an ingress or egress to a business that a motor vehicle may be entering, which of the operators has the right of way. I continually encounter cyclists that just keep on pedaling across the ingress or egress with no attempt to avoid a collision, and offering no caution.

Answer

The bicyclist or a pedestrian has the right of way over a motorist entering the roadway across a sidewalk or sidewalk area from a driveway. This is the applicable law:

s. 316.125 – Vehicle Entering Highway from Private Road or Driveway or Emerging from Alley, Driveway or Building

(2) The driver of a vehicle emerging from a … driveway within a business or residence district shall stop the vehicle immediately prior to driving onto a sidewalk or onto a sidewalk area extending across the … driveway … , shall stop at the point nearest the street to be entered where the driver has a view of approaching traffic thereon and shall yield to all vehicles and pedestrians which are so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.

Although there is no specific law such as that above for drivers entering a driveway from a roadway, that driver is crossing a crosswalk, the area connecting the edges of the sidewalk across the driveway, even though unmarked, and must yield to bicyclists in the crosswalk. These posts discuss the details and statutes related to bicyclists on the sidewalk and motorists crossing the sidewalk.

http://flbikelaw.org/2009/10/drivers-and-cyclists-at-driveways/

http://flbikelaw.org/2012/11/right-of-way-leaving-a-roadway/

http://flbikelaw.org/2015/07/speed-of-a-cyclist-on-the-sidewalk/

Additionally, there are two statutes that require due care to avoid colliding with pedestrians or bicyclists.

s. 316.130 – Pedestrian; Traffic Regulations

(15) Notwithstanding other provisions of this chapter, every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or any person propelling a human-powered vehicle ….

s. 316.185 – Special Hazards

The fact that the speed of a vehicle is lower than the prescribed limits shall not relieve the driver from the duty to decrease speed …. when special hazards exist or may exist with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather or other roadway conditions, and speed shall be decreased as may be necessary to avoid colliding with any person, vehicle, or other conveyance on or entering the street in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to use due care.

7 comments on “Sidewalk Cyclists and Motorists at Driveways
  1. jay says:

    Just recently I was on my bike here in Arizona I was riding on the sidewalk and I crossed in front of Wendy’s drive-through there was a silver BMW waiting to get into traffic I proceeded out in front of the BMW and the driver lurched into traffic and struck me knocking me into the street in the path of oncoming traffic. After I got up off the pavement and noticed I had a bloody leg the driver on rolled his window and he was just hanging up his cell phone to learn what I did next visit my website. By the way this link is not spam I just don’t feel like typing the entire narrative all over again. Thanks to Geo for this awesome resource.

  2. fred_dot_u says:

    I was personally involved with assisting a driver who struck a bicyclist. The cyclist was on the sidewalk, traveling contra-flow at a substantial speed. I believe the cyclist was in his early teens, perhaps 14 or 15.

    The link above referring to right of way leaving a roadway provides a useful reference. The driver was exiting a driveway to enter the roadway. He looked in both directions prior to pulling onto the sidewalk.

    The cyclist was hidden by advertising signs and was traveling too fast to stop. I think the real key detail here was that the cyclist was able to swerve around the vehicle and only the rear wheel was struck by the vehicle.

    The cyclist was determined to have been traveling a a speed excessive for conditions and the driver’s charges were dismissed.

    Because he is a professional driver and I have had many conversations with him regarding cycling and motor vehicle safety, I was happy that he was not penalized. Even though one might consider that I am pro-cycling, penalizing a driver isn’t always the right answer.

  3. Geo says:

    Fred,

    Thanks for pointing that out. I should have included that information in the above post about excessive speed. I have updated that post to include these statutes.

    s. 316.183 – Unlawful Speed
    (1) No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing. In every event, speed shall be controlled as may be necessary to avoid colliding with any person, vehicle, or other conveyance or object on or entering the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to use due care.

    Note that the term highway includes the sidewalk or sidewalk area.

    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 ….

  4. fred_dot_u says:

    I’m not sure where the wording is located, but I recall also the the rights and responsibilities of a cyclist also that of a pedestrian. Such responsibilities also include not running out in front of a car.

  5. Geo says:

    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.

    s. 316.130 – Pedestrians, Traffic Regulations
    (8) No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.

  6. Geo, I think there is a typo in your original reply above (the quoted law is from s. 316.125, not s. 316.123).

    Also, might be worth noting that s. 316.125(2) applies to a driver “emerging” from a driveway. In the case of a driver who intends to >leave< the roadway to turn into a driveway, there is a gap in the Florida Uniform Traffic Control Law. Most states have a rule to regulate right of way between such driver and a pedestrian in the sidewalk crossing the driveway (driver is usually required to yield to the pedestrian). Florida has no specific rule about this, although a driver's general duty to take "due care" to avoid collisions would still apply.

  7. Geo says:

    Thanks Dwight,
    I corrected that and the original from which it was copied. I also added language to clarify that the area connecting the edges of the sidewalk across the driveway is, I believe, a crosswalk, though not marked as such, in accordance with the definition.

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