Bikes on Sidewalks PB County

Question

Gianna asked: I would love to take my Beach Cruiser for a ride around town. The drivers are so reckless though. Am I allowed to ride my Cruiser on the sidewalk in Palm Beach County? Preferably down Okeechobee Blvd. and/or State Road 7.

Answer

Unless there is a local ordinance to the contrary, bicyclists can legally use sidewalks.

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.

(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.

Both SR 7 and Okeechobee Blvd. (SR 704) are state roads and subject to the jurisdiction of state laws, not county or city ordinances, so riding a bicycle there is allowed.  Since the roads in PB County were built many years ago, there may be roadways that have no right of way outside the roadway itself.  Hence, the state would not have jurisdiction over property other than the roadway itself.  You would need to understand exactly who has jurisdiction over the sidewalk in question.  I know that situation exists for some properties along A1A.  I seem to recall that it may also apply to some sections of Okeechobee Blvd. going through downtown West Palm Beach, but I’m not sure.

If you are on a highway in the unincorporated area of Palm Beach County, I can find no local ordinance that would restrict riding a bicycle on the sidewalk. You can check for yourself here:

https://www.municode.com/library/fl/palm_beach_county/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PABECOCO_CH19MOVETR

There are 31 or so incorporated municipalities in Palm Beach County. Each can have its own ordinances about bicycles on sidewalks within their jurisdiction, but not sidewalks on state highways passing through their area.  To be sure, just ask the local law enforcement for that municipality.

For example, I can find no restriction to riding on the sidewalk in West Palm Beach. You can check here:

https://www.municode.com/library/fl/west_palm_beach/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=COORWEPABEFL

It is interesting that WPB specifies that sidewalks cannot be obstructed to the free flow of pedestrians. Since a bicyclist on a sidewalk has the rights and duties of a pedestrian (See above), that would also apply to the cyclist.

Sec. 78-1. – Obstructing passage on streets, sidewalks and bicycle paths prohibited.

It shall be unlawful for any person to obstruct or hinder the free flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic on any street, sidewalk or bicycle path in the city.

In some areas of Palm Beach County, sidewalk cafes are allowed, and in WPB, there are ordinances that control that.

Sec. 78-345. – Standards, criteria and conditions.

(a) …. The design of sidewalk cafes shall be so that there is a free flow of pedestrian access on the sidewalks.

(d) Sidewalk cafes shall be located in such a manner that a distance of not less than 44 inches is maintained at all times as a clear and unobstructed pedestrian path, or must comply with the American with Disabilities Act requirements, whichever is greater.

Since bicyclists on the sidewalk have the rights of pedestrians, it seems that riding a bicycle through those areas is permitted.

Other questions that arise frequently pertain to skateboards, roller blades, etc. WPB has specific ordinances about that.

Sec. 86-7. – Riding of roller skates, rollerblades, skateboards, coasters, scooters and other similar devices.

(a) The use of roller skates or rollerblades, or the riding of a skateboard, scooter, coaster, or other similar device in the city shall be limited as follows.

(1) No person shall ride a skateboard, scooter, coaster, or other similar device on any sidewalk, ….

(3) The use of roller skates and rollerblades shall be permitted upon sidewalks and walkways.

(b) The mayor shall cause signs to be posted and maintained on such sidewalks, and at walkways, public parking lots, public parking garages and the premises of public buildings, and public property which is located outside the designated downtown area and waterfront as defined in this section, specifically prohibiting the riding of scooters, skateboards, coasters or similar devices on the sidewalks.

(c) No person upon roller skates, roller blades, or any scooter, skateboard or any coaster, or other similar device shall go upon any roadway, except while crossing a street on a crosswalk.

The last provision is from Florida statutes and applies in state, county or municipality jurisdictions.

s. 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations

(11) No person upon roller skates, or riding in or by means of any coaster, toy vehicle, or similar device, may go upon any roadway except while crossing a street on a crosswalk; and, when so crossing, such person shall be granted all rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to pedestrians.

You can check the Muni Codes for your city by Googling the name of the city plus “muni codes”.

Posted in Ask Geo, Sidewalks & Crosswalks

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