Dismount Before Crossing Roadway?
Debbie asked: When I was younger, I was taught that bicyclists must get off their bicycles at crosswalks and walk their bikes across the road. I do not see this done any more, and was wondering if the law had changed since the early 70’s.
Unless there is a local ordinance that requires dismounting before entering a crosswalk, riding across is permitted.
Please see these posts:
Florida never had such a law. However, children are often taught (e.g., by school crossing guards) to dismount to walk their bicycles in a crosswalk, so that they can better concentrate on keeping an eye out for any vehicle that might be approaching or about to turn across the crosswalk. Perhaps this is the origin of the belief that there is or was a law requiring a cyclist to dismount at a crosswalk.
This has actually become something of a legal thunderstorm. There was a 2000 case in Washington, Pudmaroff v. Allen, in which a trail crossed a street in mid-block. The crossing had all the usual crosswalk markings, but also stop signs facing the trail in each direction as well as stop signs on the roadway. A driver struck a cyclist in the crosswalk and asserted the cyclist was at fault, because the cyclist was a vehicle, so should have treated it as a 4-way stop intersection. (The cyclist was apparently crossing along with a coincidental group of 4-6 walkers, joggers, etc.) A judge said “no”–that it was unworkable to have a crosswalk where every other user except cyclists were treated by one set of right-of-way rules and cyclists were treated by another.
Since then, some states have put in their greenbooks that you can only put yield signs on trail crossings protected by crosswalks (the sensible solution). Most states have stuck with the status quo (which is the MUTCD standard), and the Minnesota Highway Patrol (but, paradoxically, apparently not M-DOT) is advising local governments to remove all the crosswalk markings, keep the stop signs, and place advisory signs on the trail stating that the crossing is NOT a crosswalk (which has all the legal effect of putting a sign in front of a plank crossing an open ditch that reads “this plank does not go to the other side of the ditch”).
Further compounding the problem is that nobody has uniform language in their codes about how crosswalk users are to be allocated right-of-way, and who qualifies for what right-of-way preference. (I mean the language varies wildly.) The problem has always been there, it’s just that with so many high-use, high-visibility trails coming on line, the extent of the problem is coming to light, and there is no more national committee for the UVC, and may not be a national committee for the MUTCD much longer.
Might be worth clarifying that nothing in the MUTCD requires that the “trail” approaches to a roadway crossing use stop signs. For example, the Tallahassee-St. Marks Trail gives priority to trail traffic at some intersections.
The MUTCD does state that
“(STOP (R1-1) signs…shall be installed on shared-use paths at points where bicyclists are required to stop” (http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/htm/2009r1r2/part9/part9b.htm#section9B03 )
but doesn’t require that bicyclists on trails be stopped at all road crossings.
Good info. As you can see from these past posts, confusion reigns:
The above posts relate to bike paths or shared-use trails. On sidewalks in Florida, at least there is some clarity about the right of way of bicyclists (pedestrians) on sidewalks and crosswalks.
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
(1) A pedestrian shall obey the instructions of any official traffic control device specifically applicable to the pedestrian unless otherwise directed by a police officer.
(2) Pedestrians shall be subject to traffic control signals at intersections as provided in s. 316.075, but at all other places pedestrians shall be accorded the privileges and be subject to the restrictions stated in this chapter.
(7)(a) The driver of a vehicle at an intersection that has a traffic control signal in place shall stop before entering the crosswalk and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian, with a permitted signal, to cross a roadway when the pedestrian is in the crosswalk or steps into the crosswalk and is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.
(b) The driver of a vehicle at any crosswalk where signage so indicates shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross a roadway when the pedestrian is in the crosswalk or steps into the crosswalk and is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.
(c) When traffic control signals are not in place or in operation and there is no signage indicating otherwise, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger. Any pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.
(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.