Finding Local Ordinances

Question

Andy asked: Is there any way to find out what municipalities in Florida have banned e-bikes from their bike paths and boardwalks? I’ve been told they are illegal on the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk, all multi-use paths on Sanibel, and everywhere in the city of Key West. My research has neither confirmed nor denied these reports.

Answer

Except as noted, by state statute only vehicles operating under human power are permitted on sidewalks or bike paths.

s. 316.1995Driving upon Sidewalk or Bicycle Path

(1) Except as provided in s. 316.008 or s. 316.212(8), a person may not drive any vehicle other than by human power upon a bicycle path, sidewalk, or sidewalk area, except upon a permanent or duly authorized temporary driveway.

(3) This section does not apply to motorized wheelchairs.

Local authorities may pass ordinances that relate to sidewalks.

s. 316.008Powers of Local Authorities

(1) The provisions of this chapter shall not be deemed to prevent local authorities, with respect to streets and highways under their jurisdiction and within the reasonable exercise of the police power, from:

(h) Regulating the operation of bicycles.

Under certain very restrictive conditions, operation of golf carts on sidewalks may be permitted.

(8) A local governmental entity may enact an ordinance relating to:

(a) Golf cart operation and equipment which is more restrictive than those enumerated in this section. Upon enactment of such ordinance, the local governmental entity shall post appropriate signs or otherwise inform the residents that such an ordinance exists and that it will be enforced within the local government’s jurisdictional territory. An ordinance referred to in this section must apply only to an unlicensed driver.

(b) Golf cart operation on sidewalks adjacent to specific segments of municipal streets, county roads, or state highways within the jurisdictional territory of the local governmental entity (316.212 above).

Segways are permitted under certain circumstances.

(7) A county or municipality may enact an ordinance to permit, control, or regulate the operation of …. electric personal assistive mobility devices (Segway) on sidewalks or sidewalk areas when such use is permissible under federal law. The ordinance must restrict such vehicles or devices to a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour in such areas.

s. 316.2068 Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Devices; Regulations

(1) An electric personal assistive mobility device, as defined in s. 316.003, may be operated:

(b) On a marked bicycle path.

(c) On any street or road where bicycles are permitted.

s. 316.003 – Definitions

(83) Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Devices – Any self-balancing, two-nontandem-wheeled device, designed to transport only one person, with an electric propulsion system with average power of 750 watts (1 horsepower), the maximum speed of which, on a paved level surface when powered solely by such a propulsion system while being ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 miles per hour. Electric personal assistive mobility devices are not vehicles as defined in this section.

Local ordinances can be found in the Muni Codes. Just Google the city or county and the term “muni codes”.

For example, a search of the “Hollywood FL Muni Codes” shows that bicycles are not permitted on sidewalks in business districts.

http://library.amlegal.com/nxt/gateway.dll/Florida/holywood/cityofhollywoodfloridacodeofordinances?f=templates$fn=default.htm$3.0$vid=amlegal:hollywood_fl_mc$anc=

 (G) On sidewalks.  No person shall ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk within a business district; provided, such prohibition shall not apply to sidewalks designated as “bikeways” by the City Commission.  When signs are erected on any sidewalk or street which prohibit the riding of bicycles thereon by any person, no person shall disobey such signs.  Whenever any person is riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk, such person shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian.

There are two provisions in the Key West ordinances that differ with the state statutes.

https://www.municode.com/library/fl/key_west/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=SPAGEOR

Key West Code of Ordinances

Sec. 70-801. – Personal assistive mobility devices prohibited.

It shall be unlawful to operate an electric personal assistive mobility device on any street, road or bicycle path in the City of Key West. It shall be unlawful to operate an electric personal assistive mobility device on any sidewalk in the historic district of the city.

Note that Key West does not include “and every motorized bicycle propelled by a combination of human power and an electric helper motor capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of not more than 20 miles per hour on level ground upon which any person may ride” in their definition of bicycle, as does the state statute.

Sec. 70-1. – Definitions.

The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

Bicycle means every vehicle propelled solely by human power upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels, and including any such device having two tandem axles though equipped with two front or rear wheels. The term does not include such a vehicle with a seat height of no more than 25 inches from the ground when the seat is adjusted to its highest position.

It would be interesting to determine if those are in conflict with FL statutes, which is not permitted.

s. 316.002Purpose

It is the legislative intent in the adoption of this chapter to make uniform traffic laws to apply throughout the state and its several counties and uniform traffic ordinances to apply in all municipalities. The Legislature recognizes that there are conditions which require municipalities to pass certain other traffic ordinances in regulation of municipal traffic that are not required to regulate the movement of traffic outside of such municipalities. Section 316.008 enumerates the area within which municipalities may control certain traffic movement or parking in their respective jurisdictions. This section shall be supplemental to the other laws or ordinances of this chapter and not in conflict therewith. It is unlawful for any local authority to pass or to attempt to enforce any ordinance in conflict with the provisions of this chapter.

Posted in Ask Geo, Misc, Sidewalks & Crosswalks
3 comments on “Finding Local Ordinances
  1. fred says:

    I recall reading that an electric personal assistive device is permitted by Florida Statutes to operate on sidewalks and roadways. The last paragraph above would then indicate that the municipality responsible for the “local” law is in violation.

    Curiously, a Segway-type device is considered a personal mobility device, which one might expect to be banned in Key West.

  2. Geo says:

    Fred,

    That was the point of the last part of the post. Is Key West ordinance in conflict with statutes?

    For brevity, I only included part of that statute. Here’s most of that statute;

    s. 316.2068 Electric personal assistive mobility devices; regulations.—
    (1) An electric personal assistive mobility device, as defined in s. 316.003, may be operated:
    (a) On a road or street where the posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour or less.
    (b) On a marked bicycle path.
    (c) On any street or road where bicycles are permitted.
    (d) At an intersection, to cross a road or street even if the road or street has a posted speed limit of more than 25 miles per hour.
    (e) On a sidewalk ….

  3. S. 316.2068(1)(e) allows use of an electric personal assistive mobility device (EPAMD, aka Segway™) on a sidewalk, but s. 316.008(7), quoted in original reply, gives local authorities the power to enact an ordinance to “permit, control, or regulate the operation” of EPAMDs “on sidewalks or sidewalk areas when such use is permissible under federal law. The ordinance must restrict such vehicles or devices to a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour in such areas”.

    In other words, if local authorities do adopt an ordinance re EPAMD use on sidewalks, it must set a speed limit of 15 mph, and if they don’t adopt an ordinance, there is no EPAMD speed limit on sidewalks (although the device is defined in s. 316.003(83) to be capable of a maximum speed less than 20 mph on level ground).

    Nothing in chapter 316 authorizes local authorities to prohibit EPAMD use on sidewalks, or on roadways for that matter.

    Consequently, s. 70-801 of the Key West Code, quoted above, appears to be in conflict with chapter 316.

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