Pedestrians in Bike Lanes


John asked: I live in a deed restricted community in Tampa Florida (a master planned community) with clearly marked “bike lanes” and adjacent sidewalks. Frequently, when I am riding in the marked bike lane, I run into runners, joggers, or walkers that are moving in the opposite direction in the bike lane. I’ve had people literally cuss at me and motion for me to move out of the way. I would like to bring this issue up in the next board meeting. Am I in the wrong? Are these runners and walkers in the right? I was under the impression that the bike lane is to be used only by bicyclists, and is not a shared path for all pedestrians. Your clarification on this citing defining statutes would be very helpful. Also, are there any signs that the city or county can post to spell out to those with questions in an effort to prevent these conflicts?


Bike lanes, if properly marked, are part of the roadway and are for the preferential or exclusive use of cyclists. This post will answer your questions about the laws.

I am not aware of signage that would state these laws, which are self-explanatory.

Your seeking assistance from the board is a good approach. They might want to advertise the laws in your local newspaper or community newsletter.

You may also want to contact your local police and ask them to conduct operations to advise pedestrians and others of the laws.

The lack of understanding of the laws may be widespread in the county and you may want to contact the Hillsborough MPO Bike/Ped Committee to ask if they can assist or have educational resources that might apply.

Posted in Ask Geo, Bike Lanes
One comment on “Pedestrians in Bike Lanes
  1. Unlike many states, Florida has no road rule that (explicitly) prohibits a motorist from using a bike lane (although, given typical BL widths, driving a MV in a bike lane for any distance is likely to be impractical). Pedestrians are (usually) prohibited from using a bike lane by the rule that a pedestrian is not to use the roadway “where sidewalks are provided” (s. 316.130(3)).

    Runner (or other pedestrian) use of bike lanes can be problematic where sidewalks are not provided, are narrow and/or heavily used, are poorly maintained (cracked, heaved by roots, etc.), or where sidewalk is provided on only one side of a road but runners want to run on the other, or where sidewalks are interrupted by many driveways or curb cuts, or where sidewalk use is awkward or inconvenient for some other reason (e.g., where utility poles, corner street signs, mailboxes, unpruned shrubbery, bags of yard waste and/or trash and recycling carts left at the curb turn a sidewalk into a gauntlet to be threaded).

    Where sidewalks are provided and in good and useable condition, some runners still favor bike lanes because they believe the greater elasticity of asphalt pavement reduces jarring of the knees. Because the coefficients of elasticity of running shoe soles are so much greater than that of asphalt, it’s hard to imagine that runners could notice any difference in this regard (as a runner, I can’t tell any), but that’s their belief, and some runners cling to it pretty passionately.

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