Shared-Use Path Traffic Control Signals

Question

Karl asked: Should a bicyclist obey the vehicle traffic control signals or the pedestrian control signals at intersections when riding on a shared use path that parallels a roadway?

There are numerous shared use paths in Florida that are parallel to and immediately adjacent to major roadways. At many intersections that have traffic control signals there are painted crosswalks with pedestrian control signals. In many cases the pedestrian control signals indicate don’t walk at all times until a pedestrian pushbutton is activated. Should a bicyclist stop at each crosswalk to request the WALK signal via a pushbutton?

I try to always be a safety first bicyclist. I typically do not stop if the traffic light is green, there is not any right turning or left turning traffic on the parallel roadway, and there is not any right turning traffic on the intersecting roadway.

Answer

The laws regarding bicyclists in shared-use paths are not clear. However, there are some that seem applicable.

The traffic control signals for the roadway are not applicable to vehicle operators on a sidewalk, shared-use path or bike path when pedestrian signals are present.

s. 316.075Traffic Control Signal Devices

(a) Green indication

2. Vehicular traffic facing a green arrow signal …. shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk and to other traffic lawfully using the intersection.

3. Unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian control signal …. pedestrians facing any green signal, except when the sole green signal is a turn arrow, may proceed across the roadway within any marked or unmarked crosswalk.

A bicyclist has the rights and duties of a pedestrian when on a sidewalk or crosswalk. A shared-use path is not a sidewalk, but this statute applies to the bicyclist in a crosswalk.

s. 316.2065Bicycle 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.

This statute is not specific but seems to imply that a motorist need not yield to a pedestrian (bicyclist) in a crosswalk in violation of the traffic control signal.

s. 316.130Pedestrians; 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.

(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.

Hence, it would also indicate the bicyclist must obey the traffic signal as well.

The due care provisions of the Pedestrian Traffic Regulations caution drivers to avoid colliding with pedestrians or bicyclists in all situations.

(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 and give warning when necessary and exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused or incapacitated person.

See this post for more info.

http://flbikelaw.org/2013/01/bike-path-stop-signs/

There are a number of posts at this link about bike paths.

http://flbikelaw.org/category/bike-paths/page/2/

I suggest reading Dwight’s comments on these posts as well.

Posted in Ask Geo, Bike Paths, Sidewalks & Crosswalks, Stop Signs & Red Lights
3 comments on “Shared-Use Path Traffic Control Signals
  1. Karl says:

    Thank you for the prompt reply. You are certainly correct that the “laws regarding bicyclists in shared-use paths are not clear.”
    Before asking this question I had reviewed 316.2065 (9) and numerous posts on this site and information from several other sites. Unable to come to a clear definitive conclusion I authored the question.
    I believe the issue is really with the interpretation 316.2065 (9). Is that statute about operating a bicycle on a sidewalk (in several states that is the title for that same wording within their statutes) and ensuring that the same rules apply when the sidewalk crosses a roadway. Or is it about when the “person propelling a vehicle by human power … has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian”.

  2. Herman F. Ebeling, Jr. says:

    Geo,

    I’m sure that I am NOT the only one to notice this but WAY too often motorists consistently violate 316.130 subsection 7. When I’ve been out walking I’ve had motorists turn either in front of me and I’m only about half-way through the intersection, or they turn right behind me. And again WAY too often I’ve had motorists stop and totally or partially block the crosswalk whether it’s a painted or implied crosswalk. And then they look at me like they expect me to cross even though they’re the one’s who are impeding my progress.

    They do this whether it’s a “traditional” sidewalk or as we have here in St. Pete the “new” shared path that used to be the northbound sidewalk on 1st St. N. The other day I was on said shared pathway when in spite of the fact that I had the crosswalk light giving me the right of way, I had a gal start to turn just as I was getting ready to enter the crosswalk. She sees me start to move and even though she has also started to round the corner she now stops and tries to wave me on.

    I didn’t accept as my personal view on that is if a car is moving through the same intersection that I want to enter I do NOT move until said car has passed.

    • JP Newman says:

      Many drivers in Florida are not from Florida, thus they may not be aware of Florida laws regarding bicyclists. Even drivers who are aware of the laws may not be in the best state of mind. So the best option is to use caution and don’t assume drivers will stop or yield to you.

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