Driver or Pedestrian?

Question

Alex asked: So I got a ticket while riding my bike in Lake Mary at the intersection of Lake Mary Blvd. and Rhinehart Rd. for essentially failing to obey the pedestrian “walk” signal (316.130), even though I rode my bike through the green light from the bike lane and then entered onto the sidewalk…I know I was just being targeted , or I should say profiled, and I’m appealing the disposition from Seminole County Court on the basis that the officer incorrectly cited me for a statute that expressly applied only to pedestrians. The decision from the judge at the County level was that I’m in violation but it wasn’t until weeks later that he issued the judgment and I question his application of the law. I’m just wondering if you know where to find any case law that would support my case. Do you know what I should cite in the bike law to make my appeal more compelling?

Answer

It is difficult to determine exactly what transpired and whether you were in the crosswalk while the “Don’t Walk” signal was activated. I know of no applicable case law.

When in the roadway, bicyclists have the same rights and duties as other drivers.

s. 316.2065Bicycle Regulations

(1) Every person propelling a vehicle by human power has all of the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle

At an intersection, the vehicle operator may proceed when facing a green signal.

s. 316.075Traffic Control Signal Devices

(a) Green indication

  1. Vehicular traffic facing a circular green signal may proceed cautiously straight through

If you crossed the entire intersection before moving to the sidewalk, there should be no violation.

If you were on the crosswalk, you would have the rights and duties of a pedestrian.

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.

Bicyclists on a sidewalk or crosswalk must comply with pedestrian signals.

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.

(2) Pedestrians shall be subject to traffic control signals at intersections

4 comments on “Driver or Pedestrian?
  1. Karl says:

    As I understand your situation, you were riding in a bike lane and entered an intersection. While in the intersection you moved into the adjacent parallel crosswalk and continued onto the sidewalk at the end of the crosswalk / intersection.

    s. 316.075 states “Unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian control signal as provided in s. 316.0755, 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.”

    At the instant you entered the crosswalk you became a pedestrian. So at that instant you would appear to be subject to the pedestrian control signal.

  2. HarryB says:

    If I understand the situation correctly, Alex was riding in a bicycle lane on the road and legally entered the intersection during a green signal phase. At some point while still in the intersection he moved out of his lane, entered the crosswalk, and then rode onto the sidewalk on the other side of the road he was crossing. The officer did not claim his moving diagonally into the crosswalk was illegal.

    Reading between the lines I gather the pedestrian crossing signal was displaying either a flashing or steady UPRAISED HAND indication when Alex moved into the crosswalk. What, according to the law, should he have done? Stop and wait prior to entering the intersection, or stop in the middle of it and wait until the pedestrian crossing signal’s indication changed to a WALKING PERSON one? That would not only be absurd, it would be dangerous, and probably illegal.

    But, there is more. Please consider:

    1) When Alex first entered the intersection he did so as the driver of a vehicle, where in this situation he was required to comply with the traffic control signal which apparently was green: § 316.075(1)(a) “Green indication.—1. Vehicular traffic facing a circular green signal may proceed cautiously straight through or turn right or left. . .”

    2) When he entered the crosswalk he was granted the rights and duties of a pedestrian: § 316.2065(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.”

    3) The officer apparently claimed that while he was in the crosswalk his movements were regulated by the pedestrian control signal: § 316.075(1)(a)(3): “Unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian control signal as provided in s. 316.0755. . .”

    However, according to this post ( http://flbikelaw.org/2015/08/trail-signals/#comment-66781 ) we learn that the “. . .meanings of pedestrian signal symbol indications have never been defined in the Florida Uniform Traffic Control Law.” (See Dwight Kingsbury’s excellent explanation in that thread.) If this is correct (and I have been unable to find any evidence to the contrary), when Alex entered the crosswalk he was not forbidden from continuing to the other side of the road because legally the pedestrian control indications are meaningless.

    It appears to me the officer was wrong in citing Alex because the traffic control signal’s green indication gave him permission to enter the intersection and continue through it whether he was in the road or in the crosswalk.

    • Karl says:

      Harry,
      I agree there is ambiguity regarding what specific action was in violation. My assumption is that the judge found that the instant that Alex entered the crosswalk he violated §316.130(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.
      I am familiar with several places where a bike lane ends at an intersection and a sidewalk or multi-use path continues adjacent to the roadway. So the cyclist is compelled to leave the bike lane.
      It would be of great interest to know both what action caused Alex to be in violation what method should be followed to leave the bike lane and enter a sidewalk. It is likely that the cyclist should either enter the sidewalk prior to or after crossing the intersection.
      I tend to think that riding in the roadway is safer than riding in the crosswalk. If it is possible I stay in the roadway past the intersection and move to the sidewalk / multi-use path at the first opportunity. In some cases I enter the sidewalk that is adjacent to the intersecting roadway at the far side of the intersection and then immediately turn onto the sidewalk that is adjacent to the roadway. Other times I do exactly what Alex did, at a speed that allows me to yield to other pedestrians.

  3. HarryB says:

    Karl,

    Alex wrote that he was charged with “. . .essentially failing to obey the pedestrian “walk” signal (316.130).” I assume this means that he was charged with disobeying the “instructions” of the pedestrian control signal.

    If that signal complies with state law (§ 316.0755: “Pedestrian control signals.—When pedestrian indicators are installed, such indicators must conform to the requirements of the most recent Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices”) it will have been displaying one of three indications: WALKING PERSON, flashing UPRAISED HAND, or steady UPRAISED HAND.

    Where in Florida law do we find what these indications mean? If they are not clearly defined, how can Alex be convicted of violating a law which does not exist?

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