Bicycles Yield to Pedestrians on Sidewalks
David asked: I live in a HOA community, which has certain guidelines as well as city ordinance for curbing and leashing dogs. I was walking my dog as usual in my community and was on common area side walk, when all of a sudden a bicycling individual was speeding down the sidewalk from opposite direction of traffic on the sidewalk (towards my back) he had plenty of time to redirect, but kept coming with no warning, and my dog was reacting to the close proximity and started to run, the cyclist did not stop and came between me and my dog and ripped the leash out of my hand knocking me down, scared my dog who ran away. He did stop after I fell. Is there not a rule here?
There is a statute that addresses pedestrians and bicyclists on the sidewalk. On sidewalks subject to state and local laws, bicyclists must always yield to pedestrians.
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.
(10) A person propelling a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian.
However, an HOA can be considered private property and may or may not be subject to state and local laws. See this post and check with your HOA board of directors.
You quote this section of the law, but, in a different section of Florida Statute, a bicycle is defined as a vehicle. In the other section is states they have the same rights and duties as a vehicle! Vehicles are NOT allowed on the sidewalk, which is for pedestrians. The situation above illustrates the aggressive nature of an increasing number of cyclists. Many states bar bikers from sidewalks for good reason. The laws in Florida are confused, and do not define procedure for how and where to the process of “overtaking and passing.”
Cyclists need to do more than give a signal. They should dismount on the margin (grass) to allow pedestrians to pass. If they wish to pass traffic moving in the same directions, simple manners indicate they should dismount and walk their vehicle past pedestrians on the margin and only remount their bikes after moving well ahead of the pedestrians.
I had a similar event such as this one occur to me while walking my dog, except the biker stopped after hitting me and then threated to stab me! Good public relations for the biking community.
You stated “Vehicles are NOT allowed on the sidewalk”.
You are correct that bicycles are considered vehicles. When on the roadway cyclists have the same rights and duties as other drivers.
s. 316.2065 – Bicycle 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 ….
However, vehicles under only human power are allowed on sidewalks unless a local ordinance under 316.008 to the contrary is in effect.
s. 316.1995 – Driving 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.
As stated in the post above, cyclists on the sidewalk have the same rights and duties as pedestrians under the same circumstances. They are still operating vehicles and must comply with applicable statutes regarding lights, headsets, helmets, DUI, etc.
The actions by the cyclist that you describe may be desired but are not required by the law. They are not relieved of the absolute requirement to yield to pedestrians even if that means stopping and dismounting if necessary.
I am consistantly being made to move off the sidewalk w/my dog or being harrassed by cyclist to move on a small sidewalk that doesn’t accommodate both pedestrians & cyclist safely. Whom needs to be contacted to get a state wide Florida complain to educate these punks?