Ryder asked: The scene is one person is riding their bike on the sidewalk East Bound in Orlando city limits and there is also a Bike route on the road, but they choose to ride on the sidewalk, going the opposite way of traffic and they are riding about 10 miles per hour approaching a street crossing and crosswalk. The street that is crossing the bicycle path on the sidewalk runs North and South so the bicycle will travel across this North/South bound roadway through the crosswalk as they travel East bound. The North Bound traffic on the road the bicycle will cross has a stop sign where both roads meet.
There is a huge sign to bike’s left front about 150 feet away at the corner where the street and crosswalk are. The bike coming on the sidewalk opposite way of traffic cannot clearly see if cars are approaching the intersection from the north due to huge sign. There is a car approaching headed North bound and the car approaching the crosswalk has a stop sign and the bike would be traveling in front of this car at the intersection across the crosswalk.
The car stops behind the stop sign and the driver cannot see anyone coming nor is anyone on the 80 feet of sidewalk they can see to their right passenger side, but since there is the same sign that is blocking bike view for approaching cars is also blocking driver view of anyone further down the sidewalk than say 80 feet or so because the sign is blocking the driver full view past 80 feet to their right (which is where the bicycle is coming from on sidewalk and is hidden by the huge sign) so car has to pull up to see around sign before it pulls out and this is when the bicycle is now seen coming fast and there is no time to react the bike comes through the cross walk so fast they cannot stop and hits the car on the passenger side fender just behind the front passenger tire.
Who is at fault? The car who had to pull up to see around sign that got hit by the bike riding fast into crosswalk and hitting the car or is the bike at fault for not taking safety in mind and making sure it was safe to ride out into crosswalk and not yielding right of way to the car since car was already in the crosswalk?
On this site we don’t determine fault in incidents. There are too many variables and we don’t have first-hand knowledge of all the facts. Fault is determined by law enforcement and the court. Below are some of the statutes and regulations that may apply.
Was the cyclist legally riding on the sidewalk?
Sec. 10.15. – Riding on Sidewalks; Joint Use as Bicycle Path.No person shall ride a bicycle on a sidewalk within the corporate limits of the City unless the sidewalk has been designated for joint use as a bicycle path and posted with appropriate signs indicating such use.
Was the motorist legally in the crosswalk?
s. 316.1945 – Stopping, Standing, or Parking Prohibited in Specified Places
(1) Except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic, or in compliance with law or the directions of a police officer or official traffic control device, no person shall:
(a) Stop, stand, or park a vehicle:
4. On a crosswalk.
When on a sidewalk, bicyclists have the same rights and duties as 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.
Drivers at a stop sign must stop and yield to other traffic on the highway, which includes the sidewalk, before entering the crosswalk.
s. 316.123 – Vehicle Entering Stop or Yield Intersection
(2)(a) …. every driver of a vehicle approaching a stop intersection indicated by a stop sign shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering the intersection. After having stopped, the driver shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle which has entered the intersection from another highway or which is approaching so closely on said highway as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time when the driver is moving across or within the intersection.
The rules for right of way at intersections are pretty clear.
s. 316.130 – Pedestrians; Traffic Regulations
(7)(b) The driver of a vehicle at any crosswalk where signage so indicates shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian (or bicyclist) to cross a roadway when the pedestrian (or bicyclist) is in the crosswalk ….
The statute also adds this requirement to yield when the pedestrian (or bicyclist)
…. 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.
Simply being in the crosswalk does not necessarily impart right of way. One cannot dart in front of an oncoming vehicle into a crosswalk or otherwise and expect the driver to be able to stop in time.
(8) No pedestrian (or bicyclist) shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.
The due care provisions in the law apply to both parties in this incident.
s. 316.183 – Unlawful Speed
(1) No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing. In every event, speed shall be controlled as may be necessary to avoid colliding with any person, vehicle, or other conveyance or object on or entering the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to use due care.
s. 316.185 – Special Hazards
The fact that the speed of a vehicle is lower than the prescribed limits shall not relieve the driver from the duty to decrease speed when approaching and crossing an intersection …. or when special hazards exist or may exist with respect to pedestrians or other traffic …. and speed shall be decreased as may be necessary to avoid colliding with any person, vehicle, or other conveyance on or entering the street in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to use due care.
Is the sign 150 feet or 80 feet from the intersection? If the sign is so close to the intersection as to disrupt visibility, the owner may be liable in the event of a crash at the intersection.