Stop Signs Facing Bike Paths
Will asked: Living in central Florida give me the chance to ride some of the best Rail Trails in the USA. So many bike friendly towns in FL have wonderful signage to protect bike riders at marked crosswalks. Sanibel and Santa Rosa two of these towns. Others seem to indicate bikes must wait for all car traffic to pass.
Is there no statewide standard for crosswalk signs per FS 316.130?
Attached a link to 9 photos to some examples stated above.
As it appears you are aware, a bicyclist on a sidewalk or crosswalk has the same rights and duties as 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.
I believe the provisions to which you refer are as follows.
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 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.
(c) When traffic control signals are not in place or in operation and there is no signage indicating otherwise, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian 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. Any pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.
However, the presence of crosswalks and signage does not permit entering the roadway in an unsafe manner.
(8) No pedestrian 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.
As you note, it seems that signage is used indiscriminately on bike trails and, although the signs are uniform, their application is not uniform.
Obedience to traffic control devices is required.
s. 316.074 – Obedience to and Required Traffic Control Devices
(1) The driver of any vehicle shall obey the instructions of any official traffic control device applicable thereto, placed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter ….
Although the bicyclist has the rights and duties of a pedestrian, he/she is still operating a vehicle.
Even with the presence of a stop sign facing a bike path, once the cyclist (having the rights and duties of a pedestrian) safely enters the crosswalk, in accordance with the statutes above, a motorist is required to yield.
The Pedestrian Regulations require obedience to traffic control signals.
s. 316.130 – Pedestrians; 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 …. but at all other places pedestrians shall be accorded the privileges and be subject to the restrictions stated in this chapter.
This statute seems to imply that unless a traffic light (traffic control signal), as opposed to a stop sign (traffic control device) is present, the actions of a pedestrian or bicyclist with the rights and duties of a pedestrian is only controlled by the presence of a traffic light.
The question seems to be whether or not the traffic control devices are legally placed. I can’t give you a quote that either confirms or denies their legal placement. A lot of information about the subject is included in this post and the accompanying comments.
The way people are these days we have to remember that just because the laws say we have the right to do something doesn’t mean that drivers or others will give us that right. We have to be careful all the time.
Florida’s rules on who must stop for or yield to whom at crosswalks are a bit complex.
As the rules presently stand, a driver approaching a crosswalk where no traffic control signal is present, and where no sign is present indicating that a driver must stop for a crosswalk user, must yield to a pedestrian (and, therefore, a cyclist) who is in the crosswalk (s. 316.130(7)(c), quoted by Geo). The yielding requirement applies regardless of whether any sign with YIELD text or symbol is present; where such a sign is posted, it is simply a reminder of the requirement.
If, however, a STATE LAW [STOP sign symbol] FOR [pedestrian symbol] WITHIN CROSSWALK sign is posted, then an approaching driver must “stop and remain stopped” for a crossing pedestrian; simply slowing to a sufficient crawl to let the pedestrian proceed would not be sufficient.
As for the pedestrian, Florida law defines no meaning of a stop sign for a pedestrian who approaches or faces one. For that matter, it doesn’t describe any “right” of a pedestrian to use a crosswalk; however, it mentions no restriction on pedestrian crossing at an unsignalized crosswalk except that (at any roadway location) a pedestrian may not “suddenly leave the curb and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield” (s. 316.130(8), quoted by Geo).
A cyclist on a sidewalk (or a bicycle path that also serves as a sidewalk) has “all the rights…applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances” but, as the “driver of a vehicle”, the cyclist would be expected to obey a stop sign at an unsignalized crossing location, even though the sign has no defined meaning for a pedestrian.
The meaning of the in-path placard shown in two of Will’s photos (“[Crossing road name] [STOP sign symbol] FOR ONCOMING TRAFFIC”) is not clear to me. On a bicycle path, even at a roadway crossing the only oncoming traffic should be any oncoming path traffic, i.e., other cyclists and pedestrians, who should be able to approach and pass one by simply keeping to the other side of the crosswalk and path. The intended purpose of the placard may be to draw attention to a requirement for a bicycle user on the path to stop for CROSS traffic, as established by a posted STOP sign.