Sidewalk/Roadway Rights and Duties

Question

Phillip asked: My understanding is in Florida that if I ride my bike on the sidewalk I am considered a pedestrian for all practical purposes. If I am on the sidewalk and come to a red light, can I make a right turn after stopping, go a ways and make a u turn to cross the street?

Answer

You are almost correct about the rights and duties of a bicyclist on a sidewalk. However, you are not considered a pedestrian. You are still operating a vehicle and must comply with applicable statutes such a helmets, DUI, lights, etc.

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.

I am assuming you are leaving the sidewalk and entering the roadway before turning right.

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

(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….

When in the roadway, you can perform all the actions you would take if driving a motor vehicle. Assuming you are complying with all other laws, driving along the right side of the roadway is allowed. The following are the requirements for preparing for to make a left turn.

s. 316.151Required Position and Method of Turning at Intersections

(b) Left turn – The driver of a vehicle intending to turn left at any intersection shall approach the intersection in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the direction of travel of such vehicle, and, after entering the intersection, the left turn shall be made so as to leave the intersection in a lane lawfully available to traffic moving in such direction upon the roadway being entered. A person riding a bicycle and intending to turn left in accordance with this section is entitled to the full use of the lane from which the turn may legally be made. Whenever practicable the left turn shall be made in that portion of the intersection to the left of the center of the intersection.

(c) Left turn by bicycle – In addition to the method of making a left turn described in paragraph (b), a person riding a bicycle and intending to turn left has the option of following the course described hereafter: The rider shall approach the turn as close as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway; after proceeding across the intersecting roadway, the turn shall be made as close as practicable to the curb or edge of the roadway on the far side of the intersection; and, before proceeding, the bicyclist shall comply with any official traffic control device or police officer regulating traffic on the highway along which the bicyclist intends to proceed.

Posted in Ask Geo, Making Turns, Rights & Duties, Sidewalks & Crosswalks

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