Confusing Crossing

Question

Harry asked: A couple of weeks ago FDOT realigned a popular shared-use path (“trail”) so it crosses a roadway much closer to the nearby signalized intersection. At the old location STOP signs faced trail users as they approached the crosswalk, but at the new location there are no nearby traffic controls for them. A picture I took of the situation can be found here: http://i67.tinypic.com/xb9s89.jpg 
Who is required to yield to whom at this crosswalk?
Footnote: The situation is supposedly temporary because it appears the contractor did not plan properly, but that does not relieve FDOT of its responsibility to provide for the temporary maintenance of traffic on the trail. The situation is hazardous for trail users because it appears they have been placed in legal limbo.

Answer

It appears that the intent is to treat the trail at that point as the sidewalk.

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.

The poorly placed pedestrian traffic control signal should be coordinated with the roadway traffic control signal to determine right of way.

s. 316.130 Pedestrians; Traffic Regulations

(1) A pedestrian (or bicyclist with the same rights and duties as 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 as provided in s. 316.075,

s. 316.075Traffic Control Signal Devices

1. Vehicular traffic facing a steady red signal shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then before entering the intersection and shall remain standing until a green indication is shown; however:

a. The driver of a vehicle which is stopped 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 in obedience to a steady red signal may make a right turn, but shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and other traffic proceeding as directed by the signal at the intersection ….

2 comments on “Confusing Crossing
  1. HarryB says:

    The situation has turned ugly because I learned that deputies are targeting bicyclists and have cited some of them, although at this point I do not know how many, or the charges. However, the implication is that they were cited for failing to stop in obedience to the UPRAISED HAND indication of the pedestrian signal.

    Geo wrote: “The poorly placed pedestrian traffic control signal should be coordinated with the roadway traffic control signal to determine right of way.”

    At the time I took the picture, the pedestrian signals displayed a steady UPRAISED HAND by default, and would only change if the push buttons were activated. As can be seen from the picture, bicyclists would need to get off their bikes in order to reach the push button.

    Once said signals are relocated to comply with the MUTCD’s requirement that “pedestrian signal heads . . . shall be positioned and adjusted to provide maximum visibility at the beginning of the controlled crosswalk” (Section 4E.05, P1), and the push buttons accessible to trail users, we still have the problem that has been previously discussed on these pages, namely that there is no statute that defines the indications of the pedestrian signals. Consequently, regardless of where these signals are located, or their indications relative to those of the traffic control signals facing motorists on the roadway, they still do not determine right-of-way because there is no law that requires trail users to yield or stop.

    Which brings us to the next question, do the statutes require trail users to comply with the traffic control signals facing US 41?

    Consider that the trail they are traveling on is located in its own right-of-way, and trail users only enter US 41 a few feet before entering the crosswalk. I have made a graphic that illustrates the situation which can be viewed here: http://i66.tinypic.com/29atg7q.jpg (The graphic accurately represents the situation because it was made from FDOT’s plans, although the scale of the traffic signals isn’t accurate.)

    According to § 316.075(1)(c)2.b, Fla. Stat., “. . . pedestrians facing a steady red signal shall not enter the roadway.” But, are trail users actually facing the traffic control signals on US 41? The MUTCD’s Figure 4D-2 shows the horizontal location of the signals relative to the approaching traffic they control, and as best as I can figure out, the trail does not fall within required viewing area for the signals. And I’m sure FDOT would claim it did not plan for the signals to control the trail.

    I submit that FDOT has placed trail users in legal limbo which jeopardizes their safety.

  2. diana says:

    The bicycle laws in Florida are very confusing since they do not agree with what is taught in other states. And most of the drivers are from other states.

Leave a Reply to HarryB Cancel reply