Bicycles Must Use Sidewalk? #2
Jon asked: We were on a 2-lane road, with sidewalks off and on, on either side, and no shoulder to speak of in many spots.
A police car came up behind us, put his flashers on, and on his loudspeaker instructed us to get off the road and on to the sidewalk because we were obstructing the flow of traffic (there happened to be a sidewalk beside us at that point.) We were only about a mile from the trail at that point, and jumped on the sidewalk while it was there.
We decided to take a different route back which is a little busier road, but is 5-lane, so thought it would be easier for vehicles to get around us. Wouldn’t you know, another police car (Maybe the same one) came up behind us and told us to get on the sidewalk, again because we were obstructing the flow of traffic. I looked for the first road or driveway to pull on to the sidewalk. Within about 10 seconds, he said, “Don’t make me have to stop this car and write you a citation, get off the road now.”
So we stopped our trikes, pulled them up over the curb and on to the sidewalk.
The trikes are a little wider than an average bike – mine was the widest at 33 inches (our bicycles are 21, 25, and 28 inches at the handlebars).
We were probably averaging only 10 – 12 MPH, because of the slight delicacy of the frame. But trying to stay on sidewalks the rest of the way home was a mess. Had one car pull out in front of us in a driveway just as we passed a high privacy fence. Had another car make a right hand turn in front of us just as we were approaching the crosswalk of an intersection, and the bus stops along the way sometimes had benches ON the sidewalk, that were hard to get by, or there were people sitting ON the benches that had to move as we approached.
I have been told that it is ILLEGAL to ride on the sidewalk in some places?
I thought that in Florida we have a right to be on the road as much as any other vehicle. Have you heard the term “obstructing traffic”? Do I have the right to be on the road at anytime, even when there’s a sidewalk?
See the January 18, 2010 post, “Bicycles Must Use Sidewalk?“.
The only difference seems to be the use of the term “obstructing traffic” which I assume is “impeding traffic”.
Dear Geo, What should a knowledgeable cyclist do in the case of being told by law enforcement to do something which is not required [ride on the sidewalk], safe and finally threaten “[I’ll] write you a citation, get off the road now.”
Who needs the most help the cyclist, law enforcement or both?
Please see this post.
Everyone needs to be better educated about the laws. I highly recommend that you contact the police chief by letter and ask that their department be informed of the laws about cycling in the roadway and include a copy of the LE Guide which can be obtained here: