Bicycles on Private Roads
Christy asked: We live in a townhouse-style condominium. The president of our association recently told us that our kids are not allowed to ride their bicycles and scooters in the courtyard. (Two of our kids are too small to ride on the street yet.) Today she informed us that NO ONE can ride bicycles or scooters on the STREETS, either. She says it’s private property and they can do that, and if we “let people ride” on the streets, we’ll lose our insurance coverage and have to have a huge assessment. I see on your page that a bicycle is defined legally as a vehicle, so it would seem that they can’t do this. What is your advice?
There are differences between roads on private property and public roadways. One definition under Streets and Highways applies to private roads. It refers to permission of the owner for vehicular travel.
s. 316.003- Definitions
(53) Street or Highway
(b) The entire width between the boundary lines of any privately owned way or place used for vehicular travel by the owner and those having express or implied permission from the owner, but not by other persons.
(33) Private Road or Driveway – Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (53)(b), any privately owned way or place used for vehicular travel by the owner and those having express or implied permission from the owner, but not by other persons
Owners of private property can control vehicular travel within the boundaries of that property.
Even if it is private property, a municipality may exercise jurisdiction over private roads under some circumstances.
s. 316.006 – Jurisdiction
Jurisdiction to control traffic is vested as follows:
(a) Chartered municipalities shall have original jurisdiction over all streets and highways located within their boundaries ….
(b) A municipality may exercise jurisdiction over any private road or roads …. located within its boundaries if the municipality and party or parties owning or controlling such road or roads provide., by written agreement approved by the governing body of the municipality, for municipal traffic control jurisdiction over the road or roads encompassed by such agreement.
4. The board of directors of a homeowners’ association …. may …. elect to have state traffic laws enforced by local enforcement agencies on private roads that are controlled by the association.
If a homeowners association does cede traffic control jurisdiction to local enforcement agencies, they are electing to have state traffic laws enforced. In that case, state laws permit bicyclists use of the roads, as they would any other roadway.
A condominium may have different rules, and they are controlled by directives that are beyond the scope of this website. However, the same principles would seem to apply.
Scooters are prohibited from public roadways.
s. 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations
(12) No person upon roller skates, or riding in or by means of any coaster, toy vehicle, or similar device, may go upon any roadway except while crossing a street on a crosswalk