Bike Paths and Sidewalks
Shawn asked: What defines a sidewalk or bicycle path? Must signage be posted to designate a sidewalk or bicycle path? Do certain size characteristics accompany sidewalks or bicycle paths so as to alert motorized vehicle operators to avoid traveling on them? A link to any Florida Statute governing this area of law would be greatly appreciated.
The definitions are as follows:
s. 316.003 – Definitions
(47) Sidewalk – That portion of a street between the curbline, or the lateral line, of a roadway and the adjacent property lines, intended for use by pedestrians.
(63) Bicycle Path – Any road, path, or way that is open to bicycle travel, which road, path, or way is physically separated from motorized vehicular traffic by an open space or by a barrier and is located either within the highway right-of-way or within an independent right-of-way.
A bicycle path is not a bike lane, which is a part of the roadway. There are signs that are used to designate bike paths, but none that I know of for sidewalks, and none that are indicated in the statutes themselves. It seems the burden is on drivers of motor vehicles to understand the boundaries of the roadway and remain therein.
The national Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) is adopted by FDOT and gives uses and specs for standard signs and pavement markings. FDOT design standards may give specific guidance on the requirements for bike path signs.
You would have to find case law, design standards or other information about the width of sidewalks and bike paths and other methods of discouraging motorists from mistaking them for roadways. It is not in the statutes and not within the scope of this site.
I encourage everyone to check the statutes at this link. We want to empower officers and cyclists to fully understand the statutes and take action accordingly.