Right of Way on Bike Paths
Pete asked: There is a multi-use trail that places stop or yield signs facing trail users where the trail crosses roads or entrances into business, and the crosswalks are marked. While riding recently, we approached one of the yield signs. I yielded and determined that I could clear the intersection before I impeded traffic and I did. My riding partner, who was following behind me stopped at the yield sign, then followed me through the cross walk. Her bike was practically out of the crosswalk when an approaching car slammed on his brakes and got out to confront my friend for not yielding to him as the sign said. (The only traffic marking for cars is the marked crosswalk) My question-Since yield and stop signs are vehicle traffic signs, are they being improperly applied? And do those signs over ride the rights we have as cyclist/pedestrians in a cross walk?
Bicycles are vehicles and cyclists have the same rights and duties as other drivers. The signs are appropriate. Cyclists on the bike path must obey the applicable signs. They have the duty to stop and yield as appropriate to other traffic.
s. 316.123 – Vehicle Entering Stop or Yield Intersection
(1) The right-of-way at an intersection may be indicated by stop signs or yield signs.
(2)(a) …. every driver of a vehicle approaching a stop intersection indicated by a stop sign shall stop. After having stopped, the driver shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle which has entered the intersection from another highway or which is approaching so closely on said highway as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time when the driver is moving across or within the intersection.
(3) The driver of a vehicle approaching a yield sign shall, in obedience to such sign, slow down to a speed reasonable for the existing conditions and, if required for safety to stop, shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection. After slowing or stopping, the driver shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another highway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time the driver is moving across or within the intersection.
A cyclist in a crosswalk has the rights and duties of a pedestrian. Note that the bicycle is still a vehicle.
s. 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations
(10) 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 statutes are not always perfect in their application. It would appear there is a conflict when there is a yield sign in only one direction and a marked crosswalk present.
Even so, once a cyclist (pedestrian) is in a crosswalk, even after having violated s. 316.123 above, it would seem the motorist must yield if possible.
s. 316.130 – Pedestrians; Traffic Regulations
(c) When traffic control signals are not in place or in operation and there is no signage indicating otherwise, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian (bicyclist) crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian (bicyclist) is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.
The above does not eliminate the requirement for the cyclist (pedestrian) to use caution and only enter the roadway or crosswalk when it is safe to do so.
(8) No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.