Bike Path Hours of Use
Marcus asked: It has come to my attention that being on State Trail or Bike Trail is illegal after sunset. I have asked numerous times for the reference to the Statute Law of Florida regarding this exact rule. No one has been able to clarify it. If this is a serious rule, where is the Statute?
There is no state traffic statute that prohibits use of a bike path or trail after sunset.
Any regulations regarding bike paths are normally established by the public entity having jurisdiction over the area in which the bike path is located. The fact that a bike path is built by the state does not necessarily mean that the state has jurisdiction. Local authorities can establish regulations regarding the use of bicycles as long as they do not conflict with a state statute.
s. 316.008 – Powers of Local Authorities
(1) The provisions of this chapter shall not be deemed to prevent local authorities, with respect to streets and highways under their jurisdiction and within the reasonable exercise of the police power, from:
(h) Regulating the operation of bicycles.
Many bike paths are in state, county or municipal park property that is closed after sunset. If a bike path or park is closed to traffic during certain times, a sign should be posted which should specify the authority or ordinance upon which it is based.
For bike trails that are in property under the jurisdiction of the Florida Office of Greenways and Trails, bike paths are closed from sunset to sunrise. The following rules apply.
62S-3.002 Operations, Activities and Recreation on Lands Under the Management of the Office of Greenways and Trails.
(13) Traffic Control and Parking. Traffic and parking on lands under the management of the Office shall be controlled as follows:
(a) Authorized law enforcement officers and Office staff shall direct traffic on lands under the management of the Office, at entrances thereto and on adjacent roadways as conditions warrant. All persons shall comply with lawful orders, signals, and direction of such officers and staff. All persons shall observe and comply with posted traffic control devices and signs.
(21) Hours. Hours for facilities on lands under the management of the Office shall be as follows:
(a) The opening and closing hours for each facility shall be sunrise to sunset. Facilities may be closed on Holidays listed in subsection 62S-3.001(6), F.A.C., of this chapter. No person shall remain at any facility after closing unless properly registered as an overnight visitor or in possession of valid authorization from the Office. Authorization may be obtained by submitting a written request to the Office of Greenways and Trails, MS 795, 3900 Commonwealth Boulevard, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-3000.
(b) The Department may close any facility or portion of said facility to the public at any time and for any interval of time, either temporarily or at regular stated intervals, and either entirely or only for certain uses. Closed areas will be posted by the Office on maps, signs, or by other reasonable notice. Closures will be used to assure visitor and employee safety, resource protection, operational efficiency, and facility maintenance. No person shall remain in any closed area unless authorized by the Office. Authorization shall be granted by the Office when it is necessary for safety, protection, construction, or restoration purposes. Authorization may be obtained by submitting a written request to the Office of Greenways and Trails, MS 795, 3900 Commonwealth Boulevard, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-3000.
This link will take you to the Chapter quoted.
https://www.flrules.org/gateway/RuleNo.asp?title=OPERATIONS, ACTIVITIES AND RECREATION ON LANDS UNDER THE MANAGEMENT OF THE OFFICE OF GREENWAYS AND TRAILS&ID=62S-3.002
It is recommended that you determine the jurisdiction of the particular bike path in question and ask the authority for the justification for closing it during certain hours.
The bike paths go a long way from where I live, I agree, there is a sign posted at the end of the bike path in the city I live in, however, the path enters numerous other streets, and areas. No parks present and no real property owners either. On top of that, there are no signs posted stating they are off-limits to Bikers during sunset/sunrise time period.
Does that mean I have to leave the bike path before I arrive at the designated “illegal” area?
The area is “Inverness”.
That’s the Withlacoochee Trail, a state trail: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/gwt/guide/regions/crossflorida/trails/with_state.htm
So state regulations apply, even if not posted. It’s like a local law saying you can’t park a truck on a residential street. Just because a certain street isn’t posted ‘no truck parking’ doesn’t mean you’re allowed to park it there.
They want have drunken drivers run over bicyclists rather than have them ride on the Bike Paths for their own safety. Isn’t it logical, if there is an opportunity to give right of way to cars, even if it means getting OFF the road, that you SHOULD take Bike Paths and Lanes? No offense, sounds to be like another (offensive comment edited by flbikelaw) idea made by the sheriff’s department.
I think logic trumps this, both by safety and by common sense.
The Sheriff’s Office does not make the rules. They just enforce them. If you disagree with the rules, you should address your complaint to those who write them, in the instance above, the State of Florida Office of Greenways and Trails.