Orlando Sidewalk Cycling
Lance asked: I ride most often around downtown Orlando. While I ride on the road or bike paths following the rules as often as practicable, rude/reckless drivers and brick streets create a hazard that necessitates the use of sidewalks in some cases. I was always under the impression that riding on the sidewalk as a pedestrian was permitted in the City, as it is under Florida law. A couple of weeks ago, I was verbally berated by a pedestrian who saw me riding on a sidewalk – he insisted it is illegal.
Giving the pedestrian the benefit of the doubt, I dug through the municipal code, and found he was correct.
City of Orlando Code of Ordinances, Title II, Chapter 10, Section 10.15
“(1) No person shall ride a bicycle on a sidewalk within the corporate limits of the City unless the sidewalk has been designated for joint use as a bicycle path and posted with appropriate signs indicating such use.”
In 10 years of riding on sidewalks downtown, I have never been stopped by officers or heard from any source that it is prohibited (other than the path around Lake Eola, where posted signs specifically prohibit bicycles).
Can you offer some insight regarding Orlando Police Department’s enforcement or treatment of this ordinance? What area constitutes the “corporate limits” of the City? Are there provisions in Florida law that allow cyclists to deviate from the rules to prevent endangering themselves, and would that sort of law trump the local ordinance and allow a cyclist to use a sidewalk as a pedestrian if the roadway at a given time and place was unsafe for bikes?
Also, a consolidated list of the municipalities in Florida that specifically prohibit bicycles on sidewalks (including the conditions under which they are prohibited) would be valuable.
As you noted, the Florida statutes allow cycling on the sidewalk when there is no local ordinance that prohibits it as does Orlando. Good on you for doing the research and finding the applicable code. The state law does not trump the local ordinance, which is based in the statute that gives local authorities the power to regulate bicycling among numerous other things within their jurisdictions.
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.
You should note that state highways that pass through municipalities are not within the jurisdiction of the municipality, but are under state jurisdiction, and state statutes apply.
The highway includes all the right of way attached to the roadway to the property boundary and includes the sidewalk.
A good example of that is the Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine which has a local ordinance prohibiting bicycles on sidewalks. The bridge is part of the A1A highway system, a state roadway that passes through St. Augustine, and bicycles are permitted on the sidewalk crossing the bridge. Signs are posted accordingly.
Regarding your phrase, “allow a cyclist to use a sidewalk as a pedestrian”, a cyclist riding on the sidewalk is not a pedestrian. The cyclist has the rights and duties of a pedestrian, but is operating a vehicle. The laws applicable to the vehicle still apply, such as required lights at night, helmets for those under age 16 and DUI.
Cities are incorporated as municipalities and there are many sources of the city ( corporate) limits including city maps and this and other web sites:
In some cities, such as Daytona Beach, bicycling on the sidewalk is prohibited only in business districts, defined as 50% or more business properties, and requiring signage to inform citizens.
We can’t give you the sentiment of the police department or Sheriff’s Office having jurisdiction over Orlando about enforcement of sidewalk cycling ordinances. Perhaps CommuteOrlando.com may be able to assist you.
It is unrealistic to expect someone to detail all the numerous local ordinances that relate to sidewalk cycling since they all vary. It is incumbent on each citizen to do as you did and research the local ordinances of their communities. A search of the municodes for a community is not difficult. For Orlando for example, simply Google Orlando Municodes.