Dallas asked: I am a Police Officer in Fort Myers, Yesterday we were conducting ped/bike enforcement along US-41. The biggest thing we observed were bicycles leaving the sidewalk, crossing three lanes of traffic, riding in the center turn lane for 200-1000 feet before a clearing opened and then they cut across the final three lanes. Would this fall under the same pedestrian law that they must cross at a 90 degree angle when not in a marked crosswalk? Or is this completely legal? The bicycle statutes are a little vague on this.
The statute to which you refer is as follows:
s. 316.130 – Pedestrians; Traffic Regulations
(14)No pedestrian shall cross a roadway intersection diagonally unless authorized by official traffic control devices, and, when authorized to cross diagonally, pedestrians shall cross only in accordance with the official traffic control devices pertaining to such crossing movements.
When on the sidewalk, a bicyclist has the rights and duties of a pedestrian. As long as the bicyclist, while on the sidewalk or sidewalk area, enters the roadway in a lawful manner, the cyclist would comply with the applicable statute.
(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.
Once in the roadway, the cyclist is no longer controlled by the pedestrian regulations, and is operating a vehicle on the roadway. The cyclist must comply with the statutes regarding lane usage. As long as the cyclist changes lanes legally, uses appropriate signals when required and does not unlawfully interfere with other traffic, there would to be no violation.
A bicyclist preparing for a left turn may use the full lane for as long as is required to make the turn safely. That is the case whether there is a turn lane or a normal lane. Bicyclists must use breaks in traffic to move to the left to prepare for a left turn. That may mean a long time before the actual turn. In one court case, a judge ruled that the bicyclist legally remained in the left lane for 1300 feet while preparing for the left turn.
s. 316.151 – Required Position and Method of Turning at Intersections
(1)The driver of a vehicle intending to turn at an intersection shall do so as follows:
(b)Left turn – The driver of a vehicle intending to turn left at any intersection shall approach the intersection in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the direction of travel of such vehicle, and, after entering the intersection, the left turn shall be made so as to leave the intersection in a lane lawfully available to traffic moving in such direction upon the roadway being entered. A person riding a bicycle and intending to turn left in accordance with this section is entitled to the full use of the lane from which the turn may legally be made. Whenever practicable the left turn shall be made in that portion of the intersection to the left of the center of the intersection.
(c)Left turn by bicycle – In addition to the method of making a left turn described in paragraph (b), a person riding a bicycle and intending to turn left has the option of following the course described hereafter: The rider shall approach the turn as close as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway; after proceeding across the intersecting roadway, the turn shall be made as close as practicable to the curb or edge of the roadway on the far side of the intersection; and, before proceeding, the bicyclist shall comply with any official traffic control device or police officer regulating traffic on the highway along which the bicyclist intends to proceed.
See the posts about lane width and sharing for more details about the bicyclist in the roadway.