Pedestrian/Bicyclist Conflict in the Laws?


Civil asked: I’d like to respectfully refute your article, only because, the laws are conflicting.

Bicycles are ‘vehicles’ NOT ‘pedestrians’ and thus SHOULD NOT ride on side walks or mingle with pedestrians.

NO ‘vehicles’ and ‘pedestrians’ should mingle.

In Florida the bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle.

Bicyclists have the same rights to the roadways, and must obey the same traffic laws as the drivers of other vehicles.


UNFORTUNATELY…. THE LAW contradicts itself in these passages…

316.2065 Bicycle regulations.—

(9) ”A person propelling a ‘vehicle by human power (or a bicycle)’ 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.”

(10) ”A person propelling a ‘bicycle’ upon and along a sidewalk, or ‘across a roadway’ upon and along a crosswalk, “shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian” (what?)…. and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian.

So, 9 says, I’m a vehicle when I peddle and that I have “all the rights and duties a person walking has, “under the same circumstance….but 10 says… I gotta yield to another bicycle or pedestrian”? What the.. OMG!

The MUTCD, does not allow for, or give examples of how traffic control devices should be placed for riders of bicycles on sidewalks, only on roadways.

I was unable to find any law that allows for ‘bicycles’ when considered ‘vehicles’ can ride against traffic or are allowed to alternate between driveways, going from sidewalk to roadway, sidewalk to roadway.

The combined speed of a bike at 10 mph against traffic hitting a vehicle at a combined speed of 40 mph in a residential roadway, would be most likely a deadly idea.

PLEASE consider writing an article on how most other states prohibit, bikes on sidewalks and require bikers IF on a side walk, to “WALK” ACROSS the street when at a crosswalk.

Bicycles are NOT pedestrians.


We have never said bicyclists are pedestrians, nor have the laws.  The laws are pretty clear if read carefully, and in this case are not contradictory.

Let’s not confuse the bicycle, which as you correctly pointed out is a vehicle, and the operator, which is a person.

The roadway is for use by vehicle operators.

s. 316.003 – Definitions

(42) Roadway – That portion of a highway improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of the berm or shoulder.

When in the roadway, a bicyclist, the person operating a vehicle, has the rights and duties of other drivers under most circumstances.

s. 316.2065Bicycle Regulations

(1) Every person propelling a vehicle by human power has all of the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle under this chapter, except as to special regulations in this chapter, and except as to provisions of this chapter which by their nature can have no application.

Sidewalks are for use by pedestrians.

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.

When on a sidewalk the bicyclist, the person is still operating a vehicle, but has the same rights and duties as a pedestrian under the same circumstances. The cyclist is still a person operating a vehicle, not a pedestrian, but must comply with the laws governing the actions of a pedestrian under the same circumstances. A pedestrian can walk in either direction on a sidewalk and the cyclist has that same right.

Additionally, the cyclist must comply with any laws that apply to other circumstances, such a wearing a helmet if under age 16, lights when required, and DUI or open containers in/on a vehicle.

On this site, we just try to tell people what the laws are and offer some interpretation. As you indicated, some of the laws related to bicycling are confusing and sometimes incomplete.

  • The laws allow cyclists to mingle with pedestrians on sidewalks unless there is a local ordinance to the contrary.
  • There is no law that prohibits moving from the sidewalk to the roadway or roadway to the sidewalk. Lacking any such law, it is not unlawful. When leaving the sidewalk and entering the roadway, the cyclist must keep to the right and ride in the same direction as other drivers.   When leaving the roadway and moving to the sidewalk, the cyclist may travel in either direction on the sidewalk.
  • Bicyclists in the roadway cannot legally ride against traffic. They have the duty to drive on the right side of the roadway like other drivers.
  • The MUTCD doesn’t provide signage for bicyclists on the sidewalk, but does provide signage for pedestrians. Those signs would be applicable to bicyclists having the rights and duties of pedestrians.

Other states may have different statutes, but we are in Florida and must comply with Florida’s laws.

We don’t advocate for any particular position. You apparently don’t like the laws as they are presently written. You should seek legislation to have them changed. The FBA has been successful in getting many changes to the laws. I recommend joining if you are not a member and getting involved with their legislative agenda, or joining other advocacy organizations.

2 Comments on “Pedestrian/Bicyclist Conflict in the Laws?

  1. Most states adopted rules on the riding of bicycles on sidewalks modeled on the model provisions of the Uniform Vehicle Code (in particular, § 11-1209). The League of American Bicyclists’ summary of state bicycle laws as they stood in 2012 ( ) suggests this is still true. Checking the rules in 20 other states (I tried to pick states in all parts of the country), I found that 17 of the 20 states had sidewalk rules similar to Florida’s, which implicitly permits riding a bicycle on a sidewalk unless prohibited by local ordinance, but requires the bicycle operator to yield to any pedestrian on the sidewalk. A few states have adopted extra conditions, e.g., Hawaii limits a bicycle rider on a sidewalk to a maximum speed of 10 mph.

    Among the same 20 states, only one (Colorado) had any sort of dismount requirement at crosswalks; it requires a cyclist to dismount before entering a crosswalk “where required by official traffic control devices or local ordinances”.

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