Sarasota Sidewalk Cycling

Question

Linda asked: Is it legal to ride bicycle on a sidewalk in Sarasota, Fl?

Answer

Bicycles are permitted on sidewalks in Sarasota. The wording of the local ordinances is identical to the Florida Bicycle Regulations.

Sarasota Code of Ordinances

Sec. 33-194. – Right-of-way of Pedestrians.

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 and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian.

Sec. 33-195. – Rider has Rights and Duties of a pedestrian.

A person propelling 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.

You can access the Muni-codes for Sarasota here:

https://www.municode.com/library/fl/sarasota/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIITHCO_CH33TRMOVE_ARTVBI

5 Comments on “Sarasota Sidewalk Cycling

  1. Ridiculous law (or lack thereof) that risks lives. Riding a bicycle on the sidewalk and especially crosswalks is just plain dangerous. What ever happened to walking your bicycle through a crosswalk? I’ve see bicyclists on the ground frequently in the 10 years I’ve lived here and twice as many almost getting hit. They evidently have the unconditional right of way, and boy do they run with that ball! No looking.. No stopping…No helmets…No consideration for any signs or anything impeding their motion. So when Mr. Magoo or Mrs. Doubtfire hits them like I’ve witnessed many times.. We can put it on their epitaph.. HE (or she) HAD THE RIGHT OF WAY.

    • Geo. I read it. Did you? The bottom line is they have the correct perception that they ultimately have the right of way in virtually every circumstance. But let’s say for the sake of argument that a driver kills, seriously injures, or even just hurts someone. I’m pretty sure for any normal person that’s gonna ruin their day for a while, and not being legally responsible will be of little consolation. For anybody. I personally would feel terrible if I hit a squirrel and killed him. That would ruin my day. Maybe even two. The irony is, because law enforcement evidently does not educate and enforce the laws that DO exist for bicycles and pedestrians (a police officer would at least pull over and give you a “talking to” if he saw you jay walking or riding your bike across the crosswalk when I was a kid), despite having a brain smaller than an acorn, the squirrels in contrast exercise a relatively enormous amount of common sense when trying to get from A to B. Is it possible they actually know the law doesn’t protect them? The fact is the majority of bicyclists and pedestrians I see will switch between the road and the sidewalk and ignore all signs and signals in order to keep moving and not have to stop or consider anything..they might look at you to confirm that you see them, but then proceed regardless if they have the right of way or not. I’m just glad to be young enough to have my sight, hearing, reflexes, and fast thought process. I wonder what’s gonna happen as I continue aging?

  2. Jeffrey,

    I thought about your comment today when I saw a motorist run a light 3-4 seconds after it turned red and another motorist had to brake to avoid a crash. I agree with you that some bicyclists don’t obey the laws. That they are bicyclists is not what causes them to drive like that. They probably drive their cars the same way, resulting in more than 3000 auto deaths each year in Florida.

    It would be great if bicyclists and motorists all obeyed the law and the police strictly enforced all traffic laws, but that just isn’t the case. As you have noted, defensive driving of our bicycles and motor vehicles will help us avoid incidents.

    • Gee, Geo.. I hope you’re not missing my point.. while at the same time illustrating it.
      My point is that if the laws were mostly in their favor, and law enforcement turned a virtual blind eye to the infractions of any of the laws existing that are designed to curtail flagrancy and ensure safety.. You’d see a lot more motorists doing stupid and dangerous things. It is factual to say that people at large simply cannot govern themselves… So we need to have laws and people to enforce them to ensure safety for everyone. And even then, it’s a risk everytime we get in the car and drive it. At least in a modern automobile, we have a fighting chance..front, rear, and side air bags, seat belts, compression strength steel, government crash test standards, back-up and blind spot cameras, etc. Now what chances does a pedestrian or a bicyclist with 1/3 of an actual helmet, fingerless gloves, and Spandex shorts have against an automobile?
      I realize that educating and enforcing the law to pedestrians and bicyclists would not bring in the revenue like it does with motorists. It would actually cost them money. But not educating people and not enforcing the existing laws allows for more flagrant and dangerous behavior. I read a statistic out of Stanford University that said 60 percent of people in America over 68 years of age by physical and medical standards should NOT be driving. And another 18 percent are driving ILLEGALLY. Wow..that’s something to think about when living in what so many call “God’s Waiting Room”..I’m just sayin. Peace.

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