Shared-Use Path Traffic Control Signals
Karl asked: Should a bicyclist obey the vehicle traffic control signals or the pedestrian control signals at intersections when riding on a shared use path that parallels a roadway?
There are numerous shared use paths in Florida that are parallel to and immediately adjacent to major roadways. At many intersections that have traffic control signals there are painted crosswalks with pedestrian control signals. In many cases the pedestrian control signals indicate don’t walk at all times until a pedestrian pushbutton is activated. Should a bicyclist stop at each crosswalk to request the WALK signal via a pushbutton?
I try to always be a safety first bicyclist. I typically do not stop if the traffic light is green, there is not any right turning or left turning traffic on the parallel roadway, and there is not any right turning traffic on the intersecting roadway.
The laws regarding bicyclists in shared-use paths are not clear. However, there are some that seem applicable.
The traffic control signals for the roadway are not applicable to vehicle operators on a sidewalk, shared-use path or bike path when pedestrian signals are present.
s. 316.075 – Traffic Control Signal Devices
(a) Green indication
2. Vehicular traffic facing a green arrow signal …. shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk and to other traffic lawfully using the intersection.
3. Unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian control signal …. pedestrians facing any green signal, except when the sole green signal is a turn arrow, may proceed across the roadway within any marked or unmarked crosswalk.
A bicyclist has the rights and duties of a pedestrian when on a sidewalk or crosswalk. A shared-use path is not a sidewalk, but this statute applies to the bicyclist in a crosswalk.
s. 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations
(9) A person propelling a vehicle by human power 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.
This statute is not specific but seems to imply that a motorist need not yield to a pedestrian (bicyclist) in a crosswalk in violation of the traffic control signal.
s. 316.130 – Pedestrians; Traffic Regulations
(1) A pedestrian shall obey the instructions of any official traffic control device specifically applicable to the pedestrian unless otherwise directed by a police officer.
(7)(a) The driver of a vehicle at an intersection that has a traffic control signal in place shall stop before entering the crosswalk and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian, with a permitted signal, to cross a roadway when the pedestrian is in the crosswalk or steps into the crosswalk and is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.
Hence, it would also indicate the bicyclist must obey the traffic signal as well.
The due care provisions of the Pedestrian Traffic Regulations caution drivers to avoid colliding with pedestrians or bicyclists in all situations.
(15) Notwithstanding other provisions of this chapter, every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or any person propelling a human-powered vehicle and give warning when necessary and exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused or incapacitated person.
See this post for more info.
There are a number of posts at this link about bike paths.
I suggest reading Dwight’s comments on these posts as well.