Laurie asked: I work in administration for the St. George Plantation Homeowners Association on St. George Island, FL. Our BOD wants to make it mandatory for all bikers to use the bike path instead of riding on the private roads. They wanted to know if other HOAs have similar rules or even if this is a plausible request. Pros and cons appreciated!
If these are private roads, the Association can write the rules as they please. If they have an enforcement agreement with the local police, then state laws apply.
See this post:
If your HOA is a municipality, they can also pass ordinances that affect traffic. Since they are planning to deprive a portion of the public of a right otherwise covered by state laws, they must demonstrate that the ordinance is in the public interest. What problem are they trying to resolve?
If a bike path is available, I can’t think of any reason a cyclist would prefer to share a road with motor vehicles. It’s better for everyone for cyclists to use a dedicated bike path.
Bike Paths are usually way out of the way or not in the area where the bicyclist is going. Some bike paths can be a mile or more away from their home. If the bike path runs parallel with the roads then they can use the bike path. Most are inconvenient. Also depending on the law a bicyclist has full use of the roads and streets. This should still be the law even in a private subdivision if the city or county takes care of the roads.
Bike paths are usually shared use paths with pedestrians, skaters, baby buggies, dogs, etc, and are not conducive to higher speeds that some cyclists consider normal.
“Dedicated bike paths” are pretty rare; I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in Florida, although I’ve heard a few do exist. As Geo observed, most of the paths people call “bike paths” are actually shared-use paths, used by runners, skaters, walkers, dog-walkers, etc., as well as cyclists.
Also, unless a roadside path runs through some sort of continuous, uninterrupted greenway (e.g., along a riverbank), it usually crosses driveways, and unless the path is spaced at least a long car length from the street or road, a driver in a driveway who is waiting or preparing to turn into the road (or back into the road, as case may be) will often block the path at some point, forcing a cyclist on the path to slow or stop and wait a moment.
A third problem is that by the time a paved path is 15-20 years old, the pavement has often become cracked and uneven, due to tree root upheaval, drainage problems, edge raveling, pathside vegetation encroaching into edge pavement, etc. Unless the path pavement is rehabilitated, adjacent roadway will usually offer a much smoother ride at this point.
I wouldn’t even answer this question for the homeowner association. Any HAO that wanted to do something like this and take away a person rights to ride on the streets with there bikes would get no support. I wouldn’t be a part of or buy a home in that area. I know several people who have moved because of their stupid regulations pertaining to bicycles. Why do they want to do something like that for? It is apparent that the HOA don’t ride bikes or hate bikes. It is a sad day when things like this happens. I hope they wise up and leave things alone.