Rude Sidewalk Bicyclists
Lisa asked: The bicyclists in our neighborhood have made walking to and from school a nightmare. The adults bike with their children on the sidewalk, and in my ten minute walk to the school, I am forced off the sidewalk several times. In the morning, having to move over every two minutes when a child/adult bicyclist says, “Excuse me,” is annoying. In the afternoon, there is no point in leaving before the bicyclists. They expect the pedestrians to waive their right-of-way on the sidewalk, despite not living on a busy street. Is there anything that can be done about this situation? If so, where do I start? The principal says he has no authority once these people leave school property.
Bicyclists must always yield to pedestrians on the sidewalk. They can’t just say “Excuse me” and expect the pedestrian to move out of their way.
s. 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations
(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 and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian.
The principal of the school may not have authority over the sidewalks but can certainly take helpful action. He/she can tell the kids and PTA and write a letter to the parents of all students telling them the law about sidewalk bicycling and asking them to be more courteous.
You can also advise your local police department of the situation and ask them to patrol the area before and after school. The school may have a police officer assigned that could be helpful in improving the situation.
For a single pedestrian who encounters a single bicycle rider, this is (usually) less of a problem. As a runner, I move to the right side of the sidewalk (still running) to let a bicycle rider pass me on my left. Ordinarily I leave the sidewalk (detouring into the grass) only when necessary to pass a slower pedestrian.
If two pedestrians are trying to walk side by side on a narrow sidewalk, or if a pedestrian is trying to walk a dog, letting a bicycle rider pass does become more complicated.
Sometimes a sidewalk used by schoolchildren, especially one on a “busy street”, can be widened to reduce conflicts. This might be something to explore with the agency that maintains the street, or the local planning department.
Not sure why you think they are rude if they are saying “Excuse me”. Maybe you are thinking they should be in the street, but many people riding with children are not comfortable doing so.