Sidewalk Cyclist and Emergency Vehicles
Glen asked: If riding on sidewalk, but not at intersection, do I need to stop when an emergency vehicle is passing by?
Drivers of vehicles in the roadway are required to yield to an emergency vehicle or other vehicles as indicated.
s. 316.126 – Operation of Vehicles and Actions of Pedestrians on Approach of an Authorized Emergency, Sanitation, or Utility Service Vehicle
(1)(a) Upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle, while en route to meet an existing emergency, the driver of every other vehicle shall, when such emergency vehicle is giving audible signals by siren, exhaust whistle, or other adequate device, or visible signals by the use of displayed blue or red lights, yield the right-of-way to the emergency vehicle and shall immediately proceed to a position parallel to, and as close as reasonable to the closest edge of the curb of the roadway, clear of any intersection and shall stop and remain in position until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed, unless otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer.
(b) If an authorized emergency vehicle displaying any visual signals is parked on the roadside, a sanitation vehicle is performing a task related to the provision of sanitation services on the roadside, a utility service vehicle is performing a task related to the provision of utility services on the roadside, or a wrecker displaying amber rotating or flashing lights is performing a recovery or loading on the roadside, the driver of every other vehicle, as soon as it is safe:
1. Shall vacate the lane closest to the emergency vehicle, sanitation vehicle, utility service vehicle, or wrecker when driving on an interstate highway or other highway with two or more lanes traveling in the direction of the emergency vehicle, sanitation vehicle, utility service vehicle, or wrecker, except when otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer. If such movement cannot be safely accomplished, the driver shall reduce speed as provided in subparagraph 2.
2. Shall slow to a speed that is 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit when the posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour or greater; or travel at 5 miles per hour when the posted speed limit is 20 miles per hour or less, when driving on a two-lane road, except when otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer.
When on a sidewalk, a bicyclist has the same rights and duties as a pedestrian.
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.
s. 316.126 continues:
(2) Every pedestrian using the road right-of-way shall yield the right-of-way until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed, unless otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer.
The term “road”, as opposed to roadway includes the sidewalk.
s. 334.03 – Definitions
(22) “Road” means a way open to travel by the public, including, but not limited to, a street, highway, or alley. The term includes associated sidewalks, the roadbed, the right-of-way ….
A bicyclist on the sidewalk is not a pedestrian, but has the rights and duties of a pedestrian under similar circumstances. The bicyclist is still operating a vehicle and must comply with applicable statutes, including, DUI, helmets, lights, etc. The first part of 316.126 above applies to all vehicles and does not preclude bicycles on the sidewalk. The same principles of yielding are indicated in the vehicle and the pedestrian sections.
The portion that requires a vehicle operator to “ immediately proceed to a position parallel to, and as close as reasonable to the closest edge of the curb of the roadway” does not seem to apply to a bicyclist on the sidewalk.