Bicycle Crash in a Crosswalk
Natalie asked: If a cyclist is riding their bike down a sidewalk and crosses
a side street are they considered to have the same rights as motorists or as
A cyclist was possibly hit while crossing a side street coming off the sidewalk? The cyclist was on their phone talking to someone. The motorist was at a complete stop and went to let go of the brake. Motorist did not put foot on gas before they heard the cyclist saying stop. The cyclist fell down. The motorist is unsure if the cyclist was lightly struck by their vehicle or if they cyclist swerved. The cyclist admitted to the cop that they did not stop before crossing or made sure the motorist saw them. No fault was mentioned on the crash report. The cyclist filed a claim against the motorist car insurance company. Who would be at fault? What should the motorist do?
Bicyclists on the sidewalk or in a crosswalk have the same rights and duties as pedestrians.
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.
A crosswalk may be either marked or unmarked.
s. 316.003 – Definitions
(a) That part of a roadway at an intersection included within the connections of the lateral lines of the sidewalks on opposite sides of the highway, measured from the curbs or, in the absence of curbs, from the edges of the traversable roadway.
A bicyclist is not required to stop before entering a crosswalk from a sidewalk. The cyclist (having the same rights and duties as a pedestrian) may not leave a place of safety in circumstances placing the cyclist in danger.
s. 316.130 – Pedestrians; Traffic Regulations
(8) No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.
On this site we do not give legal advice or assign fault. Fault for incidents is determined by law enforcement and the courts.
Cars yield to bicycles and pedestrians, bicycles yield to pedestrians.
If the OP has accurately described the situation, I submit the motorist is 100% at fault and should compensate the bicyclist for damages.
According to the OP, the motorist had come to a complete stop, presumably in obedience to a STOP sign facing the side street. There are at least three statutes that directly address this situation:
1) Section 316.123(2)(a), Fla. Stat. requires that “. . . every driver of a vehicle approaching a stop intersection indicated by a stop sign shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, but if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection . . .”
2) Section 316.130(7)(b) requires that “the driver of a vehicle at any crosswalk where signage so indicates shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian (or bicyclist) to cross a roadway when the pedestrian (or bicyclist) is in the crosswalk . . .”
3) Once the vehicle was stopped, § 316.154 forbade the motorist from starting the vehicle “. . . unless and until such movement can be made with reasonable safety.”
These laws required the motorist who was facing the STOP sign to stop behind the stop line, or if none was present, before entering the crosswalk. After stopping, the law required the motorist to yield the right-of-way to any person who was in the crosswalk, but even if the person (bicyclist in this case) had not yet entered the crosswalk, the motorist was not permitted to move the vehicle if it would endanger any other user of the highway, such as the bicyclist.
Regarding the bicyclist: As Geo noted, there is no law that required the bicyclist to stop before entering the crosswalk. Nor is there any law that requires the bicyclist to “make sure the motorist saw them.” In fact, the courts have addressed this issue: “If she (pedestrian) was crossing in an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, she was not required to anticipate negligence on the part of others. In the absence of anything which gave or should have given notice to the contrary, she was entitled to assume and to act upon the assumption, even to the last moment, that others would observe and obey the statute which required them to yield the right of way.” Bowen v. Gardner, 168 S.E.2d 47 (N.C. 1969)
Section 316.130(8), which Geo cited, has no bearing upon this situation because the motorist was already stopped. The idea that the bicyclist could suddenly move into the path of the stopped vehicle at such a rate of speed that it was impossible for the stopped driver to yield defies logic—the vehicle was already stopped!
I invite the OP to provide us with the outcome of the bicyclist’s attempt to recover damages.
What if the motorist stopped at the stop sign. Did not see pedestrian or bicyclist, proceeded slowly per witnesses and the bicyclist hit the vehicle at a high rate of speed leaving a huge dent in the driver side door? (Bend in side walk, with foliage.)
It appears that this paragraph from above would apply.
s. 316.130 – Pedestrians; Traffic Regulations
(8) No pedestrian (bicyclist on a sidewalk) shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.
Assuming the motorist had obeyed the law, he or she would have come to a complete stop behind the stop bar. At that point, § 316.154, Fla. Stat. did not permit the motorist to move the vehicle into the crosswalk, and, as it turned out, into the path of the approaching bicyclist, unless the movement could be made with reasonable safety. The ensuing collision proved this was not the case.
Section 316.130(8), which Geo cites, can not possibly apply here because the motorist was already stopped.
I’m not saying the bicyclist was not in violation of any law, but if the witness’s account is correct, the motorist drove his or her vehicle into the path of the approaching bicyclist, not the other way round, which is the situation § 316.130(8) specifically addresses.