Are You Required to Use a Bike Lane or Can You Ride on the Sidewalk?

With our flat roads and warm weather, Florida provides ideal conditions for bike riding in some places. In other places, however, traffic makes many riders uncomfortable. Sharing the road with a tractor trailer or even a regular car can be a frightening and dangerous experience, even if the road includes a bike lane.

So can you ride on the sidewalk or is that reserved for pedestrians? Despite what many of us were taught as a child, it is legal to ride your bike on the sidewalk most of the time in Florida. However, there are few features of the law you need to keep in mind.

Pay Attention to Local Rules

First, some local laws ban bike riding on sidewalks in certain congested areas. For instance, Section 25-187 of the Tampa Code of Ordinances prohibits riding a bicycle on the sidewalks in any business district. Local subdivisions and homeowners associations may also have restrictions when it comes to riding your bike on a sidewalk.

You Are Required to Follow Pedestrian Rules

The second thing to understand about riding your bike on the sidewalk in Florida is that using the sidewalk makes you subject to pedestrian rules. Pedestrian laws require the use of marked crosswalks when crossing between intersections with stoplights, and yielding to other vehicles if you ever cross a street outside a crosswalk. In addition, you are not supposed to suddenly leave the curb and run into the path of another vehicle.

Yield and Warn Requirements

Bicyclists riding on the sidewalk are required to yield to any pedestrians on the sidewalk. In addition, you are required to use a bell or other noise-making device or call out a warning when preparing to pass a pedestrian on the sidewalk while you are riding.

It is permissible to ride your bike in either direction down the sidewalk in Florida, although experts recommend riding in the direction of road traffic. In some cases, such as when the sidewalk is crowded or there are many driveways, it may be much safer to ride your bike in the street.

Required Use of Bike Lane

When you ride your bike on the road and you are traveling at a speed less than the usual speed of traffic at that time and place, Section 316.2065 of the Florida Code requires you to ride in a bike lane if there is one. If there is no bike lane, you are required to ride as close to the right as possible unless it is dangerous to do so or you are about to make a left turn.

Presumably, if you are riding an ebike or if motorized traffic is slow so that you are traveling at the same speed as most others on the road, then you have the right to a full lane. However, it remains safer to stay toward the right when possible.

When Safety Measures Fail to Protect You, Contact Zweben Law Group

Knowing and practicing safe policies on the road can protect your life and health in the majority of situations. Sometimes, however, other people drive irresponsibly, and you can get hurt as a result. When that happens, Zweben Law Group is here for you.

We fight to get a full recovery physically and financially so that you can move forward after an accident. If you need help or have questions, call us anytime for a free consultation.