Is it legal to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk in Florida? There is much confusion about this question. Yes, it is legal to ride on the sidewalk unless specifically prohibited in certain congested areas by the local municipality.
It is legal to ride with or against the flow of traffic. A bicycle on the sidewalk is not required to stop before riding into a cross walk at an intersection. A bicyclist, however, cannot leave a place of safety and ride into the path of an approaching vehicle. A person on a bicycle has all the rights and responsibilities of a pedestrian while on the sidewalk.
While it is legal to be on a sidewalk, it is not safe. Drivers are not looking for bicycles on a sidewalk. This is especially true when the bicycle is approaching a driver from the driver’s right while the driver is exiting a driveway or parking lot. In that situation the driver is focusing on traffic approaching from the left and rarely looks back to the right before proceeding. This type of crash is one of the most common we see involving bicycles. We are currently handling several of these cycling cases in various parts of Florida and have handled many others.
Another point of conflict for a bicyclist using the sidewalk is a driver attempting to enter a driveway or parking lot. Drivers entering from the traffic lane never consider a bicycle could be on the sidewalk. They make their decision to turn in when traffic permits them, and they will not be looking for a bicycle on the sidewalk. The same holds true for drivers exiting their own driveways, whether backing across the sidewalk or pulling forward. Drivers coming from behind shrubs, walls, and gates are often out of the view of a bicycle rider until the last second. We are currently working on an extremely serious case of this type.
So while it is legal to ride on Florida sidewalks, it is not safe to do so. Parents must be extremely vigilant when riding with children on a sidewalk in order to anticipate any potential points of conflict with drivers that a child would not consider. They should never permit a child to get too far ahead or behind them. And they should always set the right example by wearing helmets.
Have You Been Injured in a Cycling Crash in Florida?
As a road cyclist himself, Jim Dodson understands the issues involved in virtually every type of cycling crash, including those that have occurred on a sidewalk. He has experience riding these same roads and knows what it takes to recover from crash related physical injuries and surgeries. He understands what it means to lose your bike and be unable to ride for weeks or months while you recover. His goal is to relieve you of the emotional burdens, handle the legal and insurance issues, while you focus on your recovery and return to cycling.
If you have any questions or concerns about your cycling crash contact us online or call our offices directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free consultation.