The short answer is yes, in most places. But, local communities have the right to prohibit cyclists on the sidewalk in certain areas. Many times, signs can be seen in densely populated areas, especially high volume tourist areas, alerting cyclists that bicycles are prohibited. Otherwise, it is perfectly legal to ride on the sidewalk.
Many experienced cyclists will debate whether it is safer to ride on the sidewalk or the road. This comes down to personal preference. They each have their own advantages and risks.
Bear in mind a cyclist may lawfully ride in either direction while on a sidewalk and is not required to ride in the same direction traffic may be moving in the lane next to the sidewalk. This is not well known by Florida drivers.
The most common danger to a cyclist is riding against the direction of traffic in the nearby lane. When the driver of a car or truck is pulling out of a parking lot or a side street often they look only for traffic coming from their left – not thinking about a cyclist approaching from the right. Very often a driver waiting to pull out never looks to the right.
Drivers Must Yield to Cyclists Riding on the Sidewalk
Drivers must yield the right of way to pedestrians and cyclists, regardless of which direction they are moving on the sidewalk. Even though you have the right of way as a cyclist, never assume the driver has seen you or will yield to you.
Florida drivers have a duty to avoid any risk of harm to a cyclist. If an accident involving a cyclist was due to driver distraction, carelessness or inattention, the driver should be held responsible for any injuries.
Get Help from an Experienced Clearwater Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Jim Dodson is an experienced bicycle accident lawyer, cyclist and bicycle safety advocate who has represented accident victims for over 25 years. Although his primary offices are located in Clearwater; he represents injury victims throughout Florida. In the Florida Bicycle Accident Handbook, he answers common questions he has been asked by injured cyclists. If you have questions after a Florida cycling accident, this valuable resource is available to you absolutely Free of charge.