Unless a particular municipality has outlawed it, it is legal to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk in Florida. In areas of a community where riding on the sidewalk is prohibited, signs will normally be posted. When riding on a sidewalk, a cyclist has the same rights and duties as a pedestrian, with the added responsibility to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and to give an audible signal before passing.
Although it is legal in most areas to ride on the sidewalk, it is probably not your safest choice. It may feel safer than the road, but by some estimates, you are twice as likely to be involved in a collision with a car if you choose to ride on a sidewalk.
Bicycle Accidents in Crosswalks
When riding on the sidewalk, you are likely to ride directly into a crosswalk, surprising a driver turning into the cross street or proceeding directly through the intersection. The driver may not have enough time to stop and avoid hitting you. This is especially true of a car attempting a right turn. The way to avoid this problem is to behave more like a pedestrian when riding on a sidewalk, which means slowing down to a near stop at every street crossing and looking in all directions, never darting full speed into a crosswalk without first determining that it is clear and safe to cross.
Cars Pulling Out or Backing into Traffic
If you must ride on a sidewalk, you are better off riding with the flow of traffic to the right of the right traffic lane. When a car is pulling out of a driveway, parking lot, or side street, the driver usually checks for approaching traffic in the right lane. A driver is more likely to see a bike coming from that direction on the sidewalk. A motorist commonly fails to check to see if anyone is coming from his or her right against the flow of traffic. Even if you are riding on the right-hand sidewalk, be especially alert to cars pulling out or backing out. This is a major cause of sidewalk bicycle accidents.
Getting Help After a Bike Accident
In spite of taking every precaution, you may be hit by a car and injured by a driver who is distracted, careless, impaired, or simply disregarding the law. In these cases, you may be able to recover monetary compensation for your injuries.
If you’ve been injured in a bike accident involving and want to find out if you have a claim, contact the law office of Jim Dodson online or call 888-207-0905 to schedule a free case review. If you or someone you know was hurt in a bicycle accident and you’re simply looking for information, request a complimentary copy of the Florida Bicycle Accident Handbook. Jim is a cyclist himself, and has been helping Florida accident victims recover money for their damages for more than 25 years.