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Can You Ride a Bike on the Sidewalk in Florida?

Today I read a status update on Facebook that a friend of mine posted. According to this post, they were apparently ‘almost ticketed’ for riding a bike on the sidewalk (they live in Florida). It’s always a confusing subject, because bikes are some of the most simple type of personal conveyance, but also one of the most advanced forms of human-powered transportation; they create a sort of “half-pedestrian, half-vehicle” scenario. That can bring up the often-stumping question: “is riding a bike on Florida sidewalks illegal?” Well; let’s delve deeper into the topic and see what we can find out!

Is It TECHNICALLY Illegal?

Simply put, yes. In Florida, it’s legally stated that a bicycle is a vehicle; the above statement I made in the opening paragraph about being ‘half of each’ is me being literal, not legally correct. With that said, the operator of the aforementioned vehicle is considered—by law—a driver, and will therefore be held to the same laws, expectations, and punishments.

At the same time, however, bicycles (when not being propelled by a motor and are purely human powered) are treated as a form of pedestrians but must yield the right-of-way to on-foot travelers. So are you really telling me that there’s a limbo? Maybe my “half of each” statement is true! Eh… there’s one more very important factor that changes everything; local municipality authority.

That’s right; the local authorities of each city can decide their own methods of handling bicycle traffic. As long as it’s “under their jurisdiction and within the reasonable exercise of the police power”, it’s totally legal for a member of law enforcement to stop, ticket, or question you for riding on a sidewalk if they feel reason to. My friend could have very well gotten a ticket in this situation!

Is There A Good Reason To Regulate This?

There are plenty of reasons for it to be up to the local authorities to decide. What is the main reason? No 2 cases are the same; one person might have been riding on the sidewalk because they felt endangered on a busy main road; another person might have been riding on a pedestrian-replete sidewalk when they main road has an empty bike lane! These differing situations put 2 completely different parties at risk, so to give an authoritative figure the ability to judge who was wrong leads to much safer roadways.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA

CONTACT OUR CLEARWATER & TAMPA BAY AREA PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEYS

Unfortunately, distracted driving and other activities that steal the attention of motor vehicle operators cause accidents all of the time. An innocent driver may strike a reckless biker with dangerous habits; a biker may hit a pedestrian on the sidewalk and cause an injury. Regardless of your situation, if you or someone you know has been injured due to someone else’s negligence you may be eligible for compensation. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney in Clearwater, Florida. Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA offers you a free consultation and case evaluation so don’t hesitate to contact us today!

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Clearwater, FL 33756
727-451-6900

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