House Bill 453 was passed on June 18, 2019. HB453 allows scooters to be driven on streets and bike paths in the State of Florida, but leaves the decisions up to local governments.
When electric scooters arrived in Tampa in May 2019, they were allowed only on sidewalks. Now, in Tampa, scooters are being treated much like bicycles. Tampa authorities now allow e-scooter riders to use bike-protected lanes wherever they are provided. If there are no bike lanes around, then e-scooter users may ride on the road as close to the right shoulder as possible.
Can bicycles be ridden on sidewalks in Florida?
With electric scooters being treated more like bicycles, some people want to know if bicycles are allowed on sidewalks in Florida. In most areas of Florida, bicycles are allowed on sidewalks.
(9) A person propelling a vehicle by human power upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.(10) A person propelling a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian.
In cities like Tampa, where there are bike lanes, bicycles are classified as vehicles. When a cyclist is on the road, they should follow common traffic laws.
According to TampaGov.net:
A bicycle is classified as a vehicle. A person in control of a vehicle on a street or highway is a driver. As a driver, a cyclist must follow the traffic rules common to all drivers. As the driver of a bicycle, he must also obey regulations adopted specially for bicycles. A person riding a bicycle has all the rights applicable to any driver, except as to special regulations for bicycles.
Parking scooters on Tampa sidewalks:
Tampa Bay leaders hope that by legally designating these new devices as bicycles it will help deter riders from riding and parking in the path of pedestrians. The City of Tampa set up over a dozen designated parking stations (aka corrals) where riders are encouraged to drop off their e-scooters. Although parking in the corrals is ideal, Tampa urges e-scooter riders to always park their devices upright and to avoid parking in hazardous locations like in front of doorways, fire hydrants, and on sidewalks.
Tampa officially kicked off its one-year e-scooter pilot program at the end of May 2019. According to the plan, the following four companies are allowed to bring no more than 2,400 e-scooters total into the city: Lime, Bird, Jump and Spin.
Injuries with vehicles:
It was recently reported that Tampa General Hospital saw a 700% spike in scooter related injuries. Many of these injuries involve head injuries, broken ankles, sprains and other various bone fractures. While you may be on your own if you lose your balance and fall off of a scooter, if a vehicle hit you while on a scooter you may be able to be compensated.
Scooters are new to the streets of Tampa. If you are hit by a car due to a driver’s negligence, such as a distracted driver who hits you while you are in a bike lane, you may be able to hold that driver accountable for your injuries. Don’t expect their insurance company to make things easy for you though. Auto insurance companies often try to blame scooter riders for their injuries.
If you were injured on a scooter and believe a motorist was at fault, contact our Tampa personal injury lawyers today for a free consultation and case evaluation.