The City of Miami Police Department cannot say if they have ever given a ticket for “Failure to Yield” to any motorist for driving through crosswalks when pedestrian or cyclists have the right-of-way. While this doesn’t mean it has never happened, the video we posted just this morning (and others, plus pictures) makes it clear that this is not a priority for local law enforcement. All we have right now is speculation as to what led to a motorist hitting a man on a bike in broad daylight, in the middle of the road yesterday - but it’s lead to a lot of reader questions about the State mandated ‘right-of-way’ on city streets that feel more like ‘might is right.’
The South Florida Bike Coalition has submitted a public records request but it
will take time (and police charge by the hour, of course) was denied to look at each and every written citation over the last year to see how many people have ever received the $80.00 fine for failing to yield at a crosswalk. UPDATE: our request was denied because even in the written records, these stats are not records. No one keeps track of how many people are caught nearly hitting people walking or biking in the City of Miami. We are now talking to Miami-Dade County Clerk of Courts.
Some clarification on the law is provided by a Florida Department of Transportation Online Pedestrian Safety Guide that states:
A driver is obliged to yield the right of way to a pedestrian lawfully crossing in a crosswalk. Safe yielding requires stopping if the crossing pedestrian is in the driver’s lane, the lane into which the driver is turning, or an adjoining lane. A condition for crossing “lawfully” is that the pedestrian began crossing when it was legal to do so. A crosswalk is legally present on each leg of an intersection except where crossing is prohibited by signs. Crosswalks are left unmarked at most unsignalized intersections. [Yes, that means an intersection has a crosswalk even when FDOT won't give you one in paint.]
FDOT Online also takes efforts to promote state statues specifically related to people on bicycles, who are considered ‘drivers’ since bicycles are vehicles. That said,
Please note: We do not yet have the Police Report from yesterday’s collision, so we want to be clear that all of this remains speculation, but we will update at TransitMiami.com as soon as we receive the details. If we assume that the cyclist was not in the crosswalk and was crossing like any other vehicle, then a different Florida Traffic Law / Statute is relevant:
§ 316.075 (a)Green indication.— 1.Vehicular traffic facing a circular green signal may proceed cautiously straight through or turn right or left unless a sign at such place prohibits either such turn. But vehicular traffic, including vehicles turning right or left, shall yield the right-of-way to other vehicles and to pedestrians lawfully within the intersection or an adjacent crosswalk at the time such signal is exhibited.
In this case, I want to thank the City of Miami Police Department’s Public Information Office for working on getting this to us and for taking the Bike Coalition‘s stats request. The country is following this. More to come soon.
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