Last week, Bill C., posted the following comment on Transit Miami.

“People should ignore the Bal Harbour rule because it is unlawful. Your right to operate your bike on the sidewalk is a right protected by state statute.”

He goes on to say:

“Section 316.2065 (10), Florida Statutes, expressly provides that “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.”

“It is well established under Florida law that municipalities cannot remove rights granted by state statute. In Rinzler v. Carson, the Florida Supreme Court declared:
Municipal ordinances are inferior in stature and subordinate to the laws of the state. Accordingly, an ordinance must not conflict with any controlling provision of a state statute, and if any doubt exists as to the extent of a power attempted to be exercised which may affect the operation of a state statute, the doubt is to be resolved against the ordinance and in favor of the statute. A municipality cannot forbid what the legislature has expressly licensed, authorized or required, nor may it authorize what the legislature has expressly forbidden. In order for a municipal ordinance to prohibit that which is allowed by the general laws of the state there must be an express legislative grant by the state to the municipality authorizing such prohibition.”

“Bring the state statute to court with you if you get a ticket for riding on the sidewalk. Sue Bal Harbour if you get hit by a motor vehicle because you were following their illegal ordinance.”

We decided to check with the South Florida Bike Coalition legal team and they agree; the Bal Harbour ordinance is in conflict with the State statue.

We here at Transit Miami do not advocate bicycling on sidewalks, but Bal Harbour is forcing inexperienced cyclists to ride on dangerous Collins Avenue. I would not want my child riding on Collins Avenue. Bal Harbour should not force people to ride in the roadway.  Rather then castigating cyclists Bal Harbour should work with the FDOT to provide a safer environment for cyclists of all ages to ride comfortably and safely through Bal Harbour.

How about a group ride up and down the sidewalks of Bal Harbour?

Thank for the heads-up Bill C!

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13 Responses to Bal Harbour “No Bicycle Allowed on Sidewalk” Ordinance Conflicts with State Statue

  1. bruce strom says:

    I emailed DOT and asked them whether Bal Harbor was in violation of state statute in forbidding bikes to ride on the sidewalk, and their response was any municipality can pass a no bicycle statute.
    They were not happy that a municipality would forbid riding bikes on the sidewalk on A1A though, particularily since the bike path is sand and not easily accessible.


  2. Julie says:

    I remember a time when a few friends and I got harassed by Bay Harbor police for riding on the sidewalk-we were 16 or 17 at the time. We ignored the signs because we were not confident riding through A1A and the police officer grabbed my friend and almost knocked him to the ground.


  3. Julie says:

    correction BAL harbor police


  4. It took 10 years of “push back” to get them to allow bikes on the beach path. Bal Harbor is people un-friendly.


  5. JM Palacios says:

    There is some difference of opinion on the subject. See FL Bike Law for one. The way I understand it, local municipalities can create their own regulations that would prohibit sidewalk riding on roads in their jurisdiction, but not on state roads. Florida Statute 316.008 gives locals the authority to regulate the operation of bicycles on roadways under their jurisdiction, while Florida Statute 335.02(4) prohibits local regulations from applying to state roads.

    See also for some legal opinion on local jurisdiction for other regulations on state roads.


  6. Myles O'Stooley says:

    Bal Harbour has a long history of being pricks..The powers that be tried to block beach access to the south jetty during the construction of the One condo..

    “Over a year and a half ago, the South Florida chapter embarked on a mission to regain access to a public beach which had been closed indefinitely by developers and allowed to persist by the negligence of Bal Harbour Village and Miami-Dade County. Developers paid Bal Harbour Village over $300,000 to close a public parking lot and an accessway to the beach. The developers used the space to store materials and equipment and provided no real alternative for public access to the public beach.

    There was also one small problem: Bal Harbour didn’t have the legal authority to close the public area since it was owned by the Florida Department of Transportation. They also didn’t have a legal right to accept $300,000 from developers.

    Surfrider has been working to get access restored and to resolve the chronic, long term problems of public beach access in Bal Harbour Village. The fight is intense with millions of dollars of tax payer dollars for sand pumping beach projects at stake.”


  7. This is my experience in Bal Harbour:


    I think the average driver of buses is far better trained than the average driver, and that’s why they disappoint me when they engage in a rat race with bicycles. We were struggling with this bus for a mile, us trying to stay away from his fumes, and him pushing us every time we got around him. It’s not who’s right or wrong, but simply a matter of courtesy and common sense. We are slow vehicles with a trailer and they have another lane. Do drivers think that much about the needs of cyclists?

    Massive amounts of carbon monoxide are bad for you and so being hit by a bus. In this same place a bus driver hit a cyclist and then told the passengers not to say anything… It almost sounds comical since they got a camera on board, but he tried to be a hit and run.

    A BIKE LANE would simplify things but things like that sound almost Utopian around here. I’m told they’ll be here by 2025, but I’m not a fan of the future. We decided to make life a beach and we did. Mission accomplished.

    I propose that where there’s no bike lanes you simply take the lane. The trailer helps add mass to the argument. OVER MY DEAD BODY.


  8. […] environment for cyclists of all ages to ride comfortably and safely through Bal Harbour."…h-state-statue *** Don't forget the name of my school: "School of Life," taught by the Wise […]


  9. Jimbo99 says:

    I’ve really had only one run in with BHPD on sidewalk riding. It was when they were installing the brick crosswalks. They had dug a slab of pavement out for whatever reason to prepare the road for conversion from asphalt to brick. Anyway, I got a verbal warning and have since stayed off the sidewalk. The road is back to it’s normal state and I have no issue with abiding by their ordinances to prohibit bike riding on their sidewalks on either side northbound and southbound. There is enough room for me to hug the gutter and motorists have accomodated my rides. This, like the red light cameras is one of those things the local authorities have their way over state statute. With the red light cams, that was contrary to state law, but Tallahassee, FL caved and retro-actively supported the local authorities. So I’m not going to defiantly try the system, as it’s been demonstrated that money/revenue trumps safety and logic. A1A is a state road, I thought it was a Federal Highway, regardless, the sidewalk is Bal Harbor’s, I don’t want to deal with seniors that get right of way as pedestrians anyway. That is who Bal Harbor is protecting anyway, so I have no problem with it. I can ride that stretch hugging the gutter or taking the lane as that is the law too. BHPD is pretty good at keeping motorists in check and well within the speed limits there just the same, so it’s not like they don’t care about pedestrians & cyclists. They are consistent about established speed and safety guidelines. Motorists will be safe or they are the first to get special attention, after that cyclists and lastly pedestrians. That’s the logical pecking order anyway.


  10. They simply push you off the sidewalk. Nobody guarantees your safety. I’ve come under attack (blast of horn) and nothing happens. Red light cameras do nothing other than increase profits and prevent head-on collisions. SPEED CAMERAS could change things but they are not coming soon. As someone says, “it’s been demonstrated that money/revenue trumps safety and logic.”


  11. Jimbo99,
    Cyclists should not be forced to hug the gutter. Can you honestly say it is safe for a 10 year old to ride a bicycle on Collins Avenue? This ordinance should be repealed.


  12. I agree it should be repealed -at least until a satisfactory bike lane is built.

    Riding here is like playing Russian Roulette.


  13. Joel Levine says:

    FYI I ride through Bal Harbour often and I recently noticed that the signs prohibiting bicycles on the sidewalk have been removed. I called the Bal Harbour Police Department and confirmed that bicycles are now allowed on the sidewalk.


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