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Old 05-01-10, 05:12 PM   #1
SunnyFlorida
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Rules of the Road -Sidwalk version

I ride my trike on the sidewalk. Strangely enough this is ok in my neck of the woods in Florida. Infact, most cyclists use the sidewalk rather than the street simply because the roadways barely have room for cars. There are no bike lanes.

Whatever the case, I was riding my trike and approached an intersection where a crossing guard was stationed. For some reason the trike just screams "challenged cyclist" so the guard kindly advised me that I could go across. I was about to anyway but he also advised me that I "should be walking my trike across the crosswalk".

Is that so? I can't find anything, off hand, in the Florida driving regs..

Another question. I know this one is basic but bear with me. What is the order of traffic at a "signaled" intersection as it relates to pedestrians. BTW, a cyclist using the sidewalk is termed a pedestrian in this case.

If I have the light, should I still wait for all the cars, who are turning, to turn before I walk with my bike? Or, because the pedestrian light is on, am I initially expected to go first before the cars turning do?

I don't drive so this is a bit of a mystery to me. Also, when I lived in NYC, I used the herding approach to crossing the street. Mainly, when everyone left the curb, so did I. Safety in numbers I guess.

In these Florida streets, where mostly everyone drives, I'm the lost sheep in over sized sunglasses waiting at the curb.

Some drivers wave me on, before they make their right turn, others make their turn even though I've stepped off the curb.

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Old 05-01-10, 06:34 PM   #2
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Two things here....

Thing one -- this is a friggin' crossing guard! Don't for one second think they've done more to learn traffic laws or rules of the road than read some silly pamphlet or talk to the retiree they're replacing. Go to the source; read the city and state codes as they pertain to traffic. It (the answer) will be there.

As far as intersection right-of-way, peds are supposed to have priority -- but we all know how that goes. Some ignorant coffin-roller will TAKE what they feel and decide is THEIR right, so take it as it comes. Someone jumps the crosswalk, don't be there. A second or a bit less sometimes can be the difference in communication, IF the driver is aware and at all concerned about you.

BTW -- safety in numbers is rule 1 for street survival -- unless you're in a peloton in Texas in front of a drunken immigrant....
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Old 05-01-10, 08:11 PM   #3
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Two things here....

Thing one -- this is a friggin' crossing guard! Don't for one second think they've done more to learn traffic laws or rules of the road than read some silly pamphlet or talk to the retiree they're replacing. Go to the source; read the city and state codes as they pertain to traffic. It (the answer) will be there.

As far as intersection right-of-way, peds are supposed to have priority -- but we all know how that goes. Some ignorant coffin-roller will TAKE what they feel and decide is THEIR right, so take it as it comes. Someone jumps the crosswalk, don't be there. A second or a bit less sometimes can be the difference in communication, IF the driver is aware and at all concerned about you.

BTW -- safety in numbers is rule 1 for street survival -- unless you're in a peloton in Texas in front of a drunken immigrant....
So is there anything you're NOT angry about?
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Old 05-01-10, 09:14 PM   #4
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IIRC, I believe that you ARE supposed to walk your bike when using a crosswalk, not that I've ever heard of anyone being ticketed for riding across. And just out of curiosity, when you say "most cyclists," are those cyclist predominantly riding mountain/hybrid/comfort bikes? Or are you including lycra-wearing drop-bar riding roadies like me in the mix?
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Old 05-01-10, 10:07 PM   #5
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Punching 'florida cycling law sidewalk' into google....

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(Section 316.2065(10) and (11), F.S.) 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.

Comment: Sidewalks are not designed for bicycle speeds, but a bicycle propelled by human power may be used except where prohibited by local ordinance (e.g. in the central business districts of many cities). No bicycle may be propelled by other than human power on a sidewalk. Although a cyclist riding on a sidewalk has the rights and duties of a pedestrian, he is still a "bicycle rider" and his bicycle is still a "bicycle". Consequently, laws that pertain to required equipment and to carriage of passengers (see above) are still applicable.

Since a cyclist riding on a sidewalk does not have the duties (or rights) of a driver, he may ride in either direction. (However, it is safer to ride in the direction of traffic, since drivers do not expect cyclists to come from the other direction at driveways and crosswalks. Crash risk is 3 to 4 times as great for sidewalk riders who ride facing roadway traffic as for sidewalk riders who ride in the direction of traffic.)

At a signalized intersection, a sidewalk rider must obey the instructions of any applicable pedestrian control signal. That is, he may start to cross a roadway in a crosswalk only during a steady Walk phase, if one is displayed. If no pedestrian signal is provided, the cyclist may proceed in accordance with the signal indications for the parallel roadway traffic flow (Section 316.075, F.S.).

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.
Doesn't say you need to dismount, and the second-to-last paragraph seems to indicate that staying mounted is correct. Personally, for safety, I'd strongly consider dismounting, but I've never been on a FL road, either.

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Old 05-01-10, 10:16 PM   #6
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IIRC, I believe that you ARE supposed to walk your bike when using a crosswalk, not that I've ever heard of anyone being ticketed for riding across. And just out of curiosity, when you say "most cyclists," are those cyclist predominantly riding mountain/hybrid/comfort bikes? Or are you including lycra-wearing drop-bar riding roadies like me in the mix?
I see every type of cyclist which includes lycra-wearing drop-bar riding roadies like you. Infact, it seems that the only ones braving the street are cyclists who clearly have a death wish. They usually have no helmet, ride around in open shirts in the hot Florida sun on rusty looking bikes.
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Old 05-01-10, 10:25 PM   #7
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As you may know, Florida Statutes are available online (this is true for most states).

According to Florida law, a bicyclist riding on the sidewalk or riding in a crosswalk has all the rights and responsibilities of a pedestrian (perhaps not true in all states but true in Florida). Florida law is fairly clear that it is legal to ride a bicycle in a crosswalk (the laws in many states are considerably less clear on this).

As far as right of way goes, if you have the light, you, as a pedestrian in or about to enter a crosswalk, have the right of way. This is true in all 50 states but many motorist do not seem to get it. Motorists should yield and let a pedestrian that has the light go first. But some motorists don't. So exercise caution when claiming your right of way. Being right is not worth getting hit.

Where bicyclists acting as pedestrians are most likely to screw up is in entering the roadway. A pedestrian is prohibited by law from entering the roadway suddenly.
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Old 05-02-10, 03:11 PM   #8
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As you may know, Florida Statutes are available online (this is true for most states).

According to Florida law, a bicyclist riding on the sidewalk or riding in a crosswalk has all the rights and responsibilities of a pedestrian (perhaps not true in all states but true in Florida). Florida law is fairly clear that it is legal to ride a bicycle in a crosswalk (the laws in many states are considerably less clear on this).

As far as right of way goes, if you have the light, you, as a pedestrian in or about to enter a crosswalk, have the right of way. This is true in all 50 states but many motorist do not seem to get it. Motorists should yield and let a pedestrian that has the light go first. But some motorists don't. So exercise caution when claiming your right of way. Being right is not worth getting hit.

Where bicyclists acting as pedestrians are most likely to screw up is in entering the roadway. A pedestrian is prohibited by law from entering the roadway suddenly.
Florida traffic law does not recognize a "right of way". They have "failure to yield". It seems like a small distinction. But even if they other guy is supposed to yield to you, you have an obligation to avoid an accident with a bozo who fails to yield if it is possible. In Florida law, no one has the "right" to run into someone else.

Also, motorists are supposed to yield to pedestrians crossing at the light. However, by practice many FL motorists just go and pedestrians can take their chances. As a predictable consequence, Florida has hideously high pedestrian fatality rates.
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Old 05-02-10, 05:39 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the responses. It has definitely cleared up some matters for me.

DX-Man - You're right. No matter what is suppose to happen, you still have to keep a sharp look out.

rwp - Yep. There is a little anger in DX-Man's reply but after cycling for two weeks, I can well understand why. I've observed a lot of selfish acts by some motorists as well as by cyclists that could have easily caused injury.

dperreno- At this point whether or not the crossing guard is right, I'm walking my trike across the crosswalk. Of course, this good intention will be dropped like a bad habit, if I'm half way across and see I have 6 seconds to make it to the other side.

Raiden - I agree that even if I don't have to dismount, under the circumstances, it is safer me to do so, until I gain more experience. I have found that when I do this and cross when the pedestrian light is on, I don't have cars jumping the gun on me to turn before I reach the other side of the crosswalk. I'm wondering if pressing the pedestrian button on the mast pole delays the signal the cars see to allow the pedestrian to cross the street safely.

JRA/Pat - Thanks for looking up and clarifying the Florida regs on this. It definitely clears up what "should" be happening at the traffic signal. I also noted that "failure to yield" part too.
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Old 05-02-10, 06:09 PM   #10
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Florida traffic law does not recognize a "right of way". They have "failure to yield". It seems like a small distinction.
It is a small distinction and mostly a semantic one but it is probably better to stress the responsibilty to yield rather than talking of a right which really doesn't exist. There is no right- no right to run into someone and no right to suddenly go into someone's path.

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But even if they other guy is supposed to yield to you, you have an obligation to avoid an accident with a bozo who fails to yield if it is possible. In Florida law, no one has the "right" to run into someone else.
The same is true everywhere, not just in Florida. Regardless of any stupid thing someone else may do, all road users have a duty to exercise due care and avoid an accident if they can.

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Also, motorists are supposed to yield to pedestrians crossing at the light. However, by practice many FL motorists just go and pedestrians can take their chances. As a predictable consequence, Florida has hideously high pedestrian fatality rates.
The same seems to be true everywhere. Some motorists just go without regard to their responsibility to yield to pedestrians. I see motorists failing to yield virtually every day. Sometimes I stop at intersections just to observe. At many intersections, the WORST time for a pedestrian to step off the curb is just after they get the WALK signal. That's also when cross-traffic stops and motorists that have been waiting to turn right take off. Since the advent of right-turn-on-red, getting the WALK signal doesn't mean it's safe to walk. This is kind of a pet peeve of mine.

Even when motorists are supposed to yield, many don't.

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Old 05-06-10, 04:44 PM   #11
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I see every type of cyclist which includes lycra-wearing drop-bar riding roadies like you. Infact, it seems that the only ones braving the street are cyclists who clearly have a death wish. They usually have no helmet, ride around in open shirts in the hot Florida sun on rusty looking bikes.
Oh my, a novice with a tricycle riding on the sidewalk making judgemental assumptions about people who are where they should be.
Provided of course if they wiish to be considered cyclists and not peds, and who want to go faster than walking speed.
Maybe these fellows like myself have been riding bikes all their lives and realize that a plastic hat is not that important and that being aware and skilled is safe, just like the millions all over the world that do the same.

I also have never had a drivers license, and I don't have a death wish, I've been on bikes since 1963 and I am not dead.
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Old 05-07-10, 08:12 AM   #12
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When I'm walking on streets in florida that don't get much ped traffic, I give the death stare to right turning traffic. It works very well. That includes cars at intersections, as well as cars that are going to be turning across the sidewalk into a driveway. If you don't get an acnoledgement of the death stare, don't expect them to yield. Driveways are a lot worse then intersections.
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Old 05-07-10, 08:16 AM   #13
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Oh my, a novice with a tricycle riding on the sidewalk making judgemental assumptions about people who are where they should be.
Provided of course if they wiish to be considered cyclists and not peds, and who want to go faster than walking speed.
Maybe these fellows like myself have been riding bikes all their lives and realize that a plastic hat is not that important and that being aware and skilled is safe, just like the millions all over the world that do the same.

I also have never had a drivers license, and I don't have a death wish, I've been on bikes since 1963 and I am not dead.
Ah, yes - now the newbie becomes Zie Expert all of a sudden. I wonder if POB's get pleasure out of insulting the cycling community.

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Old 05-07-10, 05:43 PM   #14
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When I'm walking on streets in florida that don't get much ped traffic, I give the death stare to right turning traffic. It works very well. That includes cars at intersections, as well as cars that are going to be turning across the sidewalk into a driveway. If you don't get an acnoledgement of the death stare, don't expect them to yield. Driveways are a lot worse then intersections.
Thanks for the tip. Will keep the "death stare" in mind.

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Oh my, a novice with a tricycle riding on the sidewalk making judgemental assumptions about people who are where they should be.
Provided of course if they wiish to be considered cyclists and not peds, and who want to go faster than walking speed....
Hhhmmmm. Sounds like you're making a judgement call and a snobish one at that. And it sounds to me that any biker using the sidewalk is not a "real" biker, to you too.
Oh my feelings are so hurt.

Hey, I just want to get to point A to B in one piece. FOR ME this means being on the sidewalk and it seems like I've got plenty of company.

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Ah, yes - now the newbie becomes Zie Expert all of a sudden. I wonder if POB's get pleasure out of insulting the cycling community.

-Kurt
I don't know how a personal observation elevated me to expert status but so be it. BTW, I'm not familiar with POB but something tells me it means "pedestrians on bikes" of which, I can safely assume from your post, you count me as one. Mind you, you put me in this group not me.

As far as POB's getting pleasure out of insulting the cycling community? I personally wouldn't know since I've been too busy commuting on my trike.
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Old 05-07-10, 05:49 PM   #15
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Hey, I just want to get to point A to B in one piece. FOR ME this means being on the sidewalk and it seems like I've got plenty of company.
I rarely ride on the sidewalk. There are spots where this is required by law, eg on certain bridges with high speed roadways, etc. In urban areas, it's very unsafe ... and I have a very intuitive sense of that, so it's very uncomfortable for me. And so I don't do it. But I think the rule here is that people should ride as they see fit, and let others do the same. So if you feel safer on the sidewalk, and aren't causing a danger for others ... it shouldn't matter very much what I think of that.
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Old 05-07-10, 06:43 PM   #16
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He's a crossing guard going off old information that used to be taught to elementary age.
"You should walk your bike through the cross-walk."
"Oh? Thank you." As I pedal away.
No, there's nothing to require walking a bike through a cross-walk in Chapter 316.

When the walk signal goes green pedestrians, and you on your trike, have the right-of-way. But never expect a right turning motorist to be competent.

Personally, I wouldn't be on a sidewalk with a bike, unless the road was closed or I had a mechanical malfunction. The most unsafe place to ride.

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Old 05-08-10, 12:27 AM   #17
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Troll.

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Old 05-09-10, 09:15 AM   #18
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Seattle Forrest and CommuterRun,

Thanks for the feedback.

Seattle Forrest - I can well imagine the hazzards of a urban sidewalk. Here, in this suburb, the sidewalks are almost devoid of pedestrian traffic, unlike car traffic. I'm also going so slow right now that I can easily determine the "in and out" traffic of private driveways, especially those of apartment complexes.

And although I'm mainly using the sidewalk, I'm also riding "on the streets" of side streets to avoid major construction, etc.

CommuterRun - Thanks for stating the actual chapter.

Well, at least there is one good rule you learn as a kid that doesn't change with age - "look both ways before you cross."
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Old 05-09-10, 09:55 AM   #19
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I am by no means a "sidewalk cyclist", but when I am doubling bikes, as in riding one while holding onto another to get it from A to B quickly for whatever reason, I will ride on the sidewalk on busier streets. Does this mean I'm evil? For me I feel the risk of a self inflicted fall in traffic while doing this far outweighs any of the more modest risks of careful and alert low speed sidewalk riding, even though the dangers of sidewalk riding are somewhat bigger while doing so. being double wide on the sidewalk gives lots of opportunity for for catching parts on poles, bushes etc.
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Old 05-09-10, 10:59 AM   #20
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I'm a fellow Florida Sidewalk Rider, although in my case more because I live right between most of the Orlando colleges and have ~6 foot wide sidewalks for most of my routes. Most likely not an accident since the current official plan is to try and shift 90% of all bicycle traffic onto dedicated facilities for every 10% of painted-only lanes.

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In these Florida streets, where mostly everyone drives, I'm the lost sheep in over sized sunglasses waiting at the curb.
I've found the most effective method is to walk the bike out just enough they can't turn right or pretend not to see you then quickly mount and ride the rest of the way across while giving the death glare to perpendicular traffic, it's a trick I picked up from UCF's bicycle officers. Sometimes the "HALT" hand can work too, but with the potholes around here I prefer having both hands on the bars.
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Old 05-12-10, 06:18 PM   #21
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I am by no means a "sidewalk cyclist", but when I am doubling bikes, as in riding one while holding onto another to get it from A to B quickly for whatever reason, I will ride on the sidewalk on busier streets. Does this mean I'm evil? For me I feel the risk of a self inflicted fall in traffic while doing this far outweighs any of the more modest risks of careful and alert low speed sidewalk riding, even though the dangers of sidewalk riding are somewhat bigger while doing so. being double wide on the sidewalk gives lots of opportunity for for catching parts on poles, bushes etc.
I can well imagine the danger. My trike is wide and there were times I literally had to dismount and guide it across a badly placed junction box on one side and a mail box or tree on the other.

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I'm a fellow Florida Sidewalk Rider, although in my case more because I live right between most of the Orlando colleges and have ~6 foot wide sidewalks for most of my routes.
I live near a university with a huge campus. I've also found that the local narrow sidwalks will suddenly give way to 6 foot wide ones. I encounter the most cyclists on these sidewalks surrounding the campus. Once I clear the campus, I'm back to mainly deserted sidewalks.
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Old 05-12-10, 08:20 PM   #22
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Simple. Get off the sidewalk, where you aren't supposed to be, and get on the road, where you are supposed to be. If you're too scared to ride on the road, take a Road Skills 101 class. Otherwise, go back to walking.
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Old 05-12-10, 09:09 PM   #23
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Simple. Get off the sidewalk, where you aren't supposed to be, and get on the road, where you are supposed to be. If you're too scared to ride on the road, take a Road Skills 101 class. Otherwise, go back to walking.
Oh here we go again! If I'm on a bike I belong on the road. If I'm not on the road I shouldn't be riding never mind having a bike --- right? Don't be such a bike Nazi.
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Old 05-13-10, 08:51 AM   #24
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Simple. Get off the sidewalk, where you aren't supposed to be, and get on the road, where you are supposed to be. If you're too scared to ride on the road, take a Road Skills 101 class. Otherwise, go back to walking.
Some people ride trikes for mobility... they may have a hard time walking for one reason or another.... such as disabled foot or even no leg (yes, you can still ride a bike with one leg). At the speeds such a person is moving, the street is hardly the place for them.

While sidewalks may "statistically" be more dangerous, the statistics used generally do not discriminate by age, and thus scraped knees and ride-outs by children are a large part of these danger statistics. Such is also the case of MUPs.

The bottom line is that not all wheeled conveyances belong on the street.
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Old 05-13-10, 09:31 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by JRA View Post
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Originally Posted by Pat View Post
Florida traffic law does not recognize a "right of way". They have "failure to yield". It seems like a small distinction. But even if they other guy is supposed to yield to you, you have an obligation to avoid an accident with a bozo who fails to yield if it is possible. In Florida law, no one has the "right" to run into someone else.
It is a small distinction and mostly a semantic one but it is probably better to stress the responsibilty to yield rather than talking of a right which really doesn't exist. There is no right- no right to run into someone and no right to suddenly go into someone's path.
It's actually an important and meaningful distinction. The maritime "rules of the road" also avoid using the term "right of way" for the same reasons. The basic idea is to encourage everyone to be cautious and take responsibility. (That is, err on the side of caution and "drive defensively".)

In a sense, one doesn't "take" the so-called "right of way", one is "given" it. If it isn't being given (ie, a failure to yeild), then there exists a requirement (legal or commonsense) to try avoid a conflict (ie, collision). The idea is cooperation coordinated/guided by standard rules (the traffic rules).

The result (ideally) is a two level safety system: 1) regular rules of behavior/interaction and caution/responsibility when those rules happen to fail.

Last edited by njkayaker; 05-13-10 at 09:35 AM.
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