I pass this intersection (and others like it) at least twice per day on my way to work and I'm still a little unsure who should stop for whom. The little yellow star indicates the "bike path", which is made for bikers and pedestrians to share, but the signs don't mention bikers, instead saying "State Law/Yield/To Pedestrians/In Crosswalk":

confusing intersection where right of way is clearly given to pedestrians, but bikes are not included When I'm waiting at the edge of the crosswalk on my bike (it doesn't indicate I should/have to dismount), cars do one of two things:

  • Make eye contact and stop before the crosswalk to let me cross on my bike
  • Don't make eye contact and go through the crosswalk while I wait for them

I don't mind either scenario (I would rather give the car the right of way, personally). Can anyone say definitively what a driver should do when there's a biker (mounted) waiting at the edge of the crosswalk?

The fact that mounted bikers are not considered "pedestrians" is why I'm confused. Pedestrians and unmounted bikers have the right of way without question here, I think, because of the wording of the sign. By the way, this is in Boulder, Colorado, USA, in case this is one of those "varies-by-locality" situations.

  • The commonsense legal reading (which doesn't incorporate any Boulder or Colorado-specific info) is that cars only have to yield to pedestrians and unmounted bicyclists. Mounted bicyclists on the bike path can cross but would have to yield to cars and bicyclists on the road as they are effectively emerging out of a what would legally be considered a driveway, sidewalk, or unmarked minor road onto a major road.
    – RoboKaren
    Aug 22, 2017 at 15:11
  • From a practical point of view, it's generally safer not to assume drivers will yield to a cyclist, just because your approach speed can be higher than a driver looking out for pedestrians would expect. I usually aim to make eye contact before stepping out whether I'm on foot or a bike, and that often means at least a rolling stop on the bike.
    – Useless
    Aug 23, 2017 at 9:13

1 Answer 1


This Legal Site, seems to think that when on a pedestrian path, a bicycle rider is a pedestrian.

Unfortunately, not every jurisdiction handles bike riders the same way. But, most states generally observe an interesting hybrid view of bicyclists. When riding on the street, a bicycle is treated much the same as a car. They are generally required to observe all traffic signs, signal turns, and have certain safety features like helmets, reflectors, and/or lights.

When riding on the sidewalk, however, the bike becomes a pedestrian. If in a crosswalk, drivers are supposed to yield to bicyclists. Bicycles are generally allowed to use sidewalks along side those on foot (unless signs state otherwise), though there may be some areas with lanes specified for foot versus bike traffic.

Unfortunately, laws vary not just from one state to another, but also for different municipalities. As a result, it is important to take a moment to become acquainted with your state and local laws regarding the operation of a bicycle. Interestingly, it appears in most states that one can switch from being a pedestrian to a vehicle simply by moving from a sidewalk or bike path to a roadway.


And, for purposes of liability when a car hits someone riding a bicycle, most states treat the cyclist as a pedestrian rather than a fellow driver.

But it also says that different states and municipalities may rule differently on it.

On a personal level, i think that drivers should yield all the same if there is a person in the crosswalk, although i realize this doesn't happen because people are rude and impatient. There are many instances where even standing in a crosswalk does not garnish a stop by oncoming traffic even though it is the law.

  • 1
    I think this is generally the right answer but the quoted text doesn't much get into the legality of riding bikes on the sidewalk in the first place. I looked and Boulder for example doesn't permit them except in certain zones. Aug 22, 2017 at 15:49
  • The way i was looking at the image, i would call the far left small sidewalk, a "sidewalk" where bikes are not allowed, the bike lane is a bike lane obviously, and the multi-use trail on the right with the star would fall in the certain zones category, so while coming from that you are a pedestrian, once you turn and ride in the bike lane you become a vehicle. But that is just my take, i see what you're saying. The trail on the right is not technically a sidewalk to me as it is a large multi use park style trail that then connects to sidewalks along the roadway.
    – Nate W
    Aug 22, 2017 at 15:55
  • IANAL: From the linked site - "it appears in most states that one can switch from being a pedestrian to a vehicle simply by moving from a sidewalk or bike path to a roadway" would imply you are a pedestrian while waiting to cross, but as soon as you move to the road, you are no longer a pedestrian and presumably the car would no longer need to yield. :)
    – mattnz
    Aug 23, 2017 at 2:18

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