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Personal Injury Law Blog | Bicycle Law Blog | Los Angeles Bicycle Accident Attorney

Is It Legal To Ride Bikes on Sidewalks?

Old Cracked Sidewalk
Old Cracked Sidewalk

Anyone whose riding a bicycle for a length of time knows the rules. They, of course, heard they shouldn’t ride on the sidewalk. For some reasons, it’s easier to crash. In some cities, it is illegal for a bicyclist to ride on the sidewalks. In fact, one is the state of California. This includes Sacramento County, Fulsom and Galt Counties. So in these counties, bikers cannot ride on sidewalks at all.

But other cities that do allow it (See “Sidewalk Riding Laws Here.”). As a matter of fact, at the same time, some streets within neighborhoods differ. It’s common of course to see cyclists on the sidewalk. But, in general, these are either children or inexperienced bicyclists. Adult cyclists may have an unawareness of the risks riding on the sidewalk.

Bike safety advocates have some reasons why this could be dangerous and result in being harmed including:

  • Automobile Dangers: Adult cyclists by and large in this case remain unaware of the bike rules. In some cases, the driveway may have an obstruction from the biker’s view. These, of course, include bushes or other obstacles. The driver, of course, doesn’t in general stop at to check and look. That’s before reaching the edge of the road. They’re looking for traffic so they can pull out onto the street. So they aren’t looking for other bicycles. This traffic could mean a collision in which the bicyclist would suffer harm.
  • Pedestrians: Sidewalks are made for pedestrians to be safe while walking. They listen to music with earbuds, eat, drink and even play while walking. They aren’t looking for a bicyclist. So they don’t always move out of the way. If a bicyclist hits a pedestrian, it can cause serious injuries. Also, it causes damage to the person walking and the person riding a bike.
  • Intersections: Intersections are a dangerous place for the bicyclists. If the rider is on the sidewalk it is possible parked cars obstruct their view. Also, the driver’s picture of the bike may become blocked. This reason and other obstructions like bushes or trees can cause problems. So they can obstruct the motorist’s view giving them little or no time to react. It can mean a collision between a car and bicyclist. That of course, causes serious injury to the bicyclist.

When is the Sidewalk Safer to Ride?

In some situations, riding on the sidewalk becomes a more secure option. But not all roadways have bicycle lanes or areas for the rider. So they need places the biker can ride in safety with speeding traffic. Areas with numerous potholes and grates or other dangerous elements are risky. In these cases, the cyclists feel safer riding on the sidewalk.

So in some cases, it’s safer to ride on the sidewalk. Though, this doesn’t mean the bicyclists should violate the law. But it may avoid the high risk of riding on the road. Of course, the rider needs to follow some ground rules. These rules can help keep them safe and pedestrians permitted to use the sidewalk.

The Rules for Bicyclists and Pedestrians to Stay Safe:

  • Ride your bike slow. It’s an essential rule that shouldn’t become broken. Also, riding on the sidewalk isn’t the same as the road for speed. So go slow.
  • Yield to pedestrians, because on the sidewalk they have the right-of-way. Like on the road riding, there are rules to protect people from harm. So bikers, of course, have laws on sidewalks.
  • The rider might need to walk the bike. This being on foot could make it safer for you and other pedestrians.
  • Use extreme caution approaching driveways, or areas with bushes. After all, they could hide an entrance from view.
  • Use caution riding on the outside of the sidewalk within the area parked cars sit. Because in fact, a car door opening can cause serious harm.
  • Be cautious at intersections.
  • Cross streets at crosswalks on a bike like pedestrians should.

Ehline Law Firm is the Southern California bicycle injury attorney firm. (Read More). We hope bicyclists will find this useful information on sidewalk use. Though we don’t advocate bicyclists violating the law, the possibility exists it’s legal to ride on them in your area.

Further Reading:

https://bikeeastbay.org/SidewalkCycling  Sidewalk Cycling Laws | Bike East Bay

http://www.calbike.org/bicycling_in_california_sharing_the_road  California Bicycle Coalition California Bicycle Laws


Michael Ehline, Bicycle Lawyer

Michael P. Ehline, the bicycle lawyer, takes cycling sports like mountain biking, seriously. As a tort attorney, he specializes in protecting the rights of riders hurt by another’s fault.

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