Ridding Bikes on Sidewalks

Many accidents occur because a bicyclist is riding on the sidewalk. This article addresses the legality of riding on a sidewalk, and rules for riding on the roadway.

Ridding on the Sidewalk

California allows each city and county to decide if a person can ride on the sidewalk. Riding a bicycle on a sidewalk in the City of Los Angeles is allowed. However, the rider cannot disregard the safety of other persons and must yield to pedestrians walking on the sidewalk.

Other cities, such as, for example, Malibu or Westlake Village, ban riding on the sidewalk completely. Some cities, such as Agoura Hills or Culver City, ban riding on sidewalks in business districts.

Ventura County does not allow riding on a sidewalk in a business area or where signs say no riding.

Riding Bike in the Street

In those cities and counties requiring that bicyclists ride on the street, the California Vehicle Code says that bicyclists must follow the rules of the road that motor vehicle drivers follow.

  • Bicyclists have the right to be on the roadway and motorists must allow them to be there.
  • Bicycle riders must travel in the direction of traffic and on the right side of the road.
  • Bicyclists must travel close to the right side of the road. A bicyclist can take the lane entirely if it is not wide enough for a bike and car.
  • If there is a bike lane, a cyclist traveling slower than traffic must use the bike lane.
  • Cyclists have to obey traffic signals, including stop signs.

Important Bicycle Equipment

Important equipment rules include:

  • Bikes must have brakes.
  • Handlebars can’t be higher than the shoulders.
  • Riders must use a headlight at night.
  • Bikes must have front and back reflectors.
  • Riders under 18 must wear a helmet.

Personal Injury Law: Common Bicycle Accidents

A very common accident occurs when a sidewalk rider encounters a motorist exiting a driveway. Typically, the motorist does not anticipate that the rider will be approaching on the sidewalk. The best practice is to make eye contact with the driver before proceeding or to ride behind the car.

Bicycle Accident Lawyers

Deciding who was at fault often depends on the applicable rules and who broke them. If you have been seriously injured in a bicycle accident, call MCIS for a free consultation regarding your rights and compensation.