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Can bicycles ride on the sidewalk in California?

Sidewalk laws are up to the city.

There is no California state law prohibiting bikes on sidewalks. It is left up to the cities. Many cities have local ordinances prohibit bikes on the sidewalks at all, or at least in busy areas with high pedestrian traffic. While children are almost always permitted to ride on the sidewalk there is some debate as to whether or not cycling on the sidewalk is a good idea for adults.

Is it safe to ride on the sidewalk where it is legal?

On one hand, riding a bicycle on the sidewalk can be a safer option for bicyclists, especially if the road they would otherwise be riding on is busy or lacking bike lanes. Sidewalks also provide a buffer between bicyclists and vehicle traffic, which can reduce the likelihood of accidents. Additionally, sidewalks are often more direct routes for bicyclists than roads, as they can bypass dangerous traffic conditions, or at T-intersections, bypass lights.

On the other hand, sidewalks can also present dangers for bicyclists. Pedestrians, particularly those with disabilities or who are using assistive devices, may have difficulty navigating around bicyclists on the sidewalk. Bicyclists also need to be mindful of driveways and intersections, as they can be hazardous when crossing or exiting onto the road.

Furthermore, sidewalks are typically not designed or maintained for bicycle use. That can mean there may be obstacles or other hazards that are difficult for bicyclists to navigate. Unfortunately, hazards can exist in bike lanes as well.

Given these considerations, it is recommended that bicyclists use sidewalks only when necessary for safety reasons such as when riding on a busy road without bike lanes. When riding on the sidewalk, bicyclists should yield to pedestrians, give an audible signal before passing, and always be aware of their surroundings. It’s also important to note that in some cities, cities may prohibit the use of bicycles on certain sidewalks, either completely or during certain hours.

It is always the responsibility of the bicyclist to know the specific laws and regulations on riding on sidewalks in their area and to always ride responsibly and with consideration for others. Cyclists can be responsible for injuries to pedestrians and face lawsuits just like drivers who hit cyclists. Be a good two wheeled citizen and share the road, or in this case sidewalk.

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