Can I Ride My Bike on the Sidewalk in Los Angeles, CA?

With traffic congestion, inattentive pedestrians and reckless drivers, Los Angeles traffic can be dangerous. Consequently, bicycle riders often choose to ride on the sidewalk rather than risk injuries while riding on the street. But is riding on the sidewalk legal in Los Angeles?

If you are injured, call a Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyer for help.

Los Angeles Municpal Code 56.15(1)

Section 56.15(1) of the Los Angeles Municipal Code states: No person shall ride, operate or use a bicycle, unicycle, skateboard, cart, wagon, wheelchair, roller skates, or any other device moved exclusively by human power on a sidewalk, bikeway, or boardwalk in a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. On the surface, that appears to make riding on the sidewalk legal as long as riders do so safely. But the truth isn’t quite that simple.

Many California Cities and Municipalities Make Their Own Rules

As of 2020, thirty-two LA cities prohibit bicycle riding on public sidewalks. Unfortunately, there are no uniform bicycle riding rules in California, let alone LA County and the city of Los Angeles. Many cities outside of Los Angeles have their own rules for bicycle riders. Why? California Vehicle Code Section 21206 requires that all municipalities regulate all activity on their sidewalks and streets, and many of those municipalities make their own rules.

More than 80 municipalities in LA County with differing bicycle safety laws make it difficult, if not impossible, for citizens to know and understand all of the bicycle laws. Imagine how difficult it is for bike enthusiasts to take long bike rides from one city to another. How can bike riders know all of the rules for each city, especially those that forbid bike riding on the sidewalks? Bicycle accident attorney Los Angeles understands the confusion surrounding riding bicycle riding on sidewalks and how the laws and regulations in different cities make life complicated.

Business Districts

It is illegal for bicyclists to ride on business district sidewalks in many LA County cities, but legal to ride on residential area sidewalks.

A “business district” is that portion of a highway and the property contiguous thereto (a) upon one side of which highway, for a distance of 600 feet, 50 percent or more of the contiguous property fronting thereon is occupied by buildings in use for business, or (b) upon both sides of which highway, collectively, for a distance of 300 feet, 50 percent or more of the contiguous property fronting thereon is so occupied.

But each municipality is allowed to modify its definition of “business district” as they deem necessary.

A “residential district” is that portion of a highway and the property contiguous thereto, other than a business district, (a) upon one side of which highway, within a distance of a quarter of a mile, the contiguous property fronting thereon is occupied by 13 or more separate dwelling houses or business structures, or (b) upon both sides of which highway, collectively, within a distance of a quarter of a mile, the contiguous property fronting thereon is occupied by 16 or more separate dwelling houses or business structures.

Is Riding on Sidewalks Safe?

Many assume that riding on the sidewalk is safer for bicyclists because they don’t have to worry about drunk or inattentive drivers hitting them or crossing their path. They don’t have to worry about hitting potholes or riding on heavily damaged roads that need repair.

But some people, especially pedestrians, are concerned about bicyclists running into them, shopping carts, open doors, animals, and even cars that are pulling into and out of driveways. They understand that bicyclists are often injured while riding on the road. Still, they see how bicyclists can be dangerous to pedestrians walking or standing on sidewalks.

After an accident, ask a Los Angeles bike accident lawyer for legal assistance.

Bike Rider Responsibility

Bicycle riders know that city, county, and local ordinances and laws differ from one location to another. Los Angeles bike accident lawyers want bicycle riders and pedestrians to be safe on the roads and the sidewalks by learning the local laws.

Protect Yourselves Against Accident and Injury Losses

Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyers understand that LA County and cities’ bicycle laws and regulations are confusing. Bicycle accident injuries and deaths can be devastating to the injured and the families left behind.

Suppose you are involved in a bicycle-related accident. In that case, you may need the help of an experienced bicycle accident attorney Los Angeles to handle your case and negotiate a fair insurance settlement.

You may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Compensation may include pain and suffering, lost wages, reimbursement of medical bills, property damage claims, and more.

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