Is It Illegal to Ride Bike on Sidewalk in the U.S.?

Categorized as Bicycle Safety

Bicyclists think of sidewalks as an easy means to get around when the roads are congested with traffic and other pedestrians. However, have you thought about whether is it illegal to ride bike on sidewalk or not? Be a good citizen and read on.

Although most cities permit biking on sidewalks if there are significant traffic snarl-ups, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re welcome to do it as part of their routine.

Is It Illegal To Ride Bike On Sidewalk in America

Is it illegal to a ride bike on the sidewalks of America? Yes, because there has been a high rate of accidents which were caused by reckless cycling and cyclists need to stick to a responsible routine for safety purposes. Having bikes on the sidewalk makes it hard for pedestrians to move around freely.

Cycling on the sidewalk isn’t necessarily going to reduce the chances of crashing with a car by any significant amount. Statistics say that regardless of whether cyclists ride on the sidewalk or the road, there are still cars around, so you’re putting yourself at risk either way.

Is It Illegal To Ride Bike On Sidewalk in the U.S.?

Is It Illegal To Ride Bike On Sidewalk of America

Some states like Delaware, Colorado, and Florida do allow cyclists legally to navigate on sidewalks, but not in Maryland and Alabama that consider cycling on the sidewalk unsafe and thus gets you ticketed.

Local governments make a lot of laws to regulate your cycling activities from attire and equipment to the rules you need to follow depending on where exactly you choose to cycle. It’s a very delicate balance for local authorities who want to enforce rules for your biking safely without upsetting bikers who prefer to cycle peacefully in their town or even within the city borders where they live.

Biking on the sidewalk is a concern for all parents. While biking on the road has its hazards, biking laws are designed to protect pedestrians, not bicyclists. When authorities make exceptions to their sidewalk-biking bans, that’s when children are present; this is to minimize the dangers of hazardous road biking while facilitating kids’ safety.

Missouri

Is riding a bike on the sidewalk in Missouri illegal?

Riding your bike on the sidewalk is illegal in most areas of business districts of Missouri. But, it’s often legal to ride your bicycle on the sidewalk in another area. The reason is due to safety concerns between pedestrians and bikes in an area that was not designed with bikes in mind. Additionally, you’ll have to make sure that e-bikes are kept off of the sidewalks for safety reasons.

Ohio

Ohio allows sidewalk cycling. There is no law in the state preventing cyclists from riding the streets when they want rather than relying on sidewalk accessibility.

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Many regulations differ from state to state and sometimes even city by city. For example, in Columbus, the ones who can ride their bicycles on the sidewalk are only children who are 10 years old or under.

Dayton children aged 15 years or below have access to sidewalks while some laws apply specifically to cyclists aged 16-years and above. However, there’s no law banning sidewalk cycling for Cincinnati children below the age of 15.

Furthermore, sidewalks in the state are wider and more accessible to people of all ages whether they are on foot or on a bike. But sidewalk biking is illegal in downtown business districts of some cities.

Indiana

Is riding a bike on a sidewalk in Indiana illegal?

If a state like Indiana does not explicitly permit or prohibit sidewalk riding, it would make sense to pay attention to whether you are breaking city ordinances. It is always better to remain aware of any critical regulations keeping in mind that bikes, in general, can often be intimidating for drivers who have never seen anything quite like them before.

Los Angeles

Is It Illegal To Ride Bike On Sidewalk in Los Angeles

Unless you willfully disregard pedestrians’ safety, it’s okay to cycle on the sidewalk in Los Angeles, just as it is in other LA areas. However, there are laws concerning cycling on sidewalks and they differ in every city.

Biking on LA sidewalks is allowed in Pasadena, Redondo Beach, and Los Angeles proper, but there are some other places not so friendly to cyclists: Palmdale and Santa Monica don’t allow sidewalk biking while the rest of the county permits it.

Legality differs based on location and age. For example, Lancaster and Hermosa Beach ban sidewalk biking for people over 14 years of age. Nonetheless, Hidden Hills, Palos Verdes Estates, and some other cities and municipalities maintain a neutral position on the issue.

Michigan

In Michigan, cycling on sidewalks isn’t encouraged although the state has yet enforced a law to ban cycling on sidewalks. Consequently, cycling is only permitted for passing pedestrians when it’s appropriate and safe to do so.

There are municipalities that do allow peddling on the sidewalk in high traffic and retail areas, but bikers defy these prohibitions by commuting along sidewalks. There’s the fact that cycling through a pedestrian or another biker requires audible communication and more care and awareness of distracted drivers.

Iowa

Is riding on the sidewalks of Iowa illegal?

In Iowa, there is currently no state law restricting cyclists from attempting to ride on sidewalks. However, some small towns do have ordinances against cyclists who are caught biking on their city sidewalks.

In Cedar Rapids, riding a bike on sidewalks is legal and common, but pedestrians are required to have the right-of-way when riding bikes on Cedar Rapids business district streets or streets with those “no sidewalk riding” signs.

Chicago

Is It Illegal To Ride Bike On Sidewalk in Chicago

Under the law of Chicago, no cyclists over 12 years of age are permitted to ride their bicycles on city sidewalks. Though there will be exceptions of this sort, the majority of the time you’ll find warning signs along the sidewalk that mark areas designated for cycling.

Cyclists who drive their bikes on the sidewalk are treated like pedestrians having the same rights. But when passing pedestrians, cyclists need to use voice signals and ride slowly. Cyclists are allowed to pass on the right but they have to make sure no one walking is being obstructed. Cyclists are also encouraged to walk their bikes if necessary, and they must give way to pedestrians.

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Canada

Is riding on the sidewalks of Canada illegal?

Canadians over 13 should not ride bicycles on the sidewalk. This rule is related to a chapter of the local Toronto Municipal Code. According to this regulation, a violation of this rule will cost a $60 fine.

Section 886-6 of Chapter 886 takes pedestrian ways, footpaths, and bike paths as exemptions. But municipalities can pass laws outlawing sidewalk riding or doing it through other measures.

Florida

In the state of Florida, cyclists are allowed to ride on sidewalks. Cyclists are considered pedestrians for their safety. Even though bikes are regarded as vehicles, they have the same rights and consequences as pedestrians.

Cyclist sidewalk biking should yield extra room to pedestrians extra room. Cyclists should slow down and communicate so that there aren’t any accidents. Sidewalk biking here means you also have to practice hand signals and use lights to communicate with other road users in the area.

New York State

Is riding on the sidewalks of New York illegal?

For any 12-years-old cyclist commuting in New York, sidewalk biking is illegal, but you can use the sidewalk to walk your bike.  

Many communities have passed laws against cycling on sidewalks. Such laws are enacted to curb accidents caused by wrong-way riding, among other hazards associated with sidewalk cycling.

Bicyclists under 12 years of age are allowed to ride on sidewalks as long as their wheel diameter measures 26″ or less and there’s parental supervision.

It’s best to get the contact information of the best bicycle accident lawyer NYC trusts just in case you find yourself in an accident or breaking the law.

California

Is It Illegal To Ride Bike On Sidewalk in California

In California, it’s legal to ride a bike on the sidewalk – but only in some parts of the state. Besides, every local government can have its own rules about sidewalks and cycling as a result.

For example, Carlsbad, Vista, Escondido, El Cajon, and National City choose to ban biking on sidewalks with permits given for residential areas only. However, the rest of the cities have chosen to allow cyclists to bike on sidewalks.

Bicycle riders commuting in the business districts of Palo Alto are not allowed to ride on the sidewalks, with some exceptions for one-way underpasses on Alma Street. Mountain View, on the other hand, has areas where there’s signage that is restricted for 10+ years-old riders. Mountain View also forbids cyclists from riding on the sidewalks of business areas.

It’s always best to have the best bicycle accident attorney California has on file if your luck goes awry and you wind up in an accident – or perhaps if you find yourself breaking the law.

Texas

Is sidewalk biking in Texas illegal?

In the state of Texas, using the sidewalk for bicycle riding is illegal in general. However, some specific rules and regulations can govern this rule depending on one’s position in the city.

For instance, Houston made sidewalks in business districts forbidden for cycling use. However, there are certain areas like Dallas where it’s legal to bike if the cyclist sticks strictly to traffic signs and respects pedestrians by signaling them when passing using a bell.

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Illinois

In Illinois, sidewalk cycling is okay and even accorded the same rights and responsibilities as pedestrians. BUT, they need to give way to pedestrians when riding side by side with each other and use a bell to signal that they plan to pass. In contrast, many municipalities do not allow sidewalk cycling for people over the age of 12.

New Jersey

Is riding on the sidewalks of New Jersey legal?

New Jersey does not ban cyclists from riding on the sidewalk. However, in some municipalities, there are ordinances that outlaw cycling on the sidewalk.

Riding a bicycle along the sidewalk is an appealing alternative to riding on the road, but there are some risks involved in doing so. There have been conflicts and accidents between cyclists and cars, resulting in injuries that could have been prevented. Nevertheless, children and some adults are often more comfortable riding bicycles on sidewalks than on the street.

Sidewalk Biking on United Kingdom

Is bicycling on the sidewalks of the U.K. illegal?

In the U.K., cyclists are not allowed to ride on sidewalks because the British government sees bikes technically as vehicles. This means that cyclists are only allowed to ride on designated bike paths and nowhere else. In the UK, pavements and sidewalks are similar things.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you be riding your bike on the sidewalk or on the road?

It’s important to ride on the side of the road when biking because you can hit pedestrians when you’re riding on the sidewalk. If there is a bike lane, it’s always best to stand at a specific point and begin your journey in peace and safety. When used correctly, sidewalks can reduce the amount of time that is wasted stuck in traffic.

Is riding your bike on the sidewalk fine?

It may vary from place to place but generally, it’s okay to ride your bike on the sidewalk if you’re outside of the city center where there’s more room for space. But before you decide to do this, make sure that you check on your local laws and ordinances because navigating these areas can be tricky depending on what state, country, or municipality you’re in.

Conclusion

Bicycle riders usually feel safer on sidewalks while they’re riding in heavier road traffic because that reduces their chances of being smacked into by a car. However, it’s always good to check what your city says within the bounds of local laws to make sure you’re operating within the limits of what’s acceptable right now rather than get surprised by any sudden rule changes that could negatively affect you. It’s also important to make sure pedestrians remain safe so moving out of their way if they suddenly cross your way is important as well.

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By Jacob

When I was a child, one of my favorite things to do was a cycle. One day while looking around at all the people who didn't know how their bikes worked or where they should go if something broke on them - many were getting ripped off by shady mechanics charging too much for repairs that really weren’t necessary- it became clear what needed to be done! So here at VolataCycles, I help you to keep your bike in great condition, and to show you that cycling can be fun, practical, and affordable - all at the same time!