Bicyclists see sidewalks as an easy means to avoid traffic and other road users when the roads are congested. However, is it illegal to ride a bike on the sidewalk?
It’s not outright illegal to ride bicycles on sidewalks. Its legality depends on your age and residential state or country. Although there is no state law banning bicycling on sidewalks, local governments may enact their regulations.
Typically, cyclists may be permitted to ride on the sidewalks in case of a traffic snarl-up. However, that does not necessarily mean they’re welcome to do it regularly.
Some states outlawed biking on sidewalks because of high cases of reckless cycling-related accidents. While cyclists feel safe hopping onto sidewalks, having bikes on the sidewalk makes pedestrians vulnerable.
The truth is, riding on the sidewalk does not eliminate the risk of colliding with a car. In contrast, it obscures bicyclists from motorists putting them at risk of being hit by cars.
Is It Legal To Ride A Bike On The Sidewalk?
It’s legal to cycle on sidewalks in some states, including Colorado, Florida, and Delaware but illegal in states like Alabama and Maryland.
Local governments craft and implement laws regulating cycling on sidewalks. For that reason, you can be allowed to ride on the sidewalk within the city and forced to use the street once you leave the city.
As much as sidewalks are for pedestrians, local authorities can make exceptions to their sidewalk-biking bans to make street biking safer for kids. Thus, letting children cycle on sidewalks protects them from road dangers.
Legality Of Riding On Sidewalks In Different States
|State||Legality Of Sidewalk Cycling|
|Alaska||Allowed except for the business district|
|Arizona||Not prohibited or allowed|
|Arkansas||Allowed although most cities prohibit it|
|California||Not prohibited or allowed|
|District Of Columbia||Allowed but with some restrictions|
|Georgia||Allowed for 12-year-olds and below|
|Hawaii||Allowed with a speed limit of 10mph|
|Indiana||Not allowed or prohibited|
|Iowa||Not allowed or prohibited|
|Kansas||Not allowed or prohibited|
|Louisiana||Not allowed or prohibited|
|Maine||Not allowed or prohibited|
|Massachusetts||Allowed except for the business district|
|Mississippi||Not allowed or prohibited|
|Missouri||Allowed except for the business district|
|Nevada||Not allowed or prohibited|
|New Jersey||Not allowed or prohibited|
|New Mexico||Not allowed or prohibited|
|New York||Allowed although most cities prohibit it|
|North Carolina||Not allowed or prohibited|
|Oklahoma||Not allowed or prohibited|
|Oregon||Allowed but with some restrictions|
|South Carolina||Not allowed or prohibited|
|Tennessee||Not allowed or prohibited|
|Texas||Not allowed or prohibited|
|Utah||Allowed but with some restrictions|
|Vermont||Not allowed or prohibited|
|Virginia||Allowed but with some restrictions|
|West Virginia||Not allowed or prohibited|
Is It Illegal To Ride A Bike On The Sidewalk In Iowa?
There’s no state law forbidding cycling on the sidewalk in Iowa. However, it’s prohibited in some municipalities.
Riding a bike on sidewalks in Cedar Rapids is legal but illegal in Cedar Rapids’ business district and other areas with “no sidewalk riding” signage.
Is It Illegal To Ride Your Bike On The Sidewalk In Michigan?
It’s not illegal to cycle on Michigan sidewalks, even though the state recommends cyclists avoid them. Consequently, cyclists are mandated to let pedestrians pass.
Some municipalities within the state have banned sidewalk biking in retail and high traffic areas. Besides, you need to communicate audibly before passing a pedestrian and watch out for distracted drivers.
Is It Illegal To Ride A Bike On The Sidewalk In New York State?
It’s illegal for New York cyclists over 12 years old to ride on sidewalks. However, they are allowed to walk your bicycle on the sidewalks.
Consequently, some municipalities have enacted laws restricting cycling on specific sidewalks to curb collisions caused by wrong-way riding.
The state allows children under 12 to ride on sidewalks. However, they must be under parental supervision and ensure their diameters measure twenty-six inches or less.
Is It Illegal To Ride A Bike On The Sidewalk In Chicago?
Individuals aged 12 and above cannot ride bicycles on the Chicago sidewalks. However, there are exceptions in instances where sidewalks bear bike route labels.
Cyclists using sidewalks enjoy the same rights as pedestrians. Nevertheless, cyclists are required to ride slowly and employ voice signals when passing pedestrians.
Cyclists should also yield to pedestrians and are encouraged to walk their bikes if necessary.
Is It Illegal To Ride A Bike On The Sidewalk In California?
It is legal to cycle on sidewalks in the state of California, but this varies from one locality to another. Furthermore, local governments have the authority to enact their laws governing sidewalk riding.
For example, Vista, Carlsbad, National City, Escondido, and El Cajon forbid cyclists from riding sidewalks. However, most of the other cities allow sidewalk biking everywhere or in residential areas.
Palo Alto prohibits bicycles in business districts, with special rules for some Alma Street under crossings. On the other hand, Mountain View forbids riders over 10 years from riding on spots with signage.
Business areas are also a no-go zone for cyclists.
Is It Illegal To Ride A Bike On The Sidewalk In Los Angeles?
It’s legal to cycle on the sidewalk in Los Angeles unless you willfully disregard the pedestrians’ safety. Similarly, sidewalk cycling laws differ from city to city within the state and its districts.
The city of Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Redondo Beach permit sidewalk biking. On the other hand, it’s not allowed in Palmdale, Santa Monica, and the County of Los Angeles.
Legality depends on age in some locations. For instance, Lancaster and Hermosa Beach forbid sidewalk biking for people above 14.
Nonetheless, some municipalities, such as Palos Verdes Estates and Hidden Hills, are mute on the matter.
Is It Illegal To Ride A Bike On The Sidewalk In Illinois?
Cyclists can ride their bicycles on sidewalks in Illinois because they are accorded the same rights as pedestrians. However, they are expected to let pedestrians pass and signal with a bell before passing.
On the contrary, many municipalities prohibit people older than 12 years from bicycling on the sidewalk.
Is It Illegal To Ride A Bike On The Sidewalk In Ohio?
Sidewalk cycling is not illegal in Ohio. The state law prohibits “bike bans” that push cyclists to use sidewalks in place of roads.
There are disparities in local laws. For instance, in Columbus, only children under the age of 10 can ride on sidewalks.
Kids under 15 years in Dayton have access to sidewalks, and some laws apply to cyclists above 16 years. On the other hand, Cincinnati permits children below 15 years to access sidewalks.
Additionally, the state has wider sidewalks accessible to cyclists and pedestrians of every age. With that said, many cities have outlawed sidewalk biking in business districts.
Is It Illegal To Ride A Bike On The Sidewalk In Texas?
It’s generally prohibited to use your bicycle on the sidewalk in Texas. However, the law varies in different cities.
For example, it’s illegal to bike in Houston’s business districts. However, it’s legal in Dallas as long as you strictly adhere to the traffic signs, give way to pedestrians, and ring a bell when passing them.
Is It Illegal To Ride A Bike On The Sidewalk In Florida?
It’s legal to cycle on a sidewalk in Florida. Cyclists enjoy similar rights to pedestrians even though bicycles are regarded as vehicles.
However, the cyclist should give way to pedestrians on the sidewalk and communicate audibly when turning or stopping. Additionally, they should employ hand signals and lights.
Is It Illegal To Ride A Bike On The Sidewalk In New Jersey?
It’s not illegal to cycle on a sidewalk in New Jersey, but some municipal authorities have enforced ordinances outlawing it.
Sidewalk riding (like riding the wrong way) can lead to conflicts and accidents. Nonetheless, adults and children alike fancy riding on sidewalks because they are uncomfortable riding in the street.
Is It Illegal To Ride A Bike On The Sidewalk In Canada?
Riding a bike on sidewalks is strictly limited to children under the age of 14 in Canada. According to Toronto Municipal Code, violating this rule attracts a fine of $60.
Footpaths, bike paths, and pedestrian ways are exempt under Section 886-6 of Chapter 886. However, every municipality has the authority to enact bylaws prohibiting sidewalk riding.
Is It Illegal To Ride A Bike On The Sidewalk In The UK?
Bicycling on sidewalks is illegal in the UK because bikes are classified as vehicles under British law. Due to this, Cyclists are not permitted to ride in areas not designated as cycle paths.
Note that sidewalks are called pavements in the United Kingdom.
1. Should I Ride My Bike On The Road Or Sidewalk?
You should always strive to cycle on the road to avoid endangering pedestrians using the sidewalk. You risk hitting a pedestrian when you ride on the sidewalk, so it’s best to stick to the road.
However, sidewalks can be a convenient option, especially when the road has too many vehicles.
2. Is It Okay To Ride Your Bike On The Sidewalk?
It is generally okay to ride your bike on the sidewalk when outside the business district. However, this doesn’t apply to every state, country, municipality, or locality, so check the laws beforehand.
3. Is It Illegal To Ride A Bike On The Sidewalk In Missouri?
It’s illegal to use a sidewalk to ride your bicycle in a business district. Due to this, you are required to use the road with other vehicles, leaving the sidewalk to pedestrians.
In addition, it’s illegal to ride motorized bicycles on sidewalks.
4. Is It Illegal To Ride A Bike On The Sidewalk In Indiana?
There is no statute in Indiana that expressly permits or disallows riding a bike on a sidewalk. As a result, it would be good to familiarize yourself with the local laws to avoid sanctions.
In Conclusion, Is It Illegal To Ride A Bike On The Sidewalk?
Cyclists usually use sidewalks when there’s heavy road traffic or when they want to feel more secure. However, it’s good to check what the law in your area says to avoid breaking any rules, avoid unnecessary sanctions, and keep pedestrians safe.