Cycling down the path of life

You CAN Ride on the Sidewalk in Los Angeles, Sort Of

Most people believe that sidewalk riding is illegal, especially those that live in dense urban areas. That’s most definitely true in cities like New York and other major metros where there are just too many pedestrians on the sidewalk at any given time. However, it’s not an all-encompassing law in EVERY city or county. Case in point: Los Angeles County.

The 80′s song, Nobody Walks in LA, is somewhat true which might be why our sidewalk laws are flexible; some cities allow sidewalk bike riding on sidewalks, while others do not, and still others have laws that depend on what’s in the vicinity of the location.

Map of Los Angeles County sidewalk laws. It would be really nice if it listed the cities!

Map of Los Angeles County sidewalk laws. It would be really nice if it listed the cities!

Now, Los Angeles county is comprised of many cities that sprawl out over 4,057 miles (that’s quite a sprawl!) and each city seems to have their own set of rules about sidewalk bike riding. Based on Los Angeles’ Department of Transportation Bike Blog the most well known cities that allow sidewalk riding are (for a full list of cities – which unfortunately the map above does not mark!-, see the LADOT blog):

  • Los Angeles City (I’m guessing this is downtown Los Angeles)
  • Burbank (though LADOT states this is very unclear in their municipal code)
  • Redondo Beach (where signs permit)
  • Pasadena (with extra rules)
  • and a few other cities that Non-Angelenos probably have never heard of

However, you may not ride on sidewalks in many more cities such as (again I’m sticking with well-known LA county cities):

  • Santa Monica
  • Malibu
  • Inglewood
  • Calabasas (You know. Where the Kardashians live.)

In some cities, you may ride on the sidewalks, just not in the “business districts” which is somewhat vague:

  • Beverly Hills
  • Compton
  • Hermosa Beach
  • Agoura Hills
  • San Fernando

Based on these facts, I’m not recommending you go out and hit the sidewalks at 15 mph on your bike. But, in some cases where it’s just too dangerous to ride in the streets alongside fast moving vehicles, as least you can feel comfortable riding on the sidewalk and know it’s not completely illegal. If you’re not sure about your neighborhood, check out your local Department of Transportation and see if they have similar resources on bike riding on sidewalks.

Ride safe.

4 Comments

  1. Great resource Jennifer, thanks. Strangely, I’m relieved that Los Angeles has sidewalks. There are so many locations that don’t even offer this seemingly essential element of the urban environment. Virginia Beach has a scattering of sidewalks, but they don’t connect with each other. The Northshore on New Orleans doesn’t even offer sidewalks? No wonder drivers have not patience for pedestrians and cyclists. Smart planning is the bedrock of a cohesive and livable neighborhood.

    • @Hunter – I sometimes forget there are suburbs and cities that have few sidewalks. I guess I should be lucky that we actually have them here in LA!

  2. Thanks — this is helpful. I have two comments:
    1. LA City is by no means limited to Downtown. It includes Westwood, Reseda, Venice, San Pedro, etc., etc.
    2. According to LA City Ordinance there is one sidewalk you may NOT ride on: Venice Boardwalk.

    • @Paul D – Thanks for clarifying the “city” and the tip about the boardwalk!

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