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.
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
- 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
- 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.