Is it legal to ride bikes on sidewalks in Sacramento? Well, the answer is: it depends. According to current California state law, cities and counties are able to regulate whether or not bicycles are allowed on sidewalks. While it is legal to ride a bike on the sidewalk in some parts of the greater Sacramento area, in other areas it is prohibited.
Areas in which bicycle riding on sidewalks is uniformly prohibited are Folsom, Galt and the central business district of Davis. Other areas have mixed rules.
Sacramento: Sidewalk bicycle riding is legal in residential areas on along designated bike routes. Bicycles are prohibited from sidewalks in commercial areas with the exception of certain employees that may obtain permits through the City. Sidewalk riders must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.
West Sacramento: West Sac allows bicycles on sidewalks within the business district. Again, they are required to yield to pedestrians.
Elk Grove: Bicycle riding on sidewalks designated as a part of the city’s bike route system is allowed. Sidewalk bicycle riders yield to pedestrians.
Regions that do not have specific ordinances either way include Citrus Heights, Rancho Cordova and Sacramento and Yolo Counties.
Regardless of whether bicycles are allowed on sidewalks, cyclists must practice courtesy and common sense if they choose to ride on a sidewalk. The term “walk” is built into the word for a reason, and a bicyclist must always be aware that pedestrians have the primary right to be there. Walkers are not required to look out for bicyclists on a sidewalk – in fact, the opposite is true.
Keeping the speed of the bicycle at or near walking pace is an important part of safe sidewalk riding. Be sure to alert walkers as you approach them, and take special care around small children and pets, as they tend to not keep to a predictable path. Of course, also take special care around the elderly or those with limited mobility. If you choose to ride on the sidewalk, you are primarily responsible for the safety of the other occupants. If the sidewalk is highly populated and there is no safe riding area on the road, walking your bicycle is likely the safest bet.
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento bicycle accident attorney with the most informative and comprehensive accident site on the internet, www.AutoAccident.com. If you or someone you know has been injured in a bicycle accident due to the negligence of another driver, please feel free to call me for free and friendly advice at (916) 921-6400. If you are outside of the Sacramento region, call toll free at (800) 404-5400. Be sure to check out our reviews on Yelp! and Avvo.