Is It Illegal to Ride a Bike on a Sidewalk in California?

-Posted On April 18, 2022 In Bicycle Accidents-

When riding a bike, you want to ensure that you are taking the safest routes possible and following all applicable traffic rules. California has strict rules that govern the activity of cyclists and will levy penalties against people who break the law.

Many of these laws involve where cyclists are allowed to ride. In California, bicyclists are considered vehicles and have the same right to the road as motor vehicles. Cyclists can legally ride on roads and sidewalks, as long as local regulations allow the practice.

California Bicycle Laws

According to the California Vehicle Code, cyclists can ride their bikes on the same road as motor vehicles. However, a cyclist must ride as far to the right of the road as possible, unless he or she is maneuvering to avoid a hazard or make a left-hand turn. If a road offers a bicycle lane, the cyclist must use it.

When it comes to riding on sidewalks, laws vary from municipality to municipality. In San Francisco, however, it is illegal to ride a bike on a sidewalk, unless you are a child under the age of 13. If you violate this rule, you could face fines.

Your Legal Rights as a California Cyclist

Under California law, bicycles are considered to be motor vehicles. As such, cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as a motor vehicle. These rights extend to liability following a dangerous collision.

Like most states, California follows a fault-based standard when it comes to motor vehicle accidents. If you are injured by someone else while riding a bike, you could file an insurance claim or lawsuit against him or her and recover compensation for medical care and other losses.

If you are injured while riding a bicycle on a sidewalk where it is illegal, however, your case could become more complex. The insurance company may use this fact as a reason to reduce or deny your claim. In the courtroom, the court may find that you are partially at fault and reduce your award by the percentage of liability that you share.

To avoid these complications, it is important to follow the law regarding riding on sidewalks unless it is absolutely necessary for your safety. If you are involved in a collision while riding on a sidewalk, consult with an attorney to gain a clearer picture of your legal options.

What to Do After a Bike Accident on a Sidewalk

If you are injured in a San Francisco bike accident, it is common to feel overwhelmed. In these situations, it is important to stay calm, seek help, and collect evidence.

  • Call 911 and report the accident to the police.
  • Go to the doctor or the hospital and receive treatment for your injuries.
  • Save all records related to your medical care, injuries, or accident in a safe location.
  • Briefly exchange contact and insurance information with any person involved in the accident.
  • If you are able, collect and document evidence at the scene of the collision.
  • Ask any witnesses in the area for their contact information.

After you receive medical care for your injuries, contact a San Francisco bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney will launch a full investigation into your collision and help you identify your options for compensation.

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