Is it illegal to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk? U.S. Bicycle Laws Explained

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You may be riding your bike on the sidewalk and not realizing you are breaking local rules.

Depending on where you live in the United States, you may need to use a designated bike lane when cycling on the streets, as some states prohibit driving on sidewalks.

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Biking on a sidewalk can be dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists, which is why many states have laws about it.

Is it illegal to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk?

Whether or not you can ride a sidewalk bike without having to worry about getting a ticket for it will largely depend on where you live.

According to Goingfitunfit, there are a handful of states that have made the decision not to ban or allow riding your bike on the sidewalk, such as:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • New York – * NYC strictly forbids it
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Caroline from the south
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia

Biking laws will vary based on your age, city, and other factors depending on where you live, so be aware of where you choose to ride.

Which states have special curbside restrictions?

The bicycle laws in the United States might not be as straightforward as you might think, many states have complicated loopholes and special exceptions for sidewalk biking.

Here are the states where you may need to pay special attention to laws on whether or not to allow sidewalk cycling:

  • Alaska – allowed except in the business district
  • Arkansas – allowed but most cities forbidden
  • District of Colombia – allowed with various limitations such as the ban on driving in a business district and bicycles on a sidewalk must give way to pedestrians
  • Georgia – allowed for children up to 12 years old
  • Hawaii – allowed as long as the speed is 10 mph or less
  • Massachusetts – authorized outside business districts in the interest of safety
  • Missouri – allowed except in the business district
  • Oregon – allowed with various limitations
  • Utah – bicycles on a sidewalk must yield to pedestrians
  • Virginia – bicycles on a sidewalk must yield the right of way to pedestrians and will have all the rights and duties of a pedestrian in the same circumstances.
  • Washington – authorized because cyclists have the same rights as pedestrians but must give way to pedestrians

While some cities have special exceptions, in most states in the United States this is fully permitted. Just be sure to watch out for pedestrians.

Many states do not prohibit or allow sidewalk cycling, as laws vary across the United States

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Many states do not prohibit or allow sidewalk cycling, as laws vary across the United States

In which states are you allowed to cycle on the sidewalk?

There are laws that cyclists must follow in order to protect pedestrians, vehicles on the road, and cyclists themselves.

Here are the states where you can cycle freely on the sidewalk with confidence:

  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

To make sure your constituency is legal, always be sure to check the local laws in your area to avoid any quotes.

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