At The Law Firm of R. Sam, we have handled countless bicycle accidents where a bicyclist was severely injured by a negligent driver of a motor vehicle. One of the main reasons this type of accident occurs is when a bicyclist rides on a sidewalk and gets hit by a driver coming out of or going into a driveway. The driveway can be an entrance or exit of a parking lot or the driver’s private driveway. Normally, the sidewalk is meant for pedestrian traffic and not bicyclists. So, one of the most crucial parts of a bicyclist’s personal injury case is, was it legal for the bicyclist to ride on the sidewalk? What is the actual law about riding on sidewalks? When can people ride bicycles on the sidewalk?
Typically, a bicyclist is required to ride on the roadway in the same direction of traffic, as far to the right as practicable and follow the rules that drivers of motor vehicles obey. But, can a bicyclist ride on the sidewalk? Although the California Motor Vehicle Code applies to the operations of bicyclist, it is silent on this specific matter. (CVC 21206). It defers to the local rules, ordinance, or municipal code that governs your city. This article only focuses on the Central Valley cities of Modesto, Stockton, Turlock, Ceres, and Manteca. For other surrounding areas like Tracy, Lodi, Merced, or Fresno, you must look into your cities code section. It’s usually under the public transportation or public health section.
In Modesto, California, the ordinance states that a bicyclist may ride on all streets, alleys, and public ways of the city, except that no bicycle shall be operated on the sidewalk area in any business district. (Code of Ord., Title 3, Chapter 3-3.12). Fun fact: all bicycles that are used on any street must be licensed in Modesto. (Code of Ord. Title 3, Chapter. 3-3.01.) In Stockton, California, riding a bicycle is not allowed in walkways inside private shopping centers or parking area. Also, unless posted signs permit, riding is not allowed in any sidewalk situated in commercial districts, commercial neighborhood districts, commercial general districts, commercial downtown districts, and commercial large-scale districts. (Municipal Code, Title 10, Chapter 10.12, Article II) For Ceres, California, I couldn’t find anything about whether or not riding on the sidewalk is prohibited. It says nothing. So, both Ceres and the State is silent about whether or not bikes are allowed on sidewalks, which will leave bicyclist in sort of legal limbo here. However, Ceres does remember to require you to purchase a license for your bicycle to ride within the city limits (at least they didn’t forget how to get their money). Turlock, California allows people to ride bicycles on the sidewalk so long as it is not in a business district. (Municipal Code, Title 4-1-23). Manteca, California prohibits riding on the sidewalk within a business district, but the chief of police can also place signs prohibiting riding on any sidewalk including residential areas. (Municipal Code, Title 10.68.160) Bicycle accidents are common nowadays and knowing where you can ride your bicycle is important to protect your legal rights when you are injured in an accident. At The Law Firm of R. Sam, we have handled countless numbers of bicycle accidents. We have the knowledge and expertise to represent any bicyclist injured in an accident. Remember: If You’re Injured in a Traffic Jam, call The Law Firm of R. Sam. Nothing Recovered, Nothing Owed. Call us know. We can help.