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  1. #1
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    Are Bikes are considered pedestrains while on sidewalks?

    Wondering if anybody know of court case or law that answers this for sure for California. Before you answer the simply consider.

    I would like your opinion or what your legal sources can draw up on the question:
    Are Bikes are considered pedestrians while on sidewalks?

    I searched some online law resources. Found nothing against the assertion that anyone had ever considered a biker riding on a sidewalk not to have duties and rights of a Pedestrian. Did find only 4 states that specifically clarify it in their law. By the others bloggers counter argument, bikes always follow CVC rules, thus riding on the sidewalk is illegal against traffic and applies same to a 2 year old on training wheels so the 2 year old is not in same category as other pedestrians. There has to be some court decision somewhere, seems too fundamental.



    Delaware code 4198B

    "(c) A person propelling a vehicle by human power upon and along a sidewalk, or pushing a bicycle across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances."


    Montana code Section 61-8-608: BICYCLES ON SIDEWALKS
    (3) Except as provided in subsections (1) and (2), a person operating a vehicle by human power upon and along a sidewalk or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.


    from http://www.dot.state.fl.us/Safety/pe...bikeLaws1.shtm

    "Sidewalk riding
    (Section 316.2065(10) and (11), F.S.)
    A person propelling a vehicle by human power upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.

    Comment: Sidewalks are not designed for bicycle speeds, but a bicycle propelled by human power may be used except where prohibited by local ordinance (e.g. in the central business districts of many cities). No bicycle may be propelled by other than human power on a sidewalk. Although a cyclist riding on a sidewalk has the rights and duties of a pedestrian, he is still a "bicycle rider" and his bicycle is still a "bicycle". Consequently, laws that pertain to required equipment and to carriage of passengers (see above) are still applicable.

    Since a cyclist riding on a sidewalk does not have the duties (or rights) of a driver, he may ride in either direction. (However, it is safer to ride in the direction of traffic, since drivers do not expect cyclists to come from the other direction at driveways and crosswalks. Crash risk is 3 to 4 times as great for sidewalk riders who ride facing roadway traffic as for sidewalk riders who ride in the direction of traffic.)"



    Here is what Michigan says


    Sidewalk Rules. Rules for the operation of a bicycle either on a sidewalk or in a pedestrian crosswalk are found in MCL 257.660c. The statute states that a bicyclist riding on a sidewalk or in a pedestrian crosswalk has all of the rights and responsibilities applicable to a pedestrian using that sidewalk or crosswalk. It also states that a bicyclist on a sidewalk or in a pedestrian crosswalk shall yield the right of way to pedestrians. Bicyclists are also required to “give an audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian.” An “on-your-left” is always appreciated and appropriate. The statute also states that a person shall not operate a bicycle on a sidewalk or pedestrian crosswalk if that operation is “prohibited by an official traffic control device.”

  2. #2
    RacingBear UmneyDurak's Avatar
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    Who cares? Don't ride on a sidewalk.
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  3. #3
    crazy bike girl msincredible's Avatar
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    IMO, if you want to be treated like a pedestrian while on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk (e.g. have cars wait for you) then you should be walking your bike.

    Riding your bike across a crosswalk and expecting cars to suddenly stop is asking for trouble.
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    Lance Legweak HIPCHIP's Avatar
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    Bicycles are considered vehicles while being ridden, and are illegal to ride on the sidewalk. When I was a kid it was legal to ride on the sidewalk, but you couldn't interfere with pedestrians. Now I believe it is illegal to ride on the sidewalk at all. You're only a pedestrian with your bike if you are off of it and walking beside it.

  5. #5
    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Ygduf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msincredible View Post
    Riding your bike across a crosswalk and expecting cars to suddenly stop is asking for trouble.
    Riding your bike anywhere and expecting cars to suddenly stop is asking for trouble. Crosswalk or no.

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  6. #6
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    The state of California does not have a spec. law regarding riding a bicycle on sidewalks. The state has left this subject open for each county and local city gov to figure out on their own how they would like to handle the issue... For LA & LA county Sidewalk Riding (LAMC 56.15) Prohibits the riding of bicycles (or other human power devices) on sidewalks (bikeways or boardwalks) with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. Disallows the riding of bicycles on Ocean Front Walk in Venice.
    San Francisco Transportation Code Sec. 7.2.12 forbids sidewalk bicycle riding, and Sec. 1007 Children under the age of 13 may ride a Sidewalk Bicycle on any sidewalk except as otherwise posted.
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  7. #7
    I am a caffine girl colleen c's Avatar
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    Does it matter if we are consider as pedestrian while riding on the sidewalk?

    If you hit a pedestrian while riding on the sidewalk, you lose in court. If your get hit by truck while crossing street from the sidewalk, you lose everything.
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    Thank you all for those thought out comments Sidewalk riding is legal in Sunnyvale and most other cities in Southbay.

    Asking because it matters as to the response to/and by several government agencies that will be made as result of a serious injury that just happened to a youth.

    Like an airplane crash there was lots of factors, all easily should not have been. Caltrans policy of never halting traffic on an off ramp to allow safe passage by Ped is a big one, visibility, sight lines bad but cars encouraged to speed around blind corners, crosswalk as designed that requires you to cross the double blind curve to activate it another. Since the curve is so blind, drivers tend not to look where they are driving, but look for on coming cars to merge with. If they have any speed, its easy to hit someone. If the kid was a legal ped in California, then we have more weight to get something done to slow or force cars to stop, ect, something., especially with very difficult Caltrans. Frankly as one put it, cyclists have been really treated second class, often hostile as to even the most minor safety consideration, especially with Caltrans. (Someone suggested digging large pot holes in the curve to slow cars. )

    This very intersection at Fremont Av and 85 may be the terminus of our Steven Creek trail, just because there is no where else, and so unless something is figured out & get Caltran receptive, will have a real mess.

    If anything pops up, let me know.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunnyvale View Post
    Thank you all for those thought out comments Sidewalk riding is legal in Sunnyvale and most other cities in Southbay.
    This is simply not true. Sunnyvale and Santa Clara specifically prohibit riding on sidewalks. Riding on sidewalks is not only dangerous to pedestrians (and the cyclists themselves), but it is illegal. This is an area that is deserving of some attention by law enforcement. I ride daily, but when I do walk (in Sunnyvale) I am frequently forced off the sidewalk by idiots who are breaking the law riding there. It needs to stop.

    Here are the ordinances that ban cycling in

    Sunnyvale:

    10.56.140. Riding on sidewalks and overhead pedestrian crossings—Prohibited.
    (a) It is unlawful for any person to ride or operate a bicycle, motor driven cycle or motor scooter upon any sidewalk or upon any overhead pedestrian crossing over any street, roadway, state highway or state freeway that is signed for pedestrian use only within the city except as provided herein. Children under the age of thirteen years must walk their bicycles upon any overhead pedestrian crossing that is signed for pedestrian use only.
    (b) Children under the age of thirteen years or persons sixty-two years of age or older may ride and operate their bicycles in single file upon any sidewalk, except sidewalks adjacent to schools, store buildings or other buildings used for commercial purposes, subject to their exercising due care and giving any pedestrian the right-of-way. Any individual regardless of age may ride a bicycle on a sidewalk if riding upon the adjacent street would place the cyclist in an unsafe situation. (Ord. 2721 § 6, 2003: Ord. 2524-95 § 1 (part): Ord. 1215 § 1, 1961: Ord. 876 § 1 (part), 1961: prior code § 3-2.13).


    Santa Clara:


    12.05.070 Bicycles or motorcycles, etc. – Prohibited on sidewalks or in public parks.

    It shall be unlawful for any person to ride or drive any bicycle, motorcycle or other motor vehicle upon any sidewalk or in any public park in the City. (Ord. 302 § 1. Formerly § 25-9).


    Spreading the idea that this is legal makes the problem worse. Cyclists need to ride in the road, follow the laws and act with respect towards other road users. If you want to be on the sidewalk, walk your bike.

  10. #10
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    In California, bicycles are defined as vehicles and explicitly excluded from the definition of pedestrians. And operating a vehicle on a sidewalk is a big no-no, except to cross it to enter a driveway or alley. I always thought there was an exception for kids, and for adults riding with kids, but can't find a reference for that. In any case, unless there's a sign explicitly permitting bikes on a sidewalk, it is generally prohibited in California (municipalities can enact their own code for this). In fact the drivers handbook states that bicyclists must ride as close to the right hand side of the road as possible, but not on the sidewalk.

    JB

    PS - the prohibition of bikes on sidewalks must be one of the most widely unenforced sections of the vehicle code out there!
    Last edited by jonathanb715; 08-09-10 at 06:15 PM.
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  11. #11
    It's MY mountain DiabloScott's Avatar
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    Walnut Creek contains nearly 31 miles of paved Class I, II and III designated bikeways throughout the community. This does not include the numerous miles of unpaved trails located within designated open space areas. In addition, bicycles are allowed to use the sidewalk along major arterials such as Treat Boulevard and Ygnacio Valley Road.

    So, it seems the question might be... "If you were to be riding legally on a sidewalk and decided to cross a side street with a "don't walk" sign flashing, and a police officer gave you a ticket; would it be a jaywalking ticket or a running a red light ticket?"
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    I think that the exemption for children comes about from the state definition of what a "bicycle" is. I believe there is a law defining it as having wheel diameter > 16 inches, in an attempt to allow (rightly so) kids to ride on the sidewalk when learning. My problem is with adults on the sidewalk. I shouldn't have to dodge these people when walking, when they are supposed to be in the road. I agree that it is the most ignored law around. It would be nice to see cops take a day or two and pass out warnings to these people, just to educate them as to where they are supposed to be riding. The safest thing for all is for the cyclists to ride on the road, and observe all laws, including the keep right law (close as practicable to the curb). That way everyone can share the roads.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonathanb715 View Post
    In fact the drivers handbook states that bicyclists must ride as close to the right hand side of the road as possible, but not on the sidewalk.

    JB
    !
    I just hate it when some yo-yo bureaucrat changes the wording in a law to give it a brand new meaning. Just what we need, more misinformation in the drivers' handbook.The law in CA (CVC 21202) rather clearly states that one is to ride as far the the right as PRACTICABLE, which has quite a different meaning from POSSIBLE. The CVC goes on to give the cyclist judgment as to whether to share the lane or not by indicating that cyclists should not be at the curb edge if the lane is of "substandard" width. While substandard width is often understood to be fourteen feet, it is left undefined.

    Please don't encourage cyclists to be as far right as "possible".Understanding how to take the proper lane position is critical to safe cycling and curb-hugging is a very dangerous habit.

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    Good call, carfree!

    Everyone should stay safe, but be courteous as well. Keep to the right when you can, to let others by, but don't endanger yourself. Oh, and everybody get off the sidewalk. I'M WALKIN' HERE!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
    So, it seems the question might be... "If you were to be riding legally on a sidewalk and decided to cross a side street with a "don't walk" sign flashing, and a police officer gave you a ticket; would it be a jaywalking ticket or a running a red light ticket?"
    Neither. If you note the timing of traffic signals, you'll see that the Don't Walk sign starts flashing while the regular signal is still green and comes on solid when the regular signal first turns yellow. The cyclist crossing against a flashing Don't Walk is therefore equivalent to crossing on a green light, albeit with the caution that he shouldn't dawdle since the light will change soon.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonathanb715 View Post
    In California, bicycles are defined as vehicles and explicitly excluded from the definition of pedestrians. And operating a vehicle on a sidewalk is a big no-no, except to cross it to enter a driveway or alley.
    No, the California Vehicle Code explicitly defines a vehicle as excluding human-powered devices and therefore excludes bicycles. But the cyclist himself is assigned all the 'rights and responsibilities' of a vehicle operator. As stated previously, the legality of cyclists on sidewalks is left unaddressed by the CVC and is therefore up to each local authority to govern in their own jurisdiction.

    I also note that the local law quoted by oddjob for Sunnyvale appears to only prohibit sidewalk riding in places where there is explicit signage in place designating that particular sidewalk as being for pedestrian use only.

    Although I don't advocate cycling on sidewalks since I consider it to generally be more dangerous than riding on the roadway, it is legal in quite a few locations in California and the local laws have to be checked to determine where.

    CVC 670:
    A "vehicle" is a device by which any person or property may bepropelled, moved, or drawn upon a highway, excepting a device movedexclusively by human power or used exclusively upon stationary railsor tracks.
    Last edited by prathmann; 08-09-10 at 09:13 PM. Reason: added CVC section quote

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    Quote Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
    I also note that the local law quoted by oddjob for Sunnyvale appears to only prohibit sidewalk riding in places where there is explicit signage in place designating that particular sidewalk as being for pedestrian use only.
    I think you need to reread it. The text in question is this: "upon any sidewalk or upon any overhead pedestrian crossing over any street, roadway, state highway or state freeway that is signed for pedestrian use only"

    The designation regarding the sign is to distinguish overpasses that are for bikes and pedestrians (like the Caltrain overpasses) vs. overpasses that specifically state they are for pedestrian use only (which makes them effectively into a sidewalk). The law prohibits adult cyclists from riding "upon any sidewalk." There is a very, very stupid exception provided for an "unsafe situation," but claiming that as an excuse shouldn't be allowed. That part should be repealed, because it prevents enforcement of a perfectly appropriate law. Take another route, or walk the bike. The Santa Clara law is clear.

  18. #18
    Senior Member ro-monster's Avatar
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    In San Mateo or Redwood City there are signed bike lanes on the sidewalk in some places, which would suggest that riding on the sidewalk is legal. No idea why they would put bike lanes on the sidewalk, but they did. I've seen people get pulled over for not having lights on their bikes (even during the day) but the cops ignore sidewalk riding completely.

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    Yeah, I think it's a lost cause. Not enough pedestrians get killed by cyclists on the sidewalk to make anyone care. What I dislike about it as much as anything is that many motorists think bikes need to get off the road and ride on the sidewalk. These buffoons that do so give them ammunition.

  20. #20
    Lance Legweak HIPCHIP's Avatar
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    Bicycles are considered vehicles, so you are not a pedestrian while riding. In the old days bicycles were allowed to ride on the sidewalks, but you could not interfere with pedestrian traffic. Apparently that has changed and bicycles are no longer allowed to be ridden on a sidewalk. I don't know how much they enforce that as I sure wouldn't want my child riding a bicycle in the street with a ton a car traffic!

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    Quote Originally Posted by HIPCHIP View Post
    Bicycles are considered vehicles,
    Not in California - see CVC 670.

    And the wording of both the Sunnyvale and Santa Clara ordinances cited above are far from clear. The Sunnyvale one can certainly be read in two ways: that the restriction to places with specific signage applies to both sidewalks and over crossings or that it applies only to over crossings. Of course if it's the latter that then raises the question as to why the over crossings are explicitly called "overhead pedestrian crossings" if some of them are intended for both cyclists and pedestrians. And the Santa Clara ordinance "It shall be unlawful for any person to ride or drive any bicycle, motorcycle or other motor vehicle upon any sidewalk or in any public park in the City" appears to be a blanket prohibition on any bike or vehicle use within any public park. Are there no public roads through or into Santa Clara's parks?

  22. #22
    crazy bike girl msincredible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HIPCHIP View Post
    Bicycles are considered vehicles, so you are not a pedestrian while riding. In the old days bicycles were allowed to ride on the sidewalks, but you could not interfere with pedestrian traffic. Apparently that has changed and bicycles are no longer allowed to be ridden on a sidewalk. I don't know how much they enforce that as I sure wouldn't want my child riding a bicycle in the street with a ton a car traffic!
    Some locales have an exception for small children.
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  23. #23
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    In Sunnyvale
    Muni code 10.56.140. Riding on sidewalks and overhead pedestrian crossings
    (b) Children under the age of thirteen years or persons sixty-two years of age or older may ride and operate their bicycles in single file upon any sidewalk, except sidewalks adjacent to schools, store buildings or other buildings used for commercial purposes, subject to their exercising due care and giving any pedestrian the right-of-way. Any individual regardless of age may ride a bicycle on a sidewalk if riding upon the adjacent street would place the cyclist in an unsafe situation. (Ord. 2721 § 6, 2003: Ord. 2524-95 § 1 (part): Ord. 1215 § 1, 1961: Ord. 876 § 1 (part), 1961: prior code § 3-2.13).

    Now the issue is when they cross a crosswalk, the law in California is undefined, but in about half a dozen other states if you enter from a sidewalk, you are a pedestrian. Many, including most police think that if you are on a bicycle crossing a cross walk, to the car its like no one is there, and from what I can find the driver gets off scott free if they mow down a cyclist, ( I have a specific example in Sunnyvale where that is so!) that in other states is acting legally as a pedestrian (having entered the crosswalk like a pedestrian) This backward California logic is based on the sidewalk riding biker, once they enter the crosswalk is a vehicle moving illegally by traveling in a crosswalk, and they were a also vehicle on the sidewalk, ABSURD. The status on being a vehicle only apply to travel in the street. Crosswalks are grey area and again, only half a dozen other states have clearly defined that. Legally, if you get hit in a crosswalk, you only have clear right-away if you were walking your bike, the crosswalk symbol means nothing!!.
    Last edited by sunnyvale; 08-13-10 at 03:20 AM. Reason: spelling

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunnyvale View Post
    This backward California logic is based on the sidewalk riding biker, once they enter the crosswalk is a vehicle moving illegally by traveling in a crosswalk, and they were a also vehicle on the sidewalk, ABSURD. The status on being a vehicle only apply to travel in the street. Crosswalks are grey area and again, only half a dozen other states have clearly defined that. Legally, if you get hit in a crosswalk, you only have clear right-away if you were walking your bike, the crosswalk symbol means nothing!!.
    It makes complete sense to me that a cyclist is considered an operator of a vehicle. A motorcycle riding illegally on the sidewalk still counts as a vehicle in a crosswalk does it not? Perhaps you are not versed on the definition of pedestrian? To be a pedestrian with a bicycle, one must be walking it.

    Anyhow, its completely stupid to cross a crosswalk and will likely get you seriously injured eventually. Its much safer to cross with the traffic in the designated lane.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Val23708 View Post
    It makes complete sense to me that a cyclist is considered an operator of a vehicle. A motorcycle riding illegally on the sidewalk still counts as a vehicle in a crosswalk does it not? Perhaps you are not versed on the definition of pedestrian? To be a pedestrian with a bicycle, one must be walking it.

    From top of this post, (again California does not clairify this in the code)
    Delaware code 4198B C, Montana code Section 61-8-608: BICYCLES ON SIDEWALKS, Florida Section 316.2065(10) and (11), F.S., and Michigan all define the case of a cyclist on a sidewalk.
    "A person propelling a vehicle by human power upon and along a sidewalk, or pushing a bicycle across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances."

    California skirts the issue, and completely ignores crosswalk crossing in CVC 21100
    21100. Local authorities may adopt rules and regulations by ordinance or resolution regarding the following matters:
    (h) Operation of bicycles, and, as specified in Section 21114.5, electric carts by physically disabled persons, or persons 50 years of age or older, on the public sidewalks.


    Anyhow, its completely stupid to cross a crosswalk and will likely get you seriously injured eventually. Its much safer to cross with the traffic in the designated lane.
    I agree, follow the LAB guidelines is the safest, and use the street facilities per the riders ability always in direction of traffic. But depending on the skill level of the rider (age and maturity a factor) LAB agrees sometimes it is necessary to ride the sidewalk. (That case is the issue in this string). The LAB does clearly teach crosswalk usage. The better one to look at, if you know a LAB instructor, is the LAB instructor material "LA_Cyclist_View_driving_Bike". It is very briefly mentioned on the LAB / DOT you tube video " NHTSA Bicycle Safety Tips For Adults" you tube id ?v=jdrrxIpQpt4 see about 5 minutes, 20 seconds in. It that one the video does not properly detail how to use crosswalks by walking, unfortunately


    Note, somehow the edit tool has my text mixed up with the first quote. Not sure how to quote both and respond to both.
    Last edited by sunnyvale; 08-14-10 at 10:08 AM.

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