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Is It Illegal to Ride Your Bike on the Sidewalk? It Depends

Written by Gary Johnson / Fact checked by Henry Speciale

Is It Illegal to Ride Your Bike on the Sidewalk

Bicycles are great for travel because of their versatility. However, there is the matter of whether we are allowed to pass through certain areas with them. One that is important to consider is “is it illegal to ride your bike on the sidewalk?”

It is permitted by law in many states, but there are some where it is prohibited. Keep reading to learn more.

Legality of Riding Bicycles on the Sidewalk


There are different reasons why people may want to ride bicycles on the sidewalk; it could seem safer compared to the road, or it could be the quickest way to get to their destination.

However, commuting on sidewalks could be illegal the way it is not legal to ride a bike without a helmet. It all comes down to your location.

Biking on the sidewalk is not illegal in many states, but each has its own laws and guidelines. Two states that allow bikes on sidewalks may view things differently, where one regards cycles as vehicles while the other regards cyclists as pedestrians.

There is also a difference between being allowed and not being prohibited. Some states specifically permit it, while others simply do not specify that cyclists are not allowed to ride a bike on the sidewalk.

Below is a table showing bike on sidewalk legality per state. We threw in D.C. even though it’s not a state for good measure.

Alabama Prohibited  
Alaska Allowed Allowed except in designated business areas
Arizona Not covered Bicycles are not considered vehicles
Arkansas Not covered – Cyclists are considered pedestrians.
– Some cities and localities prohibit it.
California Not covered – Some cities such as LA allow it.
– A few cities ban cyclists from using sidewalks.
Colorado Allowed – Bicycles are among the vehicles allowed the use of sidewalks.
– Area restrictions may apply.
– May need to dismount before crosswalk entry
Connecticut Allowed Permitted but must adhere to rules of local jurisdictions, such as yielding to pedestrians
Delaware Allowed – Cyclists are given pedestrian rights.
– Permitted except in business districts or when bike lanes are available
District of Columbia Allowed Allowed but with strict cycling rules (yielding to pedestrians, not riding in the Business District)
Florida Allowed Cyclists have pedestrian rights.
Georgia Prohibited Exceptions apply only to persons aged 12 and below.
Hawaii Allowed – 10mph speed limit imposed
– Motorized bikes not included
Idaho Allowed – Cyclists must use audible signals.
– Prohibition in some areas for traffic control
Illinois Allowed Similar to Idaho
Indiana Not covered State defers to local laws.
Iowa Not covered  
Kansas Not covered Distinguishes bicycles from vehicles but applies rights and responsibilities of motorists
Kentucky Allowed – Allowed unless local laws prohibit it
– Must bike slowly
Louisiana Not covered  
Maine Not covered  
Maryland Prohibited May be allowed through local ordinance
Massachusetts Allowed Prohibited for business districts in Massachusetts
Michigan Allowed Required to use audible signals
Minnesota Allowed Must signal pedestrians before passing or overtaking
Mississippi Not covered  
Missouri Allowed – Prohibited in business districts
– No motorized bikes on sidewalks
Montana Allowed – Cyclists have the same duties and rights as pedestrians.
Nebraska Allowed – Pedestrians and cyclists have the same rights
Nevada Not covered  
New Hampshire Prohibited  
New Jersey Not covered Often prohibited by local laws
New Mexico Not covered  
New York Not covered Okay in select areas in New York state
North Carolina Not covered  
North Dakota Prohibited  
Ohio Not covered Often banned locally
Oklahoma Not covered Restrictions apply in most large cities
Oregon Allowed – Permitted under specific conditions
– Must exercise caution when exiting crosswalks
– Use of audible warnings
– Need to limit bike speed to walking pace
Pennsylvania Allowed Audible signals required
Rhode Island Allowed Okay, but local restrictions apply.
South Carolina Allowed  
South Dakota Allowed Must stop before entering or exiting crosswalks
Tennessee Not covered  
Texas Not covered Often prohibited locally
Utah Allowed Use of audible signals and reduced speed
Vermont Not covered  
Virginia Allowed Cyclists are pedestrians, but standard requirements such as yielding the right of way apply.
Washington Allowed Fines apply for failure to yield to pedestrians.
West Virginia Not covered Must adhere to local guidelines
Wisconsin Allowed Must signal before passing
Wyoming Allowed  

States without bicycle laws that explicitly allow or prohibit using sidewalks make the practice technically legal, unless prohibited locally.

Are there exceptions?


Cities and localities may have ordinances that deviate from state guidelines, similar to how state law applies in Phoenix may not be the case in Oklahoma City. The best way to go about this is to consider each city or locality as having its own set of rules and adapt accordingly.

Some standard guidelines apply: these include cyclists needing to yield to pedestrians and the use of signals. Other bike rules include slowing down before turning or switching lanes.

Consequences of riding bikes on the sidewalk


You will need to bike on a sidewalk at some point if you cycle often. Here are some things you will need to deal with if you do.

  • The right of way belongs to pedestrians, so be prepared to yield.
  • Sidewalk riding makes bicycles less visible to motorists, putting you at risk.
  • Uneven surfaces on sidewalks are a notable threat that may result in accidents.
  • Bicycles need to go slow for everyone’s safety, so prepare to take more time traveling.

Alternatives and tips for cyclists


  • It is sometimes illegal to ride on the sidewalk if a bike lane is available, so take that option when you can.
  • Use the sidewalk sparingly, just a few blocks at a time, and only if you really need to.
  • When going through sidewalks where it is prohibited to ride, get off and walk the bike.


If you were wondering “Is it illegal to ride your bike on the sidewalk?” now you know that rules vary depending on state or locality. However, the question of whether you should do it is another matter that you should consider carefully.

Do you ride your bike on sidewalks? What considerations do you take when doing so, and how is it compared to riding on the road? Tell us your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.

Always ride safely.

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