Cycling on the sidewalk is now okay in Los Angeles

On Behalf of | Jul 20, 2023 | Bicycle Accidents |

As of early June 2023, it’s finally legal for cyclists in Los Angeles County to use the sidewalks on their travels. 

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to amend the county’s traffic code to make biking on the sidewalk permissible. Their goal was twofold: They wanted to “decriminalize affordable mobility choices” and reduce cyclist fatalities, and they recognize that criminalizing the use of bikes on sidewalks disproportionately affects people of color and people on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder.

What’s the reason for the change?

Aside from the issues mentioned above, Los Angeles County has a goal: Their Vision Zero Action Plan wants to see the number of traffic fatalities on unincorporated roads drop from an average of 75 per year to zero.

Reports from bicycle advocacy groups showed that the vast majority of cyclist deaths in 2022 occurred in areas where there were no bike lanes. Allowing cyclists to use the sidewalks to travel without fear of a ticket makes it easier for people to get where they need to go safely. 

What should cyclists remember?

If you’re new to using the sidewalk when you’re on your bike, remember these tips:

  • Pedestrians may not be accommodating: Pedestrians typically don’t like sharing sidewalks with bikes because they fear being hit. Use extra caution around groups of people traveling by foot in case they won’t make space for you.
  • Realize that you’re practically invisible to motorists: Always assume that motorists aren’t aware of your presence when you approach a crosswalk or corner. Look carefully before you enter the road for drivers who simply aren’t paying attention.
  • Use the sidewalks sparingly: Bike lanes are really your safest option, so try to plan your route in a way that minimizes your use of the sidewalk, when possible.

If you’re injured while cycling due to another party’s mistake, find out more about what it takes to get fair compensation for your losses.