LA County Sidewalk Riding: Part 2

After covering the City, County, and inner-ring suburbs of Los Angeles, LADOT Bike Blog’s quest to document sidewalk riding rules moves farther afield. Today we will look at the Valley and the far flung communities of north and west LA County.  Let’s get cracking!

There are bikes are in Santa Clarita, but can you ride them on the sidewalk?

(Ed. note: Before we get started, let’s just make clear that all the same disclaimers from Part 1 still apply.  Good?  Good.  And thanks to Be A Green Commuter for their kind words.)


Lancaster seems to give permission through omission.  Though there is no ordinance explicitly stating where sidewalk riding is legal, they do state where it’s not legal: commercial zones.  Check out Sec. 10.04.090:

C. Bicycles. No person shall operate a bicycle on any pedestrian facility located within or adjacent to any property zoned for commercial uses pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 17.12 of this code.

So is this “no bicycle riding in commercial zones” as restrictive as the CVC-based “business district” restrictions in Glendale and Beverly Hills?  Well, let’s take a look at which zones are included in Sec. 17.12:

It doesn’t look as restrictive as the “business district” definition, as the zoning doesn’t include churches and multi-family units like CVC 240 does (although it does include schools).  As long as you stay away from hospitals, business parks, and downtown, you should probably be okay on the sidewalk.


The City of Palmdale chose to adopt all the traffic ordinances in the Los Angeles County Municipal Code.  As we saw in Part 1, the LA County Municipal Code prohibits sidewalk ridingSec. 10.04.010 says:

Except as hereinafter provided, Divisions 1 and 2 of Title 15, “Vehicles and Traffic,” of the Los Angeles County Code, in effect on January l, 1998, and as amended up to and including Los Angeles County Ordinance No. 97-0039, is adopted by reference and shall constitute the vehicles and traffic code of the City. It may be cited as the “Palmdale vehicles and traffic code.”

None of the amendments listed afterward deal with bicycle riding on the sidewalk.  Additionally, riding bikes is specifically prohibited on private property where the owner has posted a sign to that effect(Sec. 8.32.020).  Stay on the street when you’re in Palmdale.

Santa Clarita:

CVC 235 and 240 once again rear “business district” heads in Santa Clarita.  Sidewalk riding is allowed, but with all the restrictions that a “business district” entails.  There are a few other rules as well.  Sec. 12.96.010:

Subject to the provisions of this chapter, bicycles may be ridden on all sidewalks except the following:

A.    A person shall not operate any bicycle in a business district, as defined in Section 235 of the California Vehicle Code, except at a permanent or temporary driveway or at specific locations where the Director finds that such locations are suitable and has placed appropriate signs or markings.

B.    Where designated bicycle lanes exist on adjacent roadways.

C.    The Director may designate and declare certain portions of any sidewalk to be prohibited for bicycle use and shall place appropriate signs or markings.

On top of that, sidewalk riders must go at a speed that is “reasonably prudent” and must yield to all pedestrians.

File this one away in the “specific language” drawer: A bicyclist in Santa Clarita must dismount and walk their bicycle on the sidewalk when passing a blind person, but only when that blind person is using a white cane or is guided by a dog.

San Fernando:

The City of San Fernando has an absolutely enormous municipal code.  While a lot of cities have less than 20 chapters, San Fernando has 106.

Bicycle riding on the sidewalk is allowed in San Fernando, but not in the Central Business District.  Sec. 90-777 says:

No person shall ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk within the central business district, nor shall any person ride upon any other sidewalk within this city that has been posted with signs prohibiting such riding.

Okay, so what constitutes the “central business district”?  Is it like the CVC-defined “business district”?  Well, Sec. 90-676 tells us:

Central business district and/or central traffic district  means all streets and portions of streets within the area described as follows: San Fernando Road and Truman Street between Hubbard Street and the east city limits; Maclay Avenue between Coronel Street and Eighth Street; San Fernando Mission Boulevard between O’Melveny Street and Truman Street; and that area bounded by Truman Street, Kalisher Street, Coronel Street and Chatsworth Drive.

How’s that for specific?


We were having some trouble with their municipal code, so we sought some clarification from David Kriske, the Principal Transportation Planner for the City of Burbank.  You see, no section of Burbank’s municipal code specifically dealt with sidewalks, but David pointed us to Sec. 6-1-2801 (page 92), titled “bicycle paths, trails and bikeways; equestrian, hiking and recreational trails”.  No sidewalks in there, right?  But then looking down the page, we see:

A. No person shall operate any unauthorized motor vehicle on any pedestrian or bicycle facility, including, but not limited to, sidewalks, bicycle paths, bicycle trails, bikeways, equestrian trails, hiking or recreational trails.

Notice how it’s got “sidewalks” hidden in there?  Well, you can run down all the things that aren’t allowed on all of these facilities (which include sidewalks) without finding anything about bicycles.  So, you’re in the clear… probably.

And as a final addendum to this very confusing ordinance, bicyclists in Burbank must also contend with Sec. 6-1-802 (page 23), which prohibits bicycle riding (on sidewalks and streets) in the “Village District”:

Wherever signs are posted giving notice thereof, no person shall operate or ride upon a bicycle,  … within the Village District, or any other area designated by the City.

The Village District consists of all sidewalks, streets or easements maintained by the City within the quadrant which is encompassed by and includes First Street to Third Street and Magnolia Boulevard to Verdugo Avenue.

Hidden Hills:

The City of Hidden Hills has their municipal code in pdf form, so pull out the “search” function on your Adobe Reader.  But besides having language explicitly prohibiting bicycling on horse trails(4-4E-1), there is no clear language which either allows or prohibits sidewalk riding.  We’ll have to create a new category for Hidden Hills, called “No Clear Language in the Municipal Code”.


Though we couldn’t find any specific language in the municipal code of Calabasas, LADOT Bike Blog was able to snatch this nugget from the Calabasas Bicycle Master Plan on page 20:

It is recommended that the City of Calabasas work with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to expand efforts to enforce the vehicle code regulations pertaining to bicycling and use prohibitions (for example citing unlawful use of a bike lanes or use of sidewalks by cyclists) [emphasis added]

Sorry, Calabasas fans.  No sidewalk riding allowed.

Agoura Hills:

Sidewalk riding, again, is prohibited in “business districts”.  Sec. 3206:

(a)   No person shall operate or use any bicycle on a sidewalk, pedestrian walkway, or parking area within a shopping center, shopping district, or business district.

Westlake Village:

Stay in the street when you ride in Westlake Village.  They also adopted the LA County Municipal Traffic Code, and none of their additions or deletions have to do with bicycles.  Sec. 3.2.005:

A.   Except as hereinafter provided, Title 15, Vehicles and Traffic, Division 1, Traffic Code of the Los Angeles County Code as amended and in effect on January 1, 2000, up to and including Ordinance 99-0089, is hereby adopted by reference as the Traffic Ordinance of the City of Westlake Village.


Things are little more complex for Malibu.  They, too, adopted the LA County Municipal Traffic Code (Sec. 10.04.010).  Despite that, they have some extra language that seems to allow some sidewalk riding (Sec. 9.32.070):

When riding upon a sidewalk, persons riding, using, or propelling skateboards, roller skates, rollerblades, or other coaster devices, as otherwise permitted under this chapter, shall obey the following rules of the road:

1.Riders or users shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians whenever and wherever they are encountered; and,

2.Riders or users shall proceed with due care and at a safe speed.

This all, however, hinges on the definition of a “coaster device”.  When looking back in the definitions (Sec. 9.32.010), we see that:

“Coaster device” means any platform of any composition or size to which two or more wheels are attached and which can be ridden or propelled by one or more persons. “Coaster device” does not include wheel chairs, bicycles, or motorized vehicles.

Looks like bikes are out.  No luck.  Stay on the road when you’re in Malibu.

Let’s go to the leaderboard!

Sidewalk Riding is allowed

  • LA City
  • West Hollywood (with extra rules)
  • Burbank (though quite unclear)

Sidewalk Riding is not allowed

  • LA County
  • Inglewood
  • Santa Monica
  • Palmdale
  • Westlake Village
  • Malibu
  • Calabasas

Sidewalk Riding is not allowed in “business districts”, among other rules

  • Glendale
  • Beverly Hills
  • Culver City
  • Agoura Hills
  • San Fernando
  • Santa Clarita
  • Lancaster

No Clear Language in the Municipal Code

  • Hidden Hills

For the next installment of “LA County Sidewalk Riding”, we’ll cover the Westside and South Bay Cities region.  Be safe out there!

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