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!

0 replies
  1. NickelDime
    NickelDime says:

    We cyclists are the bastard stepchildren of the transit world.

    Drivers hate us and run us off the road for our relative slowness.
    Pedestrians despise us for our speed.
    Cities rarely accommodate us despite the fact that we ease traffic and pollution.
    Businesses rarely cater to us with bike racks, favoring bulky parking lots instead.

    We are constantly seeking safe, defined pavement just to get from A to B.

    How such an efficient, green, healthy mode of transportation is so despised is beyond comprehension.

  2. bikerdude
    bikerdude says:

    Who says the government doesn’t think about bikes…look at all these rules on riding your bike on the sidewalks.
    You are a dedicated blogger looking up these policies/rules for our use.

  3. M
    M says:

    Why are most bike racks still on sidewalks if you can’t actually bike on sidewalks in so many places? When have you seen a car driver being asked to push their car into the parking garage and into place? Wouldn’t it logically follow that if the bike rack is on the sidewalk, you can bike to/from the bike rack? There’s also the problem of triggering lights. In some locations I seem to be completely unable to trigger traffic signals while on a bike, so I have to press the pedestrian crossing button. But, in some of those same places I’m not allowed to bike on the sidewalk. So am I going to be treated as a car or a pedestrian?

    This is also extremely difficult to keep in mind since it’s not obvious where all the boundaries of these places begin and end. I’m constantly bouncing from one of these “regions” to another without knowing clearly when I’m in one place vs. another.

    • ladotbikeblog
      ladotbikeblog says:

      All loop detectors in the City of Los Angeles are supposed to pick up the pressure of a bicycle tire. If you come across one that isn’t working properly, please let us know.

      In regards to on-street parking, LA City Council has approved a pilot project for a bike corral at Cafe de Leche in Eagle Rock. The council office is working with the owners to get them through the permit process and Bikeways is waiting on the owner to submit their plans for the corral.

      We agree that it is difficult to keep in mind city boundaries and which cities have what rules. It’s one of the reason we wanted to put this series together.

      • M
        M says:

        In some of the places I bike, there are no “loop detectors” on one side of the intersection, while there is one on the other. So if I’m moving east I see them, but not if I’m moving west through the same intersection. In other places there are so many overlapping loop detectors visible there is no way I can know which one or ones are currently active. Is there a way to look at them and know?

        • ladotbikeblog
          ladotbikeblog says:

          Just wanted to give you a little information regarding loop detectors. Some reasons one direction of the street may have “loops” while the other side does not have “loops” is simple geography. One side of the street is contained within the boundary of the City of Los Angeles while the other street is outside the City of Los Angeles jurisdiction. If you could send specific intersection we can try to find out what is going on. Could you send us a picture about the overlapping “loops” to our gmail account?

      • Barry
        Barry says:

        You don’t specifically mention Van Nuys in the Valley….is it part of the unincorporated part of LA County that prohibts sidewalk riding? Thanks for your response and all of your efforts.

        • ladotbikeblog
          ladotbikeblog says:


          Van Nuys is one of those neighborhoods that is actually part of the City of Los Angeles, much like Venice or San Pedro. As such, riding your bike on the sidewalk is legal as long as it isn’t done in an unsafe manner.

          Thanks for your interest!

  4. Dennis Hindman
    Dennis Hindman says:

    I’ve got two loop detectors that are not changing the light signal when my bike is directly on it. The left turn only lane heading south on Topanga Canyon Blvd at the Vanowen St intersection (I violate several laws to get past that one). The bicycle only loop detector heading east on Chandler Blvd at the Tujunga ave intersection (that has never worked to the best of my knowledge)

    • ladotbikeblog
      ladotbikeblog says:

      Thanks Dennis.

      The process is a little haphazard right now, but we may try to create a standard procedure for reporting malfunctioning loop detectors in the near future. They’re one of those little quality-of-life issues that can make bicycling so much more enjoyable and practical.

  5. Pierre Cadieux
    Pierre Cadieux says:

    Quick clarification question. If I am riding my bike safely on the sidewalk in the City of L.A. what is the protocol for crossing a street at an intersection? If I am allowed to ride on the street am I also allowed to use the pedestrian crossing (the green light/green walking sign?) or should I be exiting the sidewalk and cross on the street?

    Thanks, very glad to see this blog and the positive interest in biking here in L.A.

    • JoJo Pewsawang
      JoJo Pewsawang says:

      Hey Pierre,

      We are currently working with LAPD and the City Attorney to more clearly define the legality/illegality of biking through a crosswalk to cross an intersection. Biking with traffic might be okay, against traffic probably not. Thanks very much for reading and commenting.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] 31, 2010 by ladotbikeblog So far we’ve covered LA and environs, the Valley, the South Bay communities, and the Harbor Corridor. Today, we’re tackling sidewalk riding […]

  2. […] So far, LADOT Bike Blog has covered the rules for sidewalk riding in LA, the County, the Valley, north county, west county, and the beach/beach-adjacent towns of the south bay.  Today, LADOT Bike Blog will cover the […]

  3. […] 17, 2010 by ladotbikeblog So we’ve covered mid-town as well as the Valley, north county and west county. Today we’re taking a stroll down the boardwalk: the beach towns of the Westside and the […]

  4. […] LADOT Bike Blog continues its excellent examination of local sidewalk riding ordinances; maybe they’ll go south of the Orange Curtain and take a look […]

  5. […] LA Department of Transportation blog takes a look at bicycling-on-sidewalk rules throughout the County of LA, including the SCV. My advice? Stay off the sidewalks, they are really quite dangerous LADOT […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *