Boy bicycling on sidewalk 02In many municipalities in LA County, sidewalk riding is illegal. Keeping this all straight could be complicated, but LADOT Bike Blog seeks to figure this all out. Source: The Alliance for Biking and Walking/Flickr

Chris, the head blogger at LADOT's Bike Blog, has launched a multi-part series on sidewalk riding. Kudos to the intern, who is delving into municipal code to parse which municipalities permit sidewalk riding and which do not. I was particularly impressed by the work he did to figure out what is up in Beverly Hills:

Beverly Hills: Beverly Hills scattered their sidewalk riding regulations all over their municipal codeSec. 5-5-8 says:

E. The operator of a bicycle shall not ride on the public sidewalk in any business district as prohibited by section 5-6-801 of this title;

So we flip to Sec. 5-6-801, which says:

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to operate, ride, or propel any bicycle, skateboard, roller skates or similar type device on the sidewalk in any business district. For purposes of this section, “business district” shall be defined as designated in section 235 of the state Vehicle Code

So then we have to look up section 235 of the California Vehicle Code(CVC), which says:

235.  A “business district” is that portion of a highway and the property contiguous thereto (a) upon one side of which highway, for a distance of 600 feet, 50 percent or more of the contiguous property fronting thereon is occupied by buildings in use for business, or (b) upon both sides of which highway, collectively, for a distance of 300 feet, 50 percent or more of the contiguous property fronting thereon is so occupied. A business district may be longer than the distances specified in this section if the above ratio of buildings in use for business to the length of the highway exists.

Okay, so no sidewalk riding where 50% of the buildings are businesses.  But! There’s more.  “Business district” is further defined through Sec. 240 of the CVC, which says:

All churches, apartments, hotels, multiple dwelling houses, clubs, and public buildings, other than schools, shall be deemed to be business structures.

This makes sidewalk riding somewhat impractical anywhere other than single family home subdivisions.  With all the types of buildings considered part of a “business district”, it’s hard to know when you are (and when you aren’t) in an area that allows sidewalk riding.  Play it safe and stay on the street.