Guide to Laws for Bicycle Riders in the Los Angeles area

Cycling

Most laws related to riding a bicycle are made at the state level. See our Guide to Laws for Cyclists in California.

City of Los Angeles

Am I allowed to ride my bike on the sidewalk in the city of Los Angeles?

Yes, as long as you don’t willfully disregard the safety of others or their property.

Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 56.15:

(Amended by Ord. No. 148,990, Eff. 12/17/76.)

1. No person shall ride, operate or use a bicycle, unicycle, skateboard, cart, wagon, wheelchair, rollerskates, or any other device moved exclusively by human power, on a sidewalk, bikeway or boardwalk in a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. (Amended by Ord. No. 166,189, Eff. 10/7/90.)

2. No person shall ride, operate or use a bicycle or unicycle on Ocean Front Walk between Marine Street and Via Marina within the City of Los Angeles, except that bicycle or unicycle riding shall be permitted along the bicycle path adjacent to Ocean Front Walk between Marine Street and Washington Boulevard. (Amended by Ord. No. 153,474, Eff. 4/12/80.)

3. No person shall operate on a beach bicycle path, or on an area of a beach which is set aside for bicycle or unicycle use, any bicycle or tricycle which provides for side-by-side seating thereon or which has affixed thereto any attachment or appendage which protrudes from the side of the bicycle or tricycle and is used or designed to carry another person or persons thereon.

Santa Monica

Am I allowed to ride my bike on the sidewalk in Santa Monica?

No, it is NOT legal to ride a bike on the sidewalk in Santa Monica.1Santa Monica Municipal Code Sec 3.12.600

Santa Monica Municipal Code Sec 3.12.600(c) Public Sidewalks. It shall be unlawful to ride or operate a bicycle, electric bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electrically motorized board, low-speed vehicle, motorized scooter, or other vehicle upon any public sidewalk.

Is it illegal to ride a single seat bike with two people in Santa Monica?

Yes.

Santa Monica Municipal Code Sec 3.12.600(g) Reckless Riding or Operating. It shall be unlawful to ride or operate a bicycle, electric bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electrically motorized board, low-speed vehicle, motorized scooter, or other vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. Reckless and unlawful operating includes carrying any other person upon the bar, handle bars, floorboard or other area of a bicycle, electric bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electrically motorized board, low-speed vehicle, motorized scooter, or other vehicle not designed for passenger riding or designed for a single person, and reckless and unlawful riding includes riding in any such a manner. Reckless and unlawful operating also includes clinging to or attaching oneself or one’s motorized or non-motorized wheeled device to any moving vehicle or motorized or non-motorized wheeled device.

Unincorporated Los Angeles County

Is it legal to ride a bike on the sidewalk in unincorporated Los Angeles County?

Yes, as of June 2023, it is legal to ride your bike on the sidewalk throughout unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.

Los Angeles County Municipal Code Sec 15.76.082 Bicycle Riding on Sidewalk–Prohibited When. Bicycles may be ridden on any sidewalk except in locations where a sign is posted indicating that bicycle riding is prohibited thereon.

15.76.084 Bicycle Riding on Sidewalk–Signs Specifying When Prohibited. Whenever the Board finds that any portion of a sidewalk maintained or operated for the public by the County is not suitable for bicycle riding based upon concerns for the protection of the public, the commissioner shall erect and maintain adequate signs along such portion of the sidewalk, specifying the prohibition of bicycle riding.

15.76.086 Bicycle Riding on Sidewalk–Exceptions to Compliance With Signs Prohibiting. County of Los Angeles employees who are acting within the course and scope of their employment may ride bicycles on sidewalks where signs are posted prohibiting bicycle riding on sidewalks pursuant to Section15.76.084, in a manner that is consistent with Section15.76.089. This includes, without limitation, peace officers, emergency medical personnel, and parking enforcement officers.

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