This happened today in L.A. county in los angeles (just outside culver city). I was walking my bicycle down the sidewalk on the left side of the road, saw the green light and white pedestrian icon. I hopped on, and proceeded to bike down the crosswalk slowly. A man was stopped at the red light looking left for about five seconds. I assumed he was waiting since he probably saw the pedestrians behind me and the white light. He turned right without looking right and collided with me. My bike slammed against the road, and my leg twisted a bit. I had some scrapes and scratches but I didn't land on my head. I got his information and a couple of people saw it.

He apologized, and admitted that he didn't look before turning on red.

I read online that it's illegal to cycle through a crosswalk at an intersection, and that it also wasn't illegal. (so which is it?)

My bike has some damages and i want to get my foot checked out, but what is exactly is the law in this case? I was walking and then once it was green with the pedestrian icon, i hopped on and cycled.


  • One reason for the rules about cyclists in crosswalks is that a cycle can "pop out" of nowhere rather quickly. Even going slowly a bicycle is traveling at 2-3 times the speed of a typical pedestrian. And, while the pedestrian typically stands at the very edge of the street, the cyclist typically would be several feet back while waiting. So the motorist can very easily be unaware of a cyclist until he's almost literally on top of him. Question: Why did you not see the motorist about to turn and wait to see what he was going to do? Jul 7, 2015 at 14:53

3 Answers 3


I don't know the specific laws in CA for riding in a crosswalk, but here in AZ (both CA and AZ are in the USA) it is actually ambiguous. While on a bicycle, you become not a pedestrian, which in AZ means that you aren't afforded the legal protections of a pedestrian, which means that in cases like yours there is no legal recourse.

However, riding a bicycle on a sidewalk here in AZ is illegal, and for good reason.

Section 275 of the CA motor vehicle code states that the crosswalk is an extension of the sidewalk, so if riding on the sidewalk is legal where you live, then you had the right of way.

After looking around, it appears that CA has a hodge podge of local ordinances pertaining to the legality of riding on the sidewalk.

Culver city ordinance §7.04.250 RIDING ON SIDEWALKS. states

A. No person shall ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk within any business district or upon the sidewalk adjacent to any public school building, church, recreation center or playground or upon a walkway specifically designated by resolution of the City Council as closed to all vehicular or bicycle traffic. B. Whenever any person is riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk such person shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and when overtaking and passing a pedestrian, after giving an audible signal, shall at all times pass to the left of such pedestrian.

while the ordinance for LA county, §15.76.080 Driving or riding vehicles on sidewalk. states

A person shall not operate any bicycle or any vehicle or ride any animal on any sidewalk or parkway except at a permanent or temporary driveway or at specific locations thereon where the commissioner finds that such locations are suitable for, and has placed appropriate signs and/or markings permitting such operation or riding.

and for the City of Los Angeles SEC. 56.15. BICYCLE RIDING – SIDEWALKS. states

  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.)

    1. 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.)

    2. 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.

    3. For the purposes of this section motorized bicycles as defined by Section 406 of the California Vehicle Code shall be included within the terms “motor vehicle” as defined in Section 415 of the Vehicle Code and as used in Section 21663 of the Vehicle Code.

So it appears that it depends...

  • 1
    It does depend, and technically after calling the culver city PD they told me i was in the City of Los Angeles, so I believe it was technically legal for me to cross the crosswalk on the bike, although I will not do it again, even though it was at a very low speed.
    – Barry
    Jul 7, 2015 at 4:14
  • @Barry That may be wise, I think. A lot of the danger I see cyclists in while I'm driving is that they use their privileged ability to become a vehicle or a pedestrian at will, when it suits them. As a biker, I see this as a convenience that allows me to keep pace. This is, obviously, dangerous to both parties. Vehicles can't read your mind. Jul 8, 2015 at 20:33
  • It seems that the case is that if you're allowed to ride on the sidewalk, you're allowed to ride on the crosswalk. Both are bad ideas in general though.
    – Carl
    Jul 10, 2015 at 0:40

Here in Norcal (probably the whole California), it is illegal to cycle through pedestrian crosswalk when the go lights up. You have to get out the bike and walk through the crosswalk.

This is the truth because one day I was at a gas station and a motorbike cop was also in the gas station surveillance the area. Then I saw a guy in the signal light crosswalk waiting the go light. When the go light went on, he got on the bike and just about to cycle through the crosswalk, the cop yelled at him saying you have to get down and walk the bike. The guy couldn't heard the cop very well and he still cycled through the crosswalk. Then, the cop just drove to the scene and caught him and gave him a ticket.

Also, when the go light is on all vehicles have to yield whoever is crossing the crosswalk. The vehicles can't drive when the pedestrian is right in the middle of crosswalk. Pedestrian always have the right away.


I think some clarification may be required here. The question looks like it pertains to a crosswalk, not a sidewalk. In the crosswalk I believe the bicyclists has the right-of-way. If the light was green for the crosswalk, then the burden is on the motorists to yield to you. This presumes you didn't pop into the crosswalk on the bike with some type of speed, surprising the motorist. But in general in such situations I try to make eye contact with the motorist before crossing, as this has almost happened to me as well.

  • That is why I put down section 275 for CA, it states that the crosswalk is an extension of the sidewalk, so the crosswalk law depends on the local sidewalk ordinances.
    – daaxix
    Jul 7, 2015 at 23:03

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