I go to school at Lafayette, CA. Can't find the local laws here, but people sometimes shout at me to get off my bike on the crosswalk. Even though many other students ride over the cross, I'm wondering if I should not. There seems to be no problem with it, usually there aren't many people around.

EDIT: Usually I bike on the sidewalk, but started using the bike lane. There's traffic with little space for bicyclists a lot of the times, so I usually turn onto the sidewalk again. When there's a green light on the right-most lane, other bikers/pedestrians cross (move parallel with the traffic), so I follow since the direction is with traffic. I usually take this into account when biking on the sidewalk, so that I wouldn't have to stop to push the signal button. It looks like there's two paths for bicyclists to take: the bike lane when the light signal is green for cars, and the crosswalk, where bikers should disembark and walk with pedestrians, also when the traffic light is green? If so, can I ride on the sidewalk (allowed in Lafayette) and switch onto the road when the traffic light is go?

  • why are you on the crosswalk? since you ask specifically about the crosswalk, I don't assume you ride on the sidewalk?
    – njzk2
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 17:42
  • I hope you don't mind: you say you're not an adult and that you sometimes/usually bike on the sidewalk, so I added the children tag to try to make the question clearer.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 23:03
  • You should avoid switching back and forth. It has a tendency to confuse and anger already stupid and belligerent motorists. If both are legal, it's best to pick one and stick with it as much as possible. Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 0:04
  • If there is a bike lane, get enough people with you and TAKE that bike lane, and often enough that those drivers learn. (But I have to admit that one cyclist every few minutes may not do that for American drivers.)
    – Willeke
    Commented Apr 11, 2023 at 10:23

3 Answers 3


Here is a good reference for California's bicycle laws. Lafayette's laws are here.

I found nothing prohibiting riding on sidewalks, and nothing specifically mentioning riding in the direction of the crosswalk. However both the state and city codes require bicyclists to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.

  • "yield" has a specific legal meaning of give-way to pedestrians. Good find!
    – Criggie
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 23:14
  • 1
    Almost universally across the US it is suggested as "bicycle safety" that cyclists should walk their bikes in crosswalks. It is required (by law) in very very few areas. However, I find that almost universally ignorant motorists believe it is a law. These are the same motorists who will fail to yield right of way when you are crossing on a green and they are making right, however. Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 0:02
  • 3
    Amusingly it's illegal here in Oz to ride across a pedestrian crossing but they're regularly placed on "bike paths" with the clear design intent that cyclists ride on them. And on any shared path everyone should give way, that's just polite.
    – Móż
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 0:36

I generally get off the bike: if I want to walk on the side-walk, or if I want to use a pedestrian cross-walk to cross an intersection.

Four reasons:

  • Be able to stop at a moment's notice (for a pedestrian) without falling over
  • Don't travel faster than a pedestrian (cars and pedestrians are expecting everything to move and to arrive at walking speed)
  • Legally required (illegal not to) in some places (e.g. in Ontario)
  • Polite

If I'm on the bike then I behave like a vehicle (i.e. I cross the intersection like a vehicle should, using a traffic lane not using a cross-pedestrian cross-walk).

  • Yeah, I would bike on the traffic lane if I were bigger and an adult to understand the law for vehicles.
    – Roman
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 22:46

In Lithuania, a bicycle is an equal rights vehicle and as such is not permitted to use the crosswalk same way the pedestrians do. A cyclist must dismount that converts him to pedestrian.

The rationale is that a cyclist is much faster than a walker so the car driver may be unable to spot the approaching bicycle in time and give the expected priority.

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