By far one of the most frequently asked questions I get asked is: Is it legal to ride my bike on the sidewalk? The answer is is both simple and complicated. Don’t you hate that? Aren’t lawyers famous for not giving straight answers? Jeez. Here is the short and simple answer: Yes it is legal in Arizona to ride your bike on a sidewalk, sometimes, well it depends on what city you are in and if it is specifically prohibited by sign or statute. See what I mean? Its both simple and complicated.
To understand how this really works it is important to remember that under the Arizona Revised Statutes, cyclists operating on the roadway or shoulder must follow the same rules that apply to drivers (see A.R.S. 28-812). Yet, sidewalks ARE NOT part of the roadway or shoulder according to our statutes (see A.R.S. 28-601). And even further, drivers of motor vehicles are expressly forbidden from driving on sidewalks (see A.R.S. 28-904). That is the sum total of State Statutes on the topic. In short, there is no Arizona state law that prohibits or even mentions cycling on sidewalks.
HOLD ON – we are not done yet. Even though there is not a state law that prohibits cycling on a sidewalk, it can still be illegal. “How is that possible?” you ask… Our Arizona Revised Statutes specifically grant local municipalities to further regulate the operation of bicycles (see A.R.S. 28-627). “Oh come on!” you may be thinking… and “how am I supposed to know each little city’s local rules?” That is right. It is sort of a bum deal for the cyclist who rides in a metropolitan area such as Maricopa county which is literally covered by 24 cities and towns which in large part all connect. And to make it worse this doesn’t even account for the towns and cities that are in Pinal county that also border and connect to many of the cities in Maricopa county. It is very possible for a cyclist to go for a ride and cross through 4-10 different cities. And in each case they will have their own unique laws. Whats even more problematic, is that the local law enforcement is often mistaken about the local laws and will issue citations in error against the cyclist.
“Real Life” example – a cyclist in the east valley goes for a standard 25-40 mile ride with some friends starting in Gilbert Arizona. The small group rides through sections of Gilbert and up into Mesa Arizona briefly passing through the ASU area of Tempe Arizona before returning back home through Mesa and then into Arizona. Classic route and often traveled. While in Gilbert the cyclist may ride on the sidewalk so long as there isn’t a sign prohibiting it and may even ride in any direction he/she chooses on the sidewalk. When entering Mesa it is very different. In Mesa you may ride your bike on any sidewalk EXCEPT if a sign is posted prohibiting. The main difference is that the City Traffic Engineer is the only one authorized to erect the signs and only in a specific geographic area labeled the Pedestrian Overlay Area (or POA). Thus, when in Mesa Arizona have at on the sidewalks unless you enter the boundaries of the POA at which point you need to be on the lookout for any signs prohibiting the operation of bicycles on the sidewalks. Its good to know this section of Mesa to avoid any unnecessary citations. Then when headed to Tempe Arizona a cyclist may ride on the sidewalk so long as a sign is not erected which bans sidewalk riding – BUT the cyclist may only ride in the direction of traffic when riding on the sidewalk. Then this same cyclist (now firmly accustomed to the Maricopa county “sign” rules of the various local municipalities) drives down to Tucson to hit up Mt. Lemon or ride/race in the national famous El Tour de Tucson. The cyclist leaves his or her hotel and notices no signage prohibiting sidewalk riding, he/she rides via the sidewalk for a short stretch to get to the start of the route and gets immediately busted by the local cops. Why? Because Tucson simply and absolutely prohibits sidewalk riding UNLESS a sign expressly permits it (see Tucson Municipal code section 5-2). Tucson Arizona – backwards from the rest of the state. It gets confusing right? Yes. Best to know and understand every local community’s rules for operating a bicycle if you wish to avoid a citation, or more importantly to avoid any liability when a car hits you and the officer ends up citing you as the cyclist! When a cyclist is cited, even improperly, the insurance companies adamantly deny paying out any coverage for the accidents. It is an incredible process to get citations reversed or dismissed, police reports edited or amended, and insurance adjustors to change their opinion when they think the cyclist is at fault.
How about the even bigger issue that some of you may be asking yourself: “Why wold you ride on the sidewalk anyways?” Great question! I highly recommend that you avoid riding on the sidewalk all together. You are actually far safer to ride in the street with the cars than on the sidewalk! In a 2010 bicycle collision summary report published by the City of Phoenix, it appears that in approximately 70% of the bicycle collisions the cyclist was riding on the sidewalk just before the collision. There have not been these same reports as widely published or produced since 2010. Yet the data seems to remain the same – riding on the sidewalk is far more dangerous than riding appropriately in the streets.
For now, lets just be safe out there on our bikes. Lets be extra cautious as we approach sidewalks, intersections, etc. When deciding to ride on the sidewalk in Arizona I would consult the local municipal codes first to ensure that you are not violating there laws. In Maricopa county you can almost rest easy to know that it is allowed unless there is a sign prohibiting it (with some exceptions of course). Be sure to travel in the right direction and not against the flow of traffic.
Arizona bicycle accident lawyer Ben Dodge
If you, or someone you know were injured in a bicycle accident caused by road debris, hire a personal injury attorney who is experienced and has a successful track record. Ben dodge, a licensed bicycle accident lawyer in Arizona, has dedicated his entire firm to one purpose: representing cyclists. Bicycle accident cases are the only cases Bike Accident Attorneys, PLC handles.
Ben Dodge has represented and assisted bicycle accident victims across the entire united states. As an avid and competitive cyclist himself, Mr. Dodge currently participates in national and local cycling events all over the country. It isn’t uncommon to spot him in early morning hours out riding his bike. The day he fell in love with his job was the day he devoted himself completely to bicycle accident cases.
Ben Dodge is a proud member of Bike Law. Bike Law is a national network of elite like minded bicycle accident attorneys founded in 1998. In concert with the mission of Bike Law, Ben represents cyclists injured in bicycle accidents, at the police station, with insurance companies, and in the courts. He advocates for the rights of all cyclists, not just his clients. He teaches the police about bike laws and bike safety, he educates drivers about the rules of the road, and he trains cyclists and clubs to ride more safely.
A consultation with experienced Arizona bicycle accident attorney Ben Dodge is free
In recent years there has been approximately 700 bicycle fatalities in the united states every single year. Approximately 2,000 bicycle accidents are reported in Arizona every year. approximately 30 fatal bicycle accidents are reported in Arizona every year. Bicycle fatalities are terrible and horrific tragedies that affect the lives of too many families and friends to count. Understanding your rights and obligations as a cyclist can bring clarity to your specific accident situation. It will always be in your best interest to be represented by an attorney who knows the bicycle laws and has a successful track record of winning bicycle accident cases. The negotiation tactics and strategies of winning a case are extremely important but should always take a back row seat to the litigation experience and knowledge of court room rules, local, state, and federal rules of civil procedure that can have significant impact on your bicycle accident case. It is wise to be represented by someone well versed in bicycle accident law, local and state bicycle ordinances, rules, regulations, policies, and laws. You should hire someone very familiar with negligence and tort law, civil procedure, and the rules of evidence as they all relate specifically to bicycle accident cases.
Ben dodge always offers a complimentary in person consultation to all local cyclists and a complimentary phone consultation to any cyclist injured in a bike accident. Typically the consultations are schedule from 30-60 minutes depending on the severity of the accident. You can expect to get answers to questions, clarity, information, and reassurance of your personal bike accident liability and potential for recovery. In your free consultation you can generally expect to discuss such topics as:
- your specific bike accident details, diagrams, and pictures from your perspective and then from the perspective of your bike accident attorney.
- the applicable local, state, and federal laws underlying your case.
- your cyclist’s rights, obligations, and any potential liability.
- the process, procedure (in and out of court), and the time frame required to conclude your case.
- the value of your case and what you might expect as compensation.
You can call Arizona bicycle lawyer Ben Dodge of bike accident attorneys, PLC at 1.855.663.3922 (855.one.ez.call). Mr. Dodge’s staff is standing and ready to accept your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every single day of the year. Ben will personally return your call within 24 hours. there is never an obligation for a complimentary consultation with Mr. dodge. His passion is in representing cyclists and his entire office stands ready to serve with kindness and patience.
Bike Accident Attorneys, PLC
Call Ben Dodge, the Arizona Bicycle Lawyer today at 1.855.663.3922. Reach him by fax at 1.800.958.8902.
Mr. Dodge can also be reached by email at email@example.com
His main Arizona offices are located at:
Mesa Arizona (home base office)
4824 E. Baseline Rd., Suite 124
Mesa, Arizona 85206
Phoenix Arizona office
2415 e. Camelback rd., suite 700
Phoenix, Arizona 85016
Tucson Arizona office
One South Church Avenue, 12th Floor
Tucson, Arizona 85701
Mr. Dodge represents cyclists in the entire state of Arizona including but not limited to mesa, phoenix, tucson, yuma, gilbert, peoria, glendale, scottsdale, ahwatukee, tempe, chandler, prescott, sedona, flagstaff, surprise, kingman, page, lake havasu city, payson, goodyear, buckeye, queen creek, paradise valley, show low, winslow, maricopa, nogales, globe, avondale, cave creek, fountain hills, apache junction, carefree, wickenburg, pinetop-lakeside, strawberry, anthem, safford, and more. Ben Dodge is currently involved with bicycle accident cases all over the country and can assist in representation in all 50 states.