Can I Ride a Bicycle on Sidewalks: Features and Prohibitions

With the arrival of warm weather the number of cyclists on the roads is increasing noticeably. Unfortunately, not all of them have the slightest idea about the traffic rules. But they are the same participants in the road and must comply with them, so as not to create accidents on the roads and not to put themselves, other drivers and pedestrians at risk.

Ask anyone, “Is it okay to ride a bicycle on sidewalks?” It would seem that there is nothing complicated or confusing about this question. In fact, it’s not as simple as it might seem at first glance. The fact is that the rules of the road clearly spelled out in which cases the cyclist has the right to move on sidewalks. There are also provisions in the official document that clearly indicate the opposite. So you need to break down all the situations to find out when bicyclists are allowed to ride on the sidewalk and when they are not.

A bicycle is a vehicle

According to the rules of the road, a bicycle is a vehicle, which means that all of the points in the rules of the road that apply to vehicles also apply to bikes. In 2020, there is an innovation according to which bicycles can be equipped with electric motors of small power (up to 0.25 kW). Speaking about the traffic regulations for cyclists, it is impossible not to specify who is a pedestrian. According to the official document, a pedestrian is a person moving outside of a vehicle. From this follows a very interesting conclusion:

  1. A person riding a bicycle is a driver.
  2. A person driving a bicycle is a pedestrian.

A cyclist can become a pedestrian at any moment, and then a second later become a driver again. And this means that he must comply with all traffic rules for drivers of vehicles, that is, on the roadway to move in the general flow, adhering to the average speed of the car. If there is no such a possibility, welcome to specially designated places where cyclists can move freely. But there are nuances here as well.

Read also The benefits of cycling – rules while riding, tips

In what situations is it allowed for a cyclist to ride on sidewalks

cyclist riding on the pavement

We need to clarify the age at which it is allowed to ride a bike. According to the same traffic rules, persons under the age of 14 can ride in specially equipped areas for riding, accompanied by an adult or in places where there are no cars. Persons over 14 years of age may ride a bicycle:

  • On special bicycle lanes;
  • In the rightmost lane;
  • On the side of the road;
  • On the sidewalk.

This list should be oriented from the bottom up, as follows:

  1. No bicycle lane – ride in the rightmost lane.
  2. Can’t go in the far right lane – go by the curb.
  3. Can’t ride on the curb – have to ride on the sidewalk.

There are some exceptions to these rules. So, if a cyclist carries a load with dimensions exceeding 100 cm on at least one side, you can ride on the road. This also applies to group members, who can also ride with the general flow of cars.

It is worth noting that bicycle traffic is gaining momentum, and now almost every major city has specially marked lanes on which cyclists can move freely.

In what situations riding on the sidewalk is prohibited


Based on the situations described above, it follows that a cyclist has no right to ride on the sidewalk if it is possible to ride on special bicycle lanes, the curb or the rightmost lane. There are other prohibitions that apply not so much to riding on the sidewalk, but to behavior on the road in general. For example, a bicyclist is prohibited from carrying another passenger without a special seat, operating a vehicle while intoxicated, riding without arms, towing carts and other bicycles.

There is an opinion that a bicyclist is required to wear a helmet and other protection. That’s a misconception: no one will write you a ticket for not wearing equipment. But there are other situations where a monetary penalty would be appropriate.


cyclist fine

The amount of penalties from cyclists ranges from 800 to 1500 rubles. Punish cyclists with the ruble for non-compliance with traffic rules and the creation of emergency situations on the roads. In fact, these are all situations where the cyclist elementary violations of traffic rules. Drunk driving, ignoring traffic signs, improperly crossing the road, lack of reflective elements, transporting a passenger, etc.

Read also Rights and Duties of Cyclists


A cyclist can ride freely on the sidewalk, even if it is possible to move on the side of the road: it is unlikely to write a fine for this. Nevertheless, it is important to know the traffic rules at least in order to be able to defend your rights in any situation. In addition, it is necessary to move on the sidewalk extremely carefully. Remember that on this part of the road there are pedestrians, mothers with strollers, elderly people and extremely inattentive children. Therefore, when driving on the sidewalk, try to reduce speed as much as possible to avoid trouble.

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Comments: 1
  1. Jeffery Green

    Great post! It is important to always consider safety when riding a bike, and this article is really helpful in understanding the legal rules regarding biking on sidewalks. Thanks for sharing this valuable information!

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