by Ray Thomas
Ray Thomas is a Portland bike lawyer.
We have been asked by readers over the years to assemble a reference guide
for laws in various cities around Oregon that regulate bicycle riding
on sidewalks. The law is clear that bicycle riders may ride their
bikes on any public road and sidewalk where not prohibited. A number
of cities in Oregon prohibit bicycle riding in on the sidewalk in
urban core areas. Sometimes these areas are not well marked; and
enforcement of the law is sometimes spotty. But it is important
to know where you stand (or sit) with the law, and we have contacted
a number of communities to find out their positions on bicycles
on sidewalks. Clip this article for your riding file and it may
save you a ticket if you think to look at it before you venture
onto the sidewalk in an unfamiliar area.
If you are cited for riding on the sidewalk, consider appearing
in court or writing a letter to the court explaining, if you have
a good reason, why you were on the sidewalk in the first place.
If you are cited in a city where the ordinance is not posted, impress
on the court that, unlike Corvallis, where bicyclists are warned
of the prohibition with signs, the city is not even warning bicyclists
that riding on the sidewalk might result in what is to you, an extraordinarily
large fine. Even if you were riding illegally on the sidewalk when
cited, if you appear in traffic court and explain why is that you
felt you had no safe alternative but to ride on the sidewalk, the
judge may reduce your fine.
For now, if you ride your bicycle on the sidewalk – and that
is your right anywhere in the state where doing so is not prohibited
by ordinance – you need to know and obey the laws, and, if
cited, be ready to pay the fine or argue in traffic court why you
were riding on the sidewalk, and why your choice was reasonable
The following is the City Ordinance language for most major cities
|§ 11.52.030: No person shall ride
or operate a bicycle on a sidewalk in the central business
district or commercial zone.
Maximum Fine Not to Exceed $500.00
Upon conviction, the court may, in addition to any other
|§ 6.02.410: Prohibits riding upon a sidewalk
where official signs prohibit bicycle riding.
Fine Not to Exceed $50.00
|§ 6.325: Prohibits riding a bicycle on a sidewalk
in any business district, except along an unimproved street
or underpass. However, in a business district, bicycles may
be ridden on sidewalks to deliver newspapers and messages
and to make other deliveries.
§ 6.910 Prohibited Riding Area:
Beginning at the southwest end of the 1200 block of Wall Street,
Amount Set By Judge
|§ 6.10.060.100 Riding on Sidewalk. (2) No
person, except a Police Officer in the performance of his/her
official duties, shall ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk within
the following boundary, including any and all adjacent sidewalks:
The northerly side of NW Jackson Avenue between NW Fifth
Bail is $77.00
|§ 5.400 Operating Rules. (1) No person may
ride a bicycle on a sidewalk in that area bounded by the outer
limits of Charnelton Street on the west, 6th Avenue on the
north, Pearl Street on the east, and 11th Avenue on the south.
Violation Not to Exceed $50.00
In addition to or in lieu of a penalty for a bicycle violation,
|§ 8.55.070 Misuse of a Bicycle. Rides a bicycle
upon a sidewalk within the city, except for law enforcement
officers in the performance of their duties.
If accident involved, fine increases to $235.00
|§ 10.28.100 Operation on sidewalks. Bicycles
and skateboards may be operated on sidewalks within the corporate
limits of the city excepting those sidewalks enumerated in
subsection (A) of this section, and under conditions enumerated
in subsections (B) and (C) of this section.
A. No person shall ride or operate any bicycle or skateboard
B. Bicycles and skateboards ridden on sidewalks permitted
C. Any person riding or operating a bicycle or skateboard
|§ 10.36.080 Riding–On Sidewalks. No
person shall ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk in the business
district bounded on the west by Adams Street, on the east
by Irvine, on the north by 5th Street and on the south by
1st Street. (Ord. 3629 §35(2), 1972).
|98-2500 Section 4. Prohibited Riding. No person shall
engage in a riding activity in an area designated as a Prohibited
Riding Area, as defined in Section 3(a).
Section 3(a) Riding as described in Section 1 is prohibited
Maximum Fine is $500.00
|§ 16.70.320 Operating Rules. (Amended by Ord.
No. 165594, July 8, 1992.) No person may:
E. Ride a bicycle on a sidewalk, unless avoiding a traffic
1. On sidewalks designated as bike lanes or paths;
2. On the ramps or approaches to any Willamette River Bridge;
3. In the area bounded by the west property line of SW Ninth
4. For police or special officers operating a bicycle in
5. For employees of the Association for Portland Progress
Maximum Fine is $500.00
|§ 8.02.140 Regulations relating to recreational-type
or toy vehicles.
A. Roller Skates, In-Line Skates, Skateboards, Bicycles and
2. Excepting Police Officers and Police Explorers operating
Bounded on the north by Douglas Avenue on the South by Lane
Fine Not to Exceed $1,500.00
May also impound for a period not to exceed twenty days.
|§ 101.100 Riding Bicycles On Sidewalks. (a)
It shall be unlawful to ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk within
that area bounded by and including Front Street on the west,
save and except the bridges, Cottage Street on the east, Union
Street on the north, and Trade Street on the south; provided
this subsection shall not apply to three-wheeled bicycles
being ridden by a handicapped or elderly person.
|§ 10.36.100 Riding–On Certain Sidewalks
Prohibited. No person shall ride or operate any wheeled vehicle,
except wheelchairs, on any sidewalk adjacent and parallel
to SW Main Street; and provided further, that any person riding
any wheeled vehicle, excepting wheelchairs, on any sidewalk
in the city shall at all times yield the right-of-way to pedestrians
using such sidewalk.
5 days in City Jail or a fine not to exceed ten dollars,
|§ 10.24.010 Bicycles –General Requirements.
B. It shall be unlawful for the owner or operator of any bicycle
to ride or park the same upon any sidewalk or path constructed
for the use of and commonly used by pedestrians within the
corporate limits of the city.
Fine Not to Exceed $75.00
|§ 6.155 Bicycle Operating Rules. 1. Not ride
upon a sidewalk within a business district.
Class A Infraction – Maximum Fine $500.00
|§ 5.100 Bicycles – Operating Rules. (2) Not
ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk within areas as are from time
to time established by the City Council.
No set fine
If you do not see your city in this list, contact your local city
attorney or police department.