San Jose sidewalk riding ban under discussion (again)

The city of San Jose DOT invites one and all to attend their “Prioritizing Sidewalks for Pedestrians Pilot Project” workshop next Wednesday, September 17, 2014.

Sidewalk rider causing trouble near downtown San Jose California

The state of California authorizes local jurisdictions to regulate bikes on sidewalks. Currently, the city of San Jose does not restrict sidewalk cycling in any way at any location. Downtown San Jose has wonderful, heavily used pedestrian walkways. The situation is improving for cyclists, but cyclist facilities are still lacking for several streets. Because of that any the many one-way couplets through downtown, many people ride on the sidewalk, in the pedestrian plazas and alleys.

I don’t generally recommend sidewalk cycling, but I have been seen doing so in DTSJ.

Because of the scorchers who cycle down busy sidewalks at speed, a number of downtown residents, business owners, and visitors have been calling for a ban on sidewalk riding for a couple of years now. I’ve been hit by these idiots a couple of times so I sympathize, but instead of a ban I’d like to see enforcement action against these idiots who ride too fast, in the same way <SARCASM> SJPD aggressively enforces other traffic laws </SARCASM> like speeding, right-of-way violations, red light running and so forth.

On the agenda for this September 17 meeting: “Evaluation of Initial Measures” — which will be a discussion on the “Walk Your Bike” signs posted earlier; a “Consideration of a Ban on Sidewalk Cycling”; and “Next Steps.”

This meeting takes place next Wednesday (Bike Train Day!) 6 PM to 7 PM at San Jose City Hall in Wing Rooms W118-W120.


  1. The sidewalk rules in Santa Cruz (banning sidewalk riding in front of any business) work fairly well, though they are not enforced outside the downtown core (and rarely there). As both a pedestrian and a cyclist, I support sidewalk bicycling bans—as a cyclist you are actually less like to be hit by a car if you cycle in the street than on the sidewalk, and as a pedestrian I resent people shouting or ringing their bell because they want to zoom through an area dedicated for pedestrians.

    I would make an exception for children under then age of 12 cycling at speeds under 10 mph.

  2. Ocean Shores did NOT put in any minimum age when it banned sidewalk riding, so kids with training wheels are subject to ticketing. Worse, is they direct their bike lanes ON to sidewalks.

  3. Reckless sidewalk riding is already enforceable using California Vehicle Code section 22350. DOT admits this but says 22350 is “difficult to enforce in San Jose because of limited resources and other public safety priorities”. Then they say that they have secured a commitment from SJPD to enforce the new ordinance. So they have resources and commitment to enforce the new rule, but not the old one which directly addresses the safety issue?

    Think why this might be. The answer is in the picture above. There are a few different categories of sidewalks riders. One are the homeless guys with loaded down bikes and substance abuse problems, who are often in no condition to be on the road and prefer to putter around on the sidewalk. Another group are the young guys who grew up in the east San Jose burbs riding on the sidewalk (for obvious reasons) and that’s what they are used to. They are puttering around the sidewalks just to hang out. The current CVC 22350 does not apply to them, but a new rule which would ban slow riding also would. What the new ordinance is really about is adding a new tool to the harassment toolbox in order to purge the downtown sidewalks of these slow moving undesirables and gentrify the area. Who is going to be easier to ticket, the guys just hanging out on the sidewalk like sitting ducks, or the fixed gear riders zooming through.

    If you don’t like this ordinance for whatever reason (maybe you don’t want to be harassed while trying to park your bike at a sidewalk rack), then my suggestion is to clue the homeless advocates in to what is really going on. Those guys are hard core.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.