The disadvantage that bicyclists face when involved in accidents with cars is apparent, yet some might argue that pedestrians face similar peril if and when they are involved in collisions with bicycles when walking on Pomona’s sidewalks. Bicyclists are afforded the same privileges as motorists on the roadway, which may prompt some to claim that to ensure the safety of pedestrians, they should be limited to riding their bikes on the road. This, however, could increase the risk that bicyclists face from cars. An interpretation of the law is required, then, to come to a satisfactory conclusion to this debate.
California state law does not specifically address the operation of bicycles on sidewalks. Section 21206 of the state’s Vehicle Code does, however, empower local municipalities to enact their own regulations concerning this matter. Thus, those wanting to know if they are legally allowed to ride their bike on the sidewalk in Pomona must turn to the city’s municipal code.
Section 58-602 of the Pomona Municipal Code does indeed ban certain self-propelled transportation devices from being used on sidewalks when their operation could endanger pedestrians. Yet the law specifically defines these devices as:
As bicycles are not mentioned, one might argue that they are not subject to this ordinance.
Still, this does not necessarily absolve bicyclists from needing to take precautions in order to avoid collisions with pedestrians on the sidewalk. Yet as long as they do not ride their bikes at high speeds or in ways that demonstrate an indifference to the safety of those around them, then they might avoid automatically being assigned liability if and when they are involved in an accident with a pedestrian.