Is It Illegal To Ride A Bike On Sidewalks In Louisville?

Over the last week, there have been a lot of bicycles out on the roads in Louisville. While some of these people are athletes training for different events, many of the cyclists are riding for fun. Riding a bike is enjoyable, but it can be dangerous if you aren't familiar with bicycle laws in Louisville.

Related: Sharing the Road In Kentucky

Is it illegal to ride on the sidewalk in Louisville?
Riding a bike on the sidewalk is against the law and very dangerous in Louisville Metro. Local Louisville regulations apply to the operation of bicycles. This is defined in the local Traffic Code chapter on Bicycles and Motorcycles. The Traffic code states: No person 11 years of age or older shall operate a bicycle on the sidewalks located within the geographical boundary limits of Louisville Metro. This means unless you are a child 10-years-old or younger, your bike is to be ridden on the roadways in Louisville, Kentucky. Not on the sidewalk! If you are caught riding a bike on the sidewalk, and you are older than 10, you could be fined from $6.00 to $50.00.

Why can’t adults ride on the sidewalk?
It could be for the safety of walkers as well as the cyclists. Some of the accidents my clients have told me about had a similar factor. That factor was riding a bike on the sidewalk. As they were riding their bike on the sidewalk, they would continue to travel into the street crosswalk. This is where they were struck by a car. In most situations, a car has no chance of seeing a bicycle entering the street from a sidewalk. This could be because a bicycle moves faster than a pedestrian and the driver may not be expecting to see a cyclists riding on the sidewalk.

Related: Riding A Bike Under The Influence Of Alcohol Is Illegal

Another reason adults can't ride on sidewalks is for the safety of pedestrians. If the sidewalk is crowded with people walking, and the walkers don't see or hear a cyclist approaching, they could move in front of the cyclist. This would cause an accident. Bikes are also bigger and go faster than people walking. If the cyclist is going fast and hits or swerves to avoid a pedestrian, the cyclist could be thrown into road traffic. This would also result in an accident. Bicycles are considered vehicles even though they don't have an engine. Therefore, bicyclists must obey the same laws as vehicles.

As a Kentucky Bicycle Accident Attorney, I want everyone to know the law so you can protect yourself. If you are 11-years-old or older, please ride your bike on the road, in a bike lane if one is available, and follow the rules. If you are between the ages of 11 and 15, it's highly recommended that you have a parent or guardian with you. Also, use appropriate safety equipment such as reflectors and helmets. Protect yourself and know the law. This will make all of us safer and prevent accidents. Don’t wait until after an accident before you start taking bike safety seriously.

Michael Schafer
The Personal Injury Attorney for Louisville and Kentucky
2 Comments
The Traffic code states that: No person 11 years of age or older shall operate a bicycle on the sidewalks located within the geographical boundary limits of Louisville Metro. This means that there is a question of comparative fault under the facts you outlined. It would depend on a lot of factors such as the time of day, speed of the bike, clothes the biker was wearing, etc.
by Mike Schafer November 10, 2014 at 08:54 AM
Lets say a 12 year old was riding his bike on a sidewalk going the opposite direction as a car and the car was turning left into a driveway the side walk crossed, and hit the biker. Would the driver be held liable, or would the biker be at fault.?
by John H November 7, 2014 at 05:47 PM
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