Pedestrians and Bike Lanes


Alex asked:  What do the statutes say about cyclists and pedestrians, particularly when a pedestrian enters a designated bicycle lane?  What does it say when both are using a paved shoulder?


Bicycle lanes are part of the roadway and are intended for the exclusive use by bicyclists.  Pedestrians are to use the shoulder and not the roadway, which is intended for use by vehicles.

Paved shoulders that are not marked as bike lanes can be used by both pedestrians and bicyclists.

There are many posts with all the applicable laws on this site that discuss bike lanes, paved shoulders and pedestrians use of same.  Click on those subjects in the tag cloud.

9 Comments on “Pedestrians and Bike Lanes

  1. What if there’s nowhere else for the pedestrian to walk, such as a bridge where the shoulder has been marked as a bike lane?

  2. The statute does not say pedestrians must walk only on the shoulder. Hence my comment in the referenced link about the use of the term “when practicable”.
    “(4) Where sidewalks are not provided, any pedestrian walking along and upon a highway shall, when practicable, walk only on the shoulder”
    It is not practicable to use a shoulder if none exists. Since the statutes are not specific, and assuming there are no signs posted, you will have to make your own interpretation.
    I suggest you contact your local authorities and ask that they correct the problem.

    • Different road users can have different opinions about whether pedestrian use of shoulder at a location without paved sidewalks is “practicable”.

      In one city, bike lanes are marked (designated) on some 2-lane roads (in residential neighborhoods) that collect and distribute traffic to local side streets. No sidewalks are paved on the flush shoulders. Adjacent residents maintain lawns that extend to the edge of pavement (stormwater drains in shallow ditches on the shoulders). An “able-bodied” pedestrian could presumably walk or run on the grassy shoulder–but would need to detour around the mailbox at each driveway (US mail carrier uses the bike lane to deliver mail) and around the trash/recycling carts left out on driveways in the shoulder path. Any “FOR SALE” signs are typically planted on the shoulder, and it is also used for plantings of shrubbery by a few residents. A pedestrian traveling on the shoulder would also need to take care to avoid tripping on driveway edges.

      Under such conditions, pedestrians sometimes deem shoulder use “impracticable”–or, at least, impractical–and use the bike lanes.

  3. If both a sidewalk and a bike lane are available ,are bikes allowed on the sidewalk or MUST they ride in the bike lane?
    thank you
    George M Mancini

  4. There is no state regulation prohibiting cyclists from using a sidewalk, whether there is a bike lane or not. There is no state requirement to use a bike lane or any part of the roadway instead of a sidewalk. There may be a local ordinance stating that cyclists are not permitted to use a sidewalk. The presence of a bike lane does not have any effect. It is only a part of the roadway.
    Please see:

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