It’s no secret that pedestrians and businesses don’t like e-scooters on their sidewalks. Many people have complained these e-scooters pose a significant public safety threat, especially for the visually impaired. But does that mean it’s illegal for Californians to scoot on sidewalks?
In brief, California forbids residents from using e-scooters on sidewalks. CVC §21235 clearly lists sidewalks as a “no-go” area for e-scooters. The only exception to this rule is when riders must “enter or leave adjacent property.” Even then, e-scooter riders should walk with their e-scooter till they get off the sidewalk.
So, if Californians can’t scoot on sidewalks, where could they ride their e-scooters? According to CVC §21230, people should use their e-scooters in bike-protected lanes. When these lanes aren’t provided, e-scooter users should ride as close to the right curb as possible. It’s also legal for e-scooter customers to ride in streets with a posted speed limit of 25 mph.
While we’re on the subject of e-scooters and sidewalks, it’s worth mentioning CVC §21235 doesn’t allow riders to park e-scooters lying flat on the sidewalk. When people want to park an e-scooter, they need to ensure their device is upright and away from business entrances and pedestrian traffic. If possible, try to park an e-scooter against a bike rack.
Please keep in mind that many Californian cities have installed designated e-scooter parking zones. For instance, Santa Monica now has a few e-scooter “parking boxes” near bike lanes. Be sure to research your town’s e-scooter policies to determine whether there are any designated parking zones.