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Ask a Trooper - Is it legal to ride a bike on sidewalks?

Question: I really enjoy your articles and read them every week. I am 13 years old and like riding my bike around town. I like to be safe so I wear a helmet and try to be very careful. I am wondering if it is legal to ride a bike on the sidewalks in town or should I try to stay on the road? I like to stay on the sidewalks in the downtown area because of all the traffic, but in residential areas I ride on the road.

Answer: Excellent question for a great topic! I'm glad to hear that you wear a helmet and try to be very careful. To answer your question, I will state Minnesota State Statute (M.S.S.) 169169.22 Sub.4(d): "A person operating a bicycle upon a sidewalk, or across a roadway or shoulder on a crosswalk, shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal when necessary before overtaking and passing any pedestrian. No person shall ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk within a business district unless permitted by local authorities. Local authorities may prohibit the operation of bicycles on any sidewalk or crosswalk under their jurisdiction."

Ultimately you will need to check with the city to see what the local laws are in their downtown area. Each city is different in what they allow, so always check with them. Again, this is an excellent question with spring officially being here. Thank you for the question.

If you have any questions concerning traffic-related laws in Minnesota, send your questions to Trooper Jesse Grabow, Minnesota State Patrol, 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes MN 56501-2205. Or reach me at