Bike Trail Rules and Regulations

The American River Bike Trail is used by millions of people each year for bicycling, jogging, walking, skating and horse-back riding.  With a high count of people using the trail for a variety of uses, the probability of accidents increases.   As a result, Sacramento County has published a list of bike trail rules and regulations for bike trail users.The goal of the following list of Sacramento County Parks rules and regulations is a safer bike trail for all bike trail users.  Please review and practice the following when using the bike trail:


Bike Riders

Pass on the left – Be sure when you are passing someone, stay on their left saide and move to the right after you have passed them.  Call out “Passing on your left” to ensure taht you do not startle the person you are passing who may not know you are there. 

Pull completely off the trail if you need to stop – By pulling off the trail, you are less likely to get hit by bike traffic and cause and accident. 

Wear a helmet – It’s required for children under 18 years of age and it’s a good idea for adults as well.

Obey all traffic signs – Be sure to yield to traffic signs and follow any detour signs.  Make sure you watch for car traffic, particularly where it crosses the bike trail.

Pay attention when you ride – Don’t wear headphones and make sure you keep your eyes on the road to look for potential hazards.  Stay in you lane.

Ride in single file – Even if you are in a group, ride single-file helps keep the trail clear of congestion and reduced the chances of an accident.

The trail speed limit is 15 mph – The trail is not designed for extreme biking and too much speed  can be a hazard to you and those around you. 

Stay on the paved trail – Bicycles are not allowed on non-paved trails on the Parkway.

The trail is best used by experienced riders – while there is no age limit for bike riders, the bike trail is probably not the best place for someone to learn to ride a bike.  Children and adults who visit the trail should know how to ride.

Riding in the dark – When riding in the dark, bicyclists are required to wear a forward facing white light that is bright enough to be visible from 300 feet and from the sides of the bicycle. 



Use the left shoulder when it is accessible to you – Joggers and walkers should stay on the dirt shoulder off the pavement to minimize the chance of an accident.

Stay single file – This reduces the chance of people straying onto the paved trail and potentially being involved in an accident. If you want to walk with a group of people, it is recommended that you either walk along the levee or move away from the bike trail.

Keep your dog on a short leash – Dogs are not allowed to be off-leash along the American River Parkway. Do not use an extended leash, as the dog can run out across the trail and potentially cause an accident.


Other Parkway Traffic

Equestrians – Horses are only allowed on the horse trail.  Be sure to let people know when it is safe to pass your horse when you encounter others.  It is recommended that equestrians wear helmets and only use the trail during the day to avoid potential hazards or obstacles that may be hidden from view in the dark.

Skaters  – Both roller skating and rollerblading are permitted on the trail, and all skaters must obey the same rules as bicyclists.  Skateboarders are NOT permitted on the Parkway.

No motorized traffic – No motorized traffic is permitted on the trail.


If you have an emergency while on the bike trail, you can find an emergency call box to call for help. Be sure to let them know your location on the trail by reading the closest mile marker to you and reporting it to emergency personnel. Contact Park Ranger Dispatch at 916-875-PARK (7275) to request assistance. If you are within the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area, you may contact the State Park Rangers at 916-988-7322 to report an emergency.


Source: County of Sacramento Regional Parks Division

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8 Responses to Bike Trail Rules and Regulations

  1. Andy says:

    So help me understand why skateboarders are not allowed to ride along the American River does this include longboarding question mark you allow rollerblading and skating and you allow electric bikes you allow Bicycles of course you allow really interesting bicycles with three wheels. Help me understand and give me a reason why skateboarders are not allowed this baffles me I would love to longboard along the American River because it’s safe and smooth thank you for your time

    • Anonymous says:

      I actually emailed the parks district about this very question. I had a multi email exchange with various higher ups at the organization. Ultimately they said that the prime distinction between a skateboard of any kind and the other vehicles listed as “Ok”, is the fact that if you fall while rollerskating the skates stay attached to your feet. They dont go rolling away out of control of the operator. My argument was that the odds of the board rolling away from me and perfectly tracking the path of the trail as to cause an accident farther down the trail is astronomical at best. Their response was still “Too Bad”. The basic idea that i subscribe to, is that this is a trail that should be open for voluntary use for all types of vehicles, except obviously motorized ones or cars. Everyone else on the trail fully accepts responsibility for a potential accident once they get on the trail. Saying that something isnt allowed because of potential accidents, is essentially the same as saying there shouldnt be a bike trail at all because of potential accidents. Not to mention the increased risk for all the longboarders who are now riding recklessly in the street because no city sanctioned space exists for them. In other words, its a stupid rule.

  2. T. says:

    I’m old with very painful arthritis. I can’t work or ride my bike anymore. I have chosen a Segway-Ninebot instead of an E-Bicycle or an electric wheelchair because sitting is more painful for me. Standing on a Segway works best for my medical needs. Getting Cabin fever so I would love to ride the bike trail to get out of the house. One rule says electric bike are allowed. One rule says no motorized vehicles. Is not an electric motor E- bike motorized? My segway is electric and only has two wheels, I would think I’m Good to go. I’m so confused!

  3. Joe says:

    I am 52 years old and an avid longboard skateboarder. I spent a lot of time skating on the bike trails and boardwalks in SoCal and never had an incident. The only restriction for skateboards on bike paths in SoCal are no motorized skateboards or any motorized vehicles for that matter.

    Today, I had a rare afternoon off and drove to William B Pond Recreation area at the end of Arden Way, paid $5 for parking and proceeded to go longboard skateboarding on the bike path with my friend. I have been wanting to do this since we moved to the area over a year ago. Unfortunately after about 30 minutes of riding and getting bad vibes from the bikers, we noticed a “No Skateboarding” sign on the concrete near the bridge. Then, my friend and I saw a white SUV park patrol vehicle and had to quickly abandon our ride running off into the bushes to avoid citation. We left quickly after that, so we ended up getting about 45 minutes of park use for $5. It was a bad experience as we were just trying to enjoy a Friday afternoon, but not wanting to get a citation.

    “No Skate Boarding” on American River Bike Trail….Are you kidding me? What kind of strict city has rules of no skateboarding on a public path? This trail is connected to parks and other parts of the city. It is not fair to prohibit one sort of “non-motorized” transportation over the other.

    It forces me at 52 years old to ride my longboard skateboard on the street and not be able to take advantage of the safe, “car free”, bike trail. Because of the “No Skateboarding Law” on American River Bike Trail, I am forced to ride on the street and risk getting hit by a car. I like to ride my longboard skateboard for 10-15 miles for exercise, the same length of a ride that a bicyclist enjoys. Why should I not have the right to do it safely on the American River Bike trail?

    I am sure other skateboard enthusiasts feel the same way.

  4. debbie says:

    I am a bit confused as to the rules for walkers. It says to use the left shoulder when available and it tell cyclists to pass on the left. Which is it? Are walkers supposed to walk against the traffic so they can see the cyclists or not?

  5. Hazel says:

    I used to run on the American River Trail now I live in Bakersfield and bike on their equivalent: Kern River Parkway. The rule they have posted is keep right. I polled runners & cyclists alike and they all think you should walk/run with bike traffic instead of against it. It’s dangerous and drives me NUTS! I need to get out if here and back to Sacramento.

  6. Aly Even Knight says:

    I was at the American River Boat Ramp by Watt Avenue with my 2 service animals for a quick run. A Park Ranger drove up in his vehicle and I walked toward him. He was aggressive and verbally frightening. I am a obviously disabled 70 year old woman both animals are clearly marked with vests and certified ID. This Officer was very threatening and required I show him my drivers license without any cause noted to me. I returned to my vehicle and started it up and drove up to his vehicle. He then after verifying my driver’s license (10 minutes) came to my window and asked if we had Marijuana in the car because he smelled it!!! This was so wrong!!! We had done nothing to be asked for identification, delayed and then insulted for absolutely no reason. I was in a public park at 2:30 in the afternoon and every sign showed this officer who I was including a Disabled License Plate, no wrong doing, I was taking pictures with my phone. We are not a police state and I was asked for my identification as such…so wrong.!!

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