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Are drivers still liable if they are hit by a cyclist riding on the sidewalk?

Law enforcement officers sometimes mistakenly cite cyclists who are involved in traffic accidents for violating Vehicle Code §21650.1.

In general, under California law, if someone is riding a bicycle on a roadway, he or she must ride in the same direction as motor vehicles (Vehicle Code §21650.1).

Sidewalks, however, are not legally considered part of the roadway (Vehicle Code §555). Therefore cyclists do not violate Section 21650.1, even if they are riding against the flow and direction of traffic along and within a sidewalk.

However, the legality of riding on sidewalks also depends upon local, city and county ordinances. Local laws sometimes prohibit cycling on sidewalks in whole or in part. But if, where the accident occurred, there is no local, county or state ordinance that makes it unlawful to ride a bicycle along a crosswalk or sidewalk, the bicycle rider has a right to ride his or her bicycle on the sidewalk (VC §555) or crosswalk (VC §275).

Therefore, it is sometimes the motor vehicle driver, and not the cyclist, who is at fault for collisions with cyclists riding their bikes on sidewalks or in crosswalks even when the cyclist is riding on the sidewalk in the opposite direction of motor vehicle traffic.

Were you hit by a car on your bike?

If you were hit by a car and injured while riding your bike on a sidewalk or on a road in the East Bay, you may have a case against the driver. Call me immediately to find out. There is no fee until we win. I serve clients in the Danville, Pleasanton, Livermore and San Luis Obispo areas.

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Tom Sokat

Tom is a personal injury attorney with over 30 years experience. He has two offices in the East Bay, one in Danville, another in Pleasanton, and one now in San Luis Obispo. He is passionate about being the champion for the little guy and getting them compensation for their injuries when due.


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