YOU POSSIBLY DID NOT VIOLATE CA VEHICLE CODE SECTION 21650.1.
Traffic police officers frequently erroneously cite bicycle riders involved in traffic accidents for violating Vehicle Code §21650.1.
It is true that, under
California law, generally, if someone is riding a bicycle on a roadway, he or she must ride in the same direction as motor vehicles (Vehicle
But sidewalks are not legally
considered part of the roadway (Vehicle Code §555). Thus, the Vehicle Code does not
prohibit the operation of
any sidewalk because they are not part of the roadway.
Accordingly, cited bicyclists, in fact, often did not violate Section 21650.1, even though they were riding against the flow and direction of traffic along and within a sidewalk.
Further, Vehicle Code §21650(g) states that on all
highways, a vehicle shall
be driven on the right half of the roadway, but not
bicycles driven on any
sidewalk or along any crosswalk
operation is not otherwise prohibited by this code or local ordinance.”
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).
See also Spriesterbach v. Holland (2013) 215 Cal.App.4th 255 (Riding a bicycle on a sidewalk against the direction of traffic is not illegal unless there is a city or county ordinance making it illegal. Rationale: A sidewalk is not a "shoulder of the highway").
it is sometimes the car driver, and not
the bicyclist, who should be cited in these types of accidents.
Disclaimer: This is a general article. This area of the law can be highly complex. Many issues can arise that were not discussed. This article is not to be relied on a legal advice. If you desire legal advice, consult or retain a lawyer regarding the specifics of your situation. Further Disclaimer.
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