The laws regarding whether a bicyclist can legally ride on sidewalks differ not only from state to state, but also city to city. Thus, making it impossible for the bicyclist to know where they can or cannot ride. Here’s what happens if a bicycle and pedestrian crash, depending on where.
For Example: Santa Monica, CA
For example, it is NOT legal in Santa Monica to ride on sidewalks. Santa Monica Municipal Code Section 3.12.540 states:
“(a) It shall be unlawful to ride a bicycle or to coast in any vehicle upon any public sidewalk.”
For Example: Los Angeles, CA
However, in Los Angeles, bicyclists are allowed to ride on sidewalks, but not in a “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property”.
According to the Los Angeles Municipal Code section 56.15(1),
“No person shall ride, operate or use a bicycle, unicycle, skateboard, cart, wagon, wheelchair, roller skates, or any other device moved exclusively by human power, on a sidewalk, bikeway or boardwalk in a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”
A Bicycle and Pedestrian Crash
So, what happens if there is an accident between a bicyclist and a pedestrian on a sidewalk? Chances are neither party has insurance. The bicyclist might have insurance on the bike and helmet if their bike is a primary means of commuting.
However, it’s a slim chance the bicyclist will have insurance, which means if there are injuries, there will be a fight on whose fault it was. If a pedestrian comes out of a storefront at the same time the bicyclist arrived at that point, who’s at fault?
- Was the pedestrian intoxicated?
- Was the pedestrian clowning around?
- Did the bicyclist not have enough light on the bike to be able to see the surroundings?
- Was the bike in a state of disrepair, faulty brakes or low tire pressure?
- Was the bicyclist going too fast with a “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property?”
After a bicycle and pedestrian crash, for the pedestrian or bicyclist to be able to get compensated for their injuries, they will have to do the following things:
- Call the police and ambulance
- Pedestrian and bicyclist exchange information
- Take pictures
- Document everything
- Get witnesses
- Go to the doctor
- Keep everything collected from the above sources and any broken bike parts or torn or damaged clothing for a possible court hearing to compensate for injuries.