Who is Liable When a Bike Rider Hits a Pedestrian on the Sidewalk?

When a bike accident occurs on a sidewalk between a pedestrian and the bike, it can be a challenge to prove fault. Continue reading to learn about the important aspects of the fault and then contact Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 for a free legal consultation.

A Lot Depends on Where the Accident Occurs

The first thing to determine is whether it was legal for the bike to be on the sidewalk. This can vary city by city in California. Some states allow biking on the sidewalk while it is a violation in other areas. If the cyclist is not legally allowed on the sidewalk and is involved in a pedestrian accident while on the sidewalk, they could be found liable. Of course, even if it is legal to ride on the sidewalk where the accident occurred, they could still be liable if they are found to be negligent.

The Legality of Riding on a Sidewalk

Note that even in places with laws allowing bikes on sidewalks, there are limits. For example, Los Angeles allows biking on the sidewalk as long as the rider is keeping the safety of people and property in mind and not endangering others. In this instance, even if the bike rider had a legal right to be on the sidewalk, if they were negligent in causing the accident they could still be found at fault.

Situations in Which the Cyclist Can Be Found Negligent When it is Legal to Ride on the Sidewalk

You may wonder: What behaviors or actions could a cyclist engage in that would make them at fault even when it is legal to ride on the sidewalk? Examples include riding faster than was safe, trying to do a jump over a pedestrian’s feet, or biking while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Of course, these are just a few examples – there are many situations in which a cyclist could be found at fault.

Negligence Per Se When it is Not Legal to Be on the Sidewalk

If city law or local statute makes it illegal to ride on the sidewalk, and a cyclist is involved in an accident on the sidewalk, they can be found negligent per se, which means that regardless of their other actions, they are automatically at fault due to the fact that they were breaking the law. This is similar to drunk driving statutes that assure that if a driver is involved in an accident while drunk, they are negligent per se even if the accident was caused by another driver.

If you have questions about a particular accident you have been involved in, contact Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas now for a free legal consultation. We are standing by to help you find the right way forward.