California Motor Vehicle Code 21957 prohibits standing on the side of the road to hitchhike. While traveling through the state by thumb is still legal, you cannot stand in the roads to do it. Even if you are clearly in the berm, an officer could determine you are in the road, and then you have to take a day off to try to fight your ticket in court. It’s just not worth it. There are still plenty of ways for you to hitchhike without being in the roads.
California lawmakers are not trying to stop the thrill of traveling by hitchhiking. In fact, California is one of the best-known states for hitchhiking. According to hitchhiking enthusiasts familiar with California roads, getting a ride from someone is relatively easy once you get outside the major cities.
This law is in place only to keep the roads safe for you and for motorists. Hundreds of pedestrians are killed each year on California streets, and you simply cannot stand on the road to hail a ride. Drivers are in a hurry most of the time, and often will not see you in the road until it is too late to stop.
You are still free to hitchhike at truck stops, rest areas, and on private property. You can even stand near the edge of the roadway, so long as you are not on the driving portion. You are typically fine if you remember not to block cars and trucks or put yourself in a great deal of danger from being hit. Remember though, drivers of cars and trucks will not be looking for people on the roads, so even if you are in a truck stop parking lot you still need to be alert.
You can also hitchhike from sidewalks or berms, so long as the driver does not need to block traffic to stop and pick you up. If you block traffic, you will most likely get a ticket that could cost you $100-$250 dollars. It’s best if you can find a good spot where cars can easily pull off the road to safely pick you up. No driver is going to stop in traffic to pick up a stranger if they can avoid it.
If you have been injured in an accident because someone was negligent while hitchhiking or picking up a hitchhiker, you may have rights under the law. Whether you were a bicyclist, a pedestrian, or the driver of an automobile, you may be able to recover damages for your injuries. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer such as those at Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys to discuss your legal options.
Learn more about driving laws for all vehicles at California Motor Vehicle Codes.