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Most Vehicles Are Not Permitted to Drive on Sidewalks: Why Are Some?


California Motor Vehicle Code 21663 prohibits cars and trucks from driving on sidewalks. Obviously, you are allowed to cross over a sidewalk to get out of your driveway or enter a parking lot. However, you are not allowed to drive on sidewalks at any other time unless you have been given express permission.

Express permission is when a local authority has personally told you that it is ok for you to drive on the sidewalk. Usually the media, utility workers, and emergency vehicles are the only ones given express permission to drive on sidewalks.

Utility trucks usually have to work on poles near intersections and they are sometimes allowed to park their trucks on the sidewalk to keep from jamming up the local traffic flow. This is especially true at busy intersections where a utility truck may present a hazard if it is parked in the streets. These trucks are big and often block the line of sight for both drivers and pedestrians. It is much safer for them to be on the sidewalk where everyone can get around them safely.

Television crews are sometimes allowed to park their trucks on the sidewalks. If they are doing a story downtown or in a neighborhood where parking may be scarce, they may be allowed to park their truck on the sidewalk. The reporters and photographers are unable to do their jobs without the truck nearby, and parking on the sidewalk is often the best option where there is no on street parking. This also keeps the trucks out of the streets and allows traffic to flow freely around them. Whether you like them or not, television crews perform a valuable service to their community and they are sometimes granted benefits that do not apply to the general public.

Of course, just because some vehicles are allowed on the sidewalks, that does not make them immune to liability if they are negligent. They must still yield the right-of-way to pedestrians, animals, and personal mobility devices that may be traveling on the sidewalks. There’s a big difference between parking on the sidewalk in order to do their job and driving recklessly on sidewalks with general disregard for public safety. Even those with express permission to drive on sidewalks can be ticketed if they abuse the privilege.

If you have been injured in an accident because someone was driving on the sidewalk, 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.

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