In California, if you want to have the right-of-way when in a crosswalk, you should become a pedestrian and walk your bike through the crosswalk. (CVC 21950).
There is no law that says a cyclist must get off their bike and push it across the crosswalk. Having said that, if the cyclist wants to have the right-of-way when crossing a crosswalk, then he or she has to become a pedestrian.
The law says bicycles are considered motor vehicles for the purposes of rights-of-way and traffic codes, and says that a motorist has to yield to the right-of-way to a pedestrian in a crosswalk (CVC 21200). So when put together, if you want to have the right-of-way in a crosswalk, then you can walk your bike across.
Do I Need the Right-of-Way?
The right-of-way means that legally, you have the right to be in the crosswalk, and a car doesn’t. So for example, in a crosswalk that has no signals, if a cyclist rides his/her bike across and gets hit by a car, then the cyclist could get a ticket for not yielding to the right-of-way.
So, if a cyclist is riding through a crosswalk with no traffic lights, does this mean that a car can just run through the crosswalk? Technically it means that they can’t get a ticket for not yielding to the right-of-way of the cyclists, there would be other consequences such as civil suit for damages.
Civil Liability and Crosswalks
When an accident happens, whichever driver is found to be negligent has to foot the bill for the injuries and financial losses of the other one. Many people think that the person who has the legal right-of-way can’t be negligent, but that’s not correct.
Negligence is determined by comparing the actions of a person in an accident to those of a reasonably prudent person. So, a jury will look to see if the person did what a reasonably prudent person would do in the same circumstances. The person who wasn’t acting like the typical prudent person is considered negligent.
This means that It’s possible to have the legal right-of-way but still be negligent. A good example is a motorist who has the green light in an intersection and the crosswalk if full of people and bicycles, and the motorist runs though anyway. While it may save the motorist from a ticket, a jury could determine that a reasonably prudent person wouldn’t run through a crosswalk full of people.
Injured? Contact a Specialist.
Bay Area Bicycle Law works with clients all over the State of California and is one of the state’s only personal injury law firms working exclusively with injured cyclists. We handle cases in your area, and there are many benefits to working with a specialist.
Contact us today for a free consultation by email or by calling 866-bicycle-law (866-242-9253). Years of advocacy for bicycle crash victims have seasoned our attorneys with the necessary skills to handle bicycle accidents cases with the utmost level of professional expertise. We will always offer you legal advice which is in your best interest.