My client was riding his bicycle on the sidewalk, in the opposite direction of street traffic. That is when my client was struck by a car exiting a driveway. As soon as my client told me how the collision occurred, I knew that the insurance company would try and blame him for the collision.
Insurance companies will always try and blame a bicycle rider for a collision when that bicycle rider was heading in the opposite direction of street traffic, despite the fact that the bicycle rider was not on the street. Insurance companies do this despite the fact that there is California case law that specifically says that they can’t do this.
In the case of Spriesterbach v. Holland, the court held that Vehicle Code section 21650.1, requiring cyclist to ride their bicycles in the same direction as traffic when riding on a roadway, or the shoulder of a highway, does not require bicycles to travel with the flow of traffic when ridden on a sidewalk, since a sidewalk is not a “roadway” or “shoulder of a highway.”
In fact, Los Angeles Municipal Code section 56.15(1) allows people to ride their bicycles on the sidewalk so long as the cyclist does not ride “in a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” There is no restriction that the bicycle be ridden in the direction of street traffic.
After I explained the law to the insurance company’s adjuster, they quickly paid out the policy limits of $25,000.