California Vehicle Code section 21950 provides that a person who is driving a motor vehicle and approaching a pedestrian in a marked or unmarked crosswalk must use due care and caution and slow down or take any other action that might be necessary to ensure the safety of that pedestrian. That statute puts the duty on the motorist to yield the right-of-way to the pedestrian.

Crossing in the Middle of a Roadway

What happens when a bicyclist crosses a roadway in the middle when there is no marked or unmarked crosswalk? Pursuant to California Vehicle Code 21954(a), the duty shifts over onto the pedestrian to yield the right-of-way to vehicles that are “so near as to constitute an immediate hazard.” Regardless of that shifting duty, the driver of a vehicle isn’t relieved of a duty to use due care and caution for the safety of that bicyclist.

Is a Bicyclist a Pedestrian?

Bicycles are clearly defined as vehicles under the California Vehicle Code. When does a bicyclist become a pedestrian? If a cyclist gets off their bike and walks it through a marked or unmarked crosswalk, he or she becomes a pedestrian. If that cyclist walks their bike across the middle of a roadway where there is no crosswalk, he or she is also a pedestrian. If the applicable local ordinance allows bicyclists to ride on sidewalks, that individual is also deemed a pedestrian under California Vehicle Code section 275.

Some Other Controlling Statutes

CVC section 21651 makes it illegal to ride a vehicle across the dividing section of a roadway. If a bicyclist chooses to violate section 21651, he or she must yield the right-of-way to all traffic that is close enough to constitute an immediate hazard in accordance with CVC 21804. On the other hand, pursuant to CVC 22350, the driver of a vehicle who is approaching a bicyclist riding across a roadway must travel at a speed that doesn’t endanger that bicyclist.

Common sense prevails on a cyclist’s status when crossing a roadway, whether the cyclist is in a crosswalk or not. If you’re on your feet and pushing your bike across a road, you’re a pedestrian. If you’re pedaling across, you’re on a vehicle. In no case should you get so close to a motor vehicle as to constitute an immediate hazard, and a motorist has a duty to stop, slow down or otherwise attempt to avoid an accident when you’re crossing. If you’ve been hit while crossing a road, you might not think that you have a case. Contact our Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyers for a free consultation. You might be told otherwise and be eligible for compensation for your injuries and damages.

Contact a Bicycle Injury Lawyer

Los Angeles Bicycle Law represents bicyclists because we are bicyclists. We know first-hand how rewarding, yet dangerous, cycling can be in the Los Angeles area. Even though the law treats bicyclists with the responsibilities and rights of a motor vehicle, the road itself offers far fewer protections. That is why we actively fight to protect bicyclists in our community. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident in Los Angeles, contact Los Angeles Bicycle Law today.