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What is the sidewalk rule? 

The sidewalk rule, according to several TikTok users, refers to the gendered relationship norms in which the man should, at all times, walk on the side nearest to the street as courtesy to his significant other. 

While the firm concerns itself with colloquial talk, we are even more concerned for the actual street sidewalk law of Los Angeles— who’s allowed to use it, and under what circumstances, etc.

Sidewalk rules are put in place to ensure that pedestrians are able to travel to their specific destinations as safely as possible. They are, after all, the most vulnerable population on the road, devoid of any hard-shell exterior to protect themselves from a possible collision unlike car drivers. 

Following the city sidewalk rule is especially important in Los Angeles, considering the prevalence of pedestrian-related deaths that occurred in its streets. As a matter of fact, Centers for Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) has found that one pedestrian death has occurred every 75 minutes in the year 2020. 

This is alarming as less cars were on the road that year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, yet traffic fatalities of this nature remain alarmingly high. 

This demonstrates that the urban design of Los Angeles does not aptly protect pedestrians from injury and death. Therefore, knowing about the sidewalk rule is of the utmost importance.

But while pedestrians in Los Angeles have the right of way (for the most part) in their own city’s sidewalks, they have to share the space for other subgroups as well, namely bikers and street vendors.

Can You Ride Your Bike On The Sidewalk?

Yes, you may ride your bike on the sidewalk in Los Angeles. But keep in mind that this isn’t the case for every city in the state. In fact, various cities in California have different sidewalk laws in place. 

For example, the city of Artesia hinders bicyclists from using the sidewalk when traveling from point A to point B. The same can be said for cities like Cerritos, Pico Rivera, Rancho Palos Verdes, etc. 

Meanwhile, there are cities who do allow bicyclists to use the sidewalks, one of them being the city of Los Angeles. But this is under the condition that the biker is “mindful” to not harm those around them (i.e. the pedestrians).

Now plagued with the threat of a possible collision with cars and bikes, Los Angeles pedestrians have to be extra careful when walking to their destination.

The Sidewalk Rules For LA Street Vendors

Given that they acquired a permit, street vendors in Los Angeles also have the right to occupy a space on a street sidewalk. When vending, they need to be able to:

  • Keep it clean
  • Avoid obstructing the sidewalk for pedestrians
  • Read more

Los Angeles street vendors are exposed to the dangers of the road, and are extremely susceptible to acquiring a personal injury. In June 2022, a Sacramento Bee news report stated that a truck collided into street vendors, leaving nine people — two of which are children — injured. 

For this reason, they must have a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer on speed dial.

Being A Courteous Pedestrian

We each have a duty of care to care for one another. And this is not just a principle in life. The term “duty of care” is present in legalese as well. By law, we actually have a legal responsibility to not inflict harm unto another person. 

A violation of it may be used against you in a court of law. For this reason, we all must endeavor to be courteous and respectful when walking on the sidewalk.

What side of the street should you walk on?

As pedestrians, a good practice to follow is occupying the utmost right side of the sidewalk. This is in keeping with the driving norms of the United States. 

Walking on the right side is mostly intuitive to the average person in the country already. Therefore, not following this norm could easily disrupt the flow of sidewalk traffic, lead to unnecessary hold ups, and in dire cases endanger the lives of fellow pedestrians.    

Be Aware Of Your Surroundings

A part of being a courteous pedestrian is having a keen awareness of your surroundings. This allows you to aptly maneuver around situations and people that may put you and other people in harm’s way. 

If you like listening to music during your walks, one way you can optimize awareness of your environment is by lowering the volume of your music. That way, you remain alert about whatever is happening around you. 

It’ll also give you more leeway to be receptive to the sounds around you which could potentially save your life. For example, if you blast music while a car is honking at you, you may not be able to act adequately to the signals directed at you. 

It’s very possible that a vehicle may have been careening towards you, and that honk could have spared you from your death. 

Which just goes to show: Being a courteous pedestrian is not only for the benefit of others. It’s also for your own safety.

Following Traffic Signals

While it is true that there’s a law recently passed in California allowing pedestrians to jaywalk, it is still in your best interest to follow traffic signals as a courtesy to the pedestrians around you.

Jaywalking puts you and other pedestrians at risk. If you cross the streets unprompted, worst case scenario it may lead a car to swerve uncontrollably and hit a pedestrian on the sidewalk. 

Jaywalking may also encourage others to do the same which further endangers their lives as well as other people on the road.

Call Omega Law Group

We have represented clients who have been afflicted by various personal injuries, including Spinal Cord Injury, Traumatic Brain Injury, Soft Tissue Injury, and many more. Our awards and excellent testimonials are a result of our ability to empathize and attend to the needs of our clients. Here at Omega Law Group, you will come first. If you or a loved one is afflicted with an accident, reach out to our team. Visit our Contact Us page to learn more.