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Poor Sidewalk Maintenance Can Cause Bicycle Accidents

Home » Poor Sidewalk Maintenance Can Cause Bicycle Accidents
January 17, 2018
Edward Smith


Poor Sidewalk Maintenance Can Cause Bicycle Accidents

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento bicycle accident lawyer. Bicycle accidents due to road and sidewalk hazards happen, leaving the accident victim with injuries and high medical bills. The responsible party when a bicyclist is injured depends on the location where the accident happened. 

Bicycle-Related Accident Injuries

Poor maintenance, whether on the part of a private property owner, owner of a commercial establishment or government entity, can cause serious injuries for a bicyclist. According to American Family Physician, some of the more serious injuries are as follows:

  • Head injuries: These may include concussion, skull fracture, brain hemorrhage and contusions to the brain. Head injuries occur in between 22 percent and 47 percent of accidents to bicyclists.
  • Facial and eye damage: Included in this category are facial fractures and contusions, eye injuries and damage to the cornea.
  • Musculoskeletal injuries: Bone fractures, contusions, strains and sprains and joint dislocations are common.
  • Abdominal injuries: This wide-ranging area can include damage to the spleen, liver, pancreas or other organs.
  • Chest injuries: This area may include injuries to the lung or rib fractures.

Compensation for Bicycle Accident Injuries

Because it can be difficult to prove fault in an injury caused by poor road or sidewalk maintenance, contacting a seasoned injury lawyer can be helpful. This is particularly important since the statute of limitations for filing is different when dealing with a government entity. Rather than the usual two years from the date of injury, an individual must file a claim with the government within six months. If that claim is denied, a lawsuit may commence.

Bike Riding Using the Sidewalk

In California, municipalities and counties can decide whether bicycle riders can use sidewalks. Recent changes in Sacramento bicycle laws through Sacramento Municipal Code 10.76.010 will prevent bicycle riders from accessing some sidewalks. This will be predominantly in areas where pedestrian traffic is heaviest.

Road and Sidewalk Hazards

Hazards on roads can include potholes, debris such as fallen limbs and leaves and spots where roads have irregular surfaces. Sidewalks commonly have hazards caused by tree roots, areas where the sidewalks and curbs are broken and heaved. With around 2,300 miles of walkways utilized by bicycle riders and pedestrians, this presents a real danger of a fall and resulting injury.

Responsibility for Repairs

Property owners in Sacramento are responsible for maintaining the sidewalks around their property in good repair to avoid accident injuries. City inspectors come out to look over areas within 75 feet of any sidewalk that has been reported as being a hazard. Under Sacramento City Code 12.32.020, a property owner is responsible for repairing defects in sidewalks around their property.

What Constitutes a Defective Sidewalk?

Criteria used by inspectors includes the following:

  • Excessive sloping caused by infringing tree roots
  • ½ inch or more in displacement of a sidewalk either horizontally or vertically
  • Chipped or broken surfaces
  • Spacing larger than ½ inch
  • Cross slopes that are excessive and caused by roots of trees
  • Settlement that causes water to pool
  • Excessive displacement between curb, sidewalk and gutter
  • Any other conditions the inspector deems a hazard

Repair and Maintenance of Roads and Other Areas

The City of Sacramento is responsible for repair and upkeep of gutters, curbs, ramps and drains. Sacramento County, under the Pavement Maintenance System, is responsible for road maintenance, including repair of potholes, cracks and other hazards to traffic.

Sacramento Bicycle Accident Lawyers

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento bicycle accident lawyer. A bicycle accident caused by negligence can leave the victim with injuries and resulting medical bills and other expenses. If this happens to you or your family member, please phone me at (916) 921-6400 for free, friendly advice. Our toll-free number is (800) 404-5400.

I’ve worked as a Northern California personal injury lawyer since 1982. I am honored to defend those suffering catastrophic injuries from accidents and those who have suffered a loss through wrongful death.

Reviews by previous clients are located at:

Verdicts and Settlements, located at my website,, contains information on previous cases.

I am listed as a California member of the Million Dollar Advocates. This group represents top trial lawyers who have obtained at least $1 million for clients through verdicts or case settlements.

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