Vehicle Code 21663 VC - Driving on the Sidewalk in California
California Vehicle Code 21663 VC is the statute that prohibits motorists from driving on a sidewalk. This law is designed to protect pedestrians, and violations can carry serious penalties. Any car driving on the sidewalk can severely injure pedestrians and damage property. With a few exceptions, vehicles are illegal to operate on the sidewalks.
For example, Vehicle Code 21114.5 VC permits the operation of electric carts on sidewalks under certain circumstances. A vehicle can drive over a sidewalk while entering or leaving a property.
Violations of VC 21663 carry heavy fines and points on your driver's license. Further, you could also get a negligent operator license suspension if you acquire too many points within a given time frame.
You cannot drive on the sidewalk intentionally to avoid traffic or construction. The law targets drivers who purposefully drive recklessly and drive over a sidewalk, not accidental situations.
If ticketed for this traffic infraction, you could face a fine and a point on your driving record. VC 21663 says, "No person shall operate or move a vehicle upon a sidewalk, except as may be necessary to enter or leave adjacent property."
A “sidewalk” is any area intended for pedestrian use, generally between the curb and the adjacent property line. They are designed to separate pedestrians from motor vehicle traffic to ensure safety.
What are the Exceptions to the Rule?
There are a few situations where it's permissible for a motor vehicle to drive on the sidewalk, such as the following:
- Driving on the sidewalk to enter or leave adjacent properties, including driveways, parking lots, private roads, or loading zones. If a driver uses a sidewalk to access these areas, they are not violating the law.
- Vehicle Code 2114.5 VC allows electric carts to drive on a sidewalk, typically including elderly adults, disabled persons, postal service employees, etc.
What Are the Related Laws?
Several California laws are related to Vehicle Code 21663 VC driving on a sidewalk, including the following:
- Vehicle Code 22450 VC – running a stop sign,
- Vehicle Code 4461 VC – misuse of a handicap placard,
- Vehicle Code 21209 VC – driving on a bike lane,
- Vehicle Code 23127 VC – driving on trails or paths,
- Vehicle Code 20002(b) VC – runaway vehicle causing damage.
What Are the Penalties?
Suppose you violate VC 21663. In that case, it's an infraction, and you could receive a ticket from law enforcement and face the following penalties:
- The standard fine is $238,
- One point on your DMV driver's license record, which can increase your insurance premiums,
- Potential license suspension for excessive points. Accumulating too many points within specific time frames can earn you a "negligent operator" designation from the DMV, which might result in a driver's license suspension or revocation.
Suppose you ignore the ticket, fail to pay it, or do not appear in traffic court on your appointed day. In that case, you might be charged with Vehicle Code 40508 failure to appear, a misdemeanor that carries up to six months in county jail, and a fine.
A driver who violates VC 21663 could cause an accident with another motorist or pedestrian, causing serious injuries. The injured party can file a personal injury lawsuit for negligence to recover financial compensation.
What Are the Defenses?
If you disagree with the citation for driving on the sidewalk under Vehicle Code 21663 VC, our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers could help you, as discussed below.
We can argue that driving on the sidewalk was necessary to avoid a hazard. Maybe you had to swerve onto the sidewalk to avoid colliding with another car or a pedestrian who walked in front of you.
Maybe we can argue there was a lack of intent. Perhaps you can say that you did not intentionally drive on the sidewalk. Maybe it was an accident resulting from bad road conditions or poor visibility. Maybe you are the victim of mistaken identity. Perhaps you were not the vehicle's driver, and the citation was issued to the wrong person.
Maybe you have a valid exception. Perhaps you only drove on the sidewalk to cross the street into a property. Local authorities may have authorized you to drive an electric cart, providing that evidence may get the infraction dismissed.
Maybe we can challenge the police officer's testimony. Perhaps you can provide eyewitness accounts or video surveillance footage showing you did not drive on the sidewalk any longer than was necessary. You can contact us for a free case review via phone or the contact form. Cron, Israels, and Stark are based in Los Angeles, CA.