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A sidewalk cuts across my driveway. Can I park in my driveway, over the sidewalk?

Hollywood, FL |

My parked, unoccupied car was parked in my driveway.A sidewalk cuts through my driveway.I live in a private, gated community, in a cul-de-sac.Parking across the sidewalk has never been enforced in the 15 years I have lived at the residence.An unsupervised neighborhood child hit my car with a bike.Thankfully, especially since the child was not wearing a helmet, the child was not hurt.The kids always play in the street.Since it is a cul-de-sac and other neighbors park across their sidewalks, the street is the safest place to be.The father says "my car being parked across a sidewalk forced the child to ride into oncoming traffic".Is it a valid defense?If a law isn't enforced, is it enforceable?Does the child have responsibilities as a bike rider to avoid hitting a fixed object?

Attorney Answers 3

  1. I'd check with a local attorney for a definitive response, since I'm only admitted in CA, but based on some quick research I found Florida Sec. 33-112. (Stopping, standing or parking between curb or edge of pavement and sidewalk or in right-of-way where posted.), which provides:
    (a) No person shall stop, stand or park a vehicle:
    (1) In the portion of any right-of-way between a curb or edge of pavement and the sidewalk behind such curb; or
    (2) On the unpaved portion of any right-of-way, where signs are posted by authority of the traffic engineer.

    While your driveway may cut across the sidewalk, I would think that, technically speaking, the sidewalk is still likely public property and blocking it could be a violation of that code section. Hope that helps.

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  2. If a claim is brought, report the claim to your homeowner's policy, they will handle it. The kid could have used his I'm not sure how he was "forced" into oncoming traffic by your parked car. Sounds weak....but stranger arguments have been made.

  3. It is no type of claim that I would make, and I'm a plaintiff's attorney of course. If the child was not hurt, what is the claim? Property damage for a damaged bike? All sounds like much ado about nothing. I would do absolutely nothing unless the child's parents hire an attorney and they send you an insurance disclosure letter requesting information on your homeowners and/or automobile insurance policies. Do not get into any confrontations with the child's parents. Be polite and courteous, and my guess is this will all be soon forgotten. Good luck.