Max Draitser - Southern California Bicycle Attorneys

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Trail bikers and premises liability in California

Commuting cyclists in California have laws and regulations to protect them when biking on the road, but what about recreational trail bikers?

California law has many protections for landowners that stem from the state’s efforts to encourage owners of private property to open their land for public recreational use. What are your options if you become injured on this type of land?

Protections for private property owners

Private landowners are not required to perform any special duties to ensure their property is safe for recreational use. No maintenance to the grounds or any structures is necessary, and any person using the land for activities like hiking or biking does so at their own risk.

This immunity for the property owner was mostly provided in an effort to increase the amount of land available for the public to participate in outdoor activities. However, there are some exceptions put in place to protect members of the public.

Exceptions to protect recreational users

If a dangerous condition or building exists on the property, and the owner willfully failed to warn the public, such malicious negligence may result in liability for the landowner. Another exception involves any circumstances in which the owner accepts monetary payment for use of the land. The third condition that may result in liability for injuries is when the landowner extends an invitation to the recreational user

While California has taken steps to promote land use by implementing protections for owners, it also considers the public when an injury has occurred.