Conditions of Public Roads – A look at the Case Law

Conditions of Public Roads – A look at the Case Law


As discussed in my first post, poor road conditions can have a much greater impact on the motorcycle rider, as opposed to the driver of a car or a truck.  Today, we look at some case that dealt with the issue of public roads, and the negligent design of such roads. In other words, the design of the road was negligent, it was not reasonably safe. The general rule is that the State has a duty to maintain the public roads to be reasonably safe for travel.

Case # 1: Zamarripa v. City of Coachella, 193 Cal. Rptr. 358 (Cal. App. 1983) – the city of Coachella was found to be negligent for allowing a wall to obstruct the view at an intersection.  The court ruled that this wall created or permitted a dangerous condition.

Case #2 Levine v. City of Los Angeles, 137 Cal. Rptr. 512 (Cal. App. 1977) – here a motorcycle rider was was involved in an accident after the road abruptly narrowed. The Court found the road was negligently designed and held the government liable.


These cases stand for the principle that the government has a responsibility to keep the roads safe for travel, and one aspect of that is appropriately designing safe roads in the first place.

Author: Michael D. Rehm

Roseville Motorcycle Accident Attorney Blog

Welcome to my Roseville Motorcycle Accident Attorney blog. Here we discuss issues related to motorcycle riders in Roseville and throughout California. Topics will include changes to motorcycle insurance requirements, mandatory helmet laws, the bias Motorcycle riders face in the courts and with the law and insurance companies.  We will also discuss issues related to Roseville, California and surrounding cities in Placer County.


According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, in 2013 Placer County had 14 motorcycle accidents that resulted in injury or death.   Also, per the same study, there were zero injuries or deaths from motorcycle accidents in Roseville. So, for the motorcycle rider, Roseville seems a safe destination. Roseville has massive development in the last 20-30 years, so the roads are relatively new, and the traffic safety devices are in proper working order, compared to older areas in Placer County, such as Auburn and Lincoln.  This is one of the issues we plan to discuss on this blog: the importance of road conditions as related to the motorcycle rider.  Poor road conditions effect the motorcycle rider in an entirely different way, as compared to the automobile driver. Cars and trucks do not have as difficult of a time dealing with poor road conditions as the motorcycle does, and poor road conditions is many times the culprit behind motorcycle accidents.   Of course, one of the biggest issues motorcycle riders face is that they are viewed by insurance companies and adjusters as engaging in a dangerous activity in and of itself simply by riding their motorcycle.

Roseville , California has rapidly developed over the last twenty years with a hug population explosion.  It is the largest city in Placer County, with a population of 118, 788 according to the 2010 United States Census.   The major freeways in Roseville is Interstate 80 and State Route 65.

Author: Michael Rehm