Are parking lot stop signs enforceable in California?
September 7, 2005 11:48 AM   Subscribe

Are parking lot stop signs enforceable in California?

I'm generally one for obeying rules of the road, but some of the stop signs in the parking lot of my local grocery megamart are nonsensically placed. I generally use a "if its safe, ignore it" policy towards these signs but am I breaking the law?

It seems if these are placed on private land by private individuals they shouldn't be legally binding. Not that the answer will change my driving habits much, but you know...
posted by Ogre Lawless to Law & Government (10 answers total)
I can't find anything online right now, but I have noticed that almost all parking lots have a white sign somewhere near the entrance that says something like "Pursuant to California vehicle code XXXXXXX, traffic laws will be enforced." Of course, that might just be so they can ticket people who park in handicapped spaces.
posted by Nothing at 12:08 PM on September 7, 2005

If I remember, California law has a provision where a private parking lot owner can post a sign at the entrance stating that the rules of the road apply on the parking lot. If one of those is up, then stop signs are probably enforceable. Even if one of those is not up, your running through a stop sign might be evidence of negligence if you hit someone and get sued.
posted by profwhat at 12:11 PM on September 7, 2005

Best answer: Here's the statute I was thinking of. Probably this is the code section referenced on the signs Nothing observed.
posted by profwhat at 12:13 PM on September 7, 2005

I don't know anything about California specifically but I'd think that even if they're not "enforceable" (that is, a cop couldn't give you a ticket if s/he saw you run the stop sign), they would probably still be considered advisory or cautionary signs (which would mean, for example, that if you hit someone after disregarding the advice that you should stop here, the accident would be considered your fault).
posted by winston at 12:31 PM on September 7, 2005

Anything's enforceable. Seems to me the real question is, do [California] cops ever ticket traffic violations which occur on parking lots (which are generally private property) -- in other words, is stopping for the sign (or the word "Stop" painted on the pavement) enforced in [California] parking lots?

My answer, based on observation and hearsay, is "No." (Therefore, I often shift into 'bicycle mode' when navigating large parking lots, ignoring The Man's directives, considering the movements of other vehicles and pedestrians as "sequences of mass and space".)
posted by Rash at 1:13 PM on September 7, 2005

Can't speak for Cali but in Florida a cop friend of mine explained that they weren't enforcable... till you hit someone. So if you roll through that stop at 3am in the Wal-mart lot when nobody is there, fine. You do it and smack into another car you can be cited.

That said, Rash makes a good point - maybe it's not going to stand up in court legally but that doesn't mean a cop can't cite you and force you to deal with the problem. Even if it's dismissed when I show up at court I still have to show up at court.
posted by phearlez at 1:59 PM on September 7, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks profwhat, that's the goods. That section allows citywide/countywide enforcement of speeding, reckless driving and offroad vehicles in all juristiction parking lots if passed by ordinance or resolution as well as general vehicle code enforcement if signed.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 2:18 PM on September 7, 2005

I've always wondered this same thing, but about the "no left-turn" signs on the way out of the parking lot. If no one is behind me, or the opportunity comes right when I get there, I do it anyway - based on the thinking that the property owner put up that sign, not the city.
Interesting discussion.
posted by clh at 4:50 PM on September 7, 2005

Just to add, I had always thought in accidents on private parking lots (such as the one being discussed), that officers didn't cite tickets regardless of who was at fault precisely because it is on private property- or at least that's how it has gone down here in Georgia with me.
posted by jmd82 at 4:58 PM on September 7, 2005

clh: Those are an entirely different story. I don't have the v.c. number in front of me, but 'street signs' (such as 'No left turn') at the exits of private property can be designated as legitimate, real and enforcable if the state puts them there. Ignoring signs such as those will get you busted, as my driving record will attest.
posted by wolftrouble at 10:30 PM on September 7, 2005

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