Browse Previous Page | Table of Contents | Browse Next Page

VEHICLE CODE

Division 1 Words and Phrases Defined

§ 360. "Highway"

"Highway" is a way or place of whatever nature, publicly maintained and open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel. Highway includes street.


Enacted Stats 1959 ch 3.

ANNOTATIONS

Historical Derivations:
(a) Former Veh C § 81, as enacted Stats 1935 ch 27, amended Stats 1937 ch 282 § 1.
(b) Stats 1923 ch 266 § 21, amended Stats 1931 ch 1026 § 6.
(c) Stats 1915 ch 188 § 1, as amended Stats 1917 ch 218 § 1, Stats 1919 ch 147 § 1.
(d) Stats 1913 ch 326 § 1.
(e) Stats 1905 ch 612 § 1.
Cross References:
"Roadway": Veh C § 530
"Street": Veh C § 590
Exclusions from meaning of "street" or "highway": Veh C § 591
"Through highway": Veh C § 600
"Highway": Sts & H C § 23
"State highway": Sts & H C § 24
"County highway": Sts & H C § 25
Collateral References:
Am Jur 2d (Rev) Automobiles and Highway Traffic § 206
Law Review Articles:
What is public highway. 5 UCLA LR 207
Attorney General's Opinions:
Closing of roads in Golden Gate Park for holding road races. 23 Ops. Cal. Atty. Gen. 143
Existing state highways remaining open to public travel, but subject to traffic control by contractor, as "streets" or "highways". 32 Ops. Cal. Atty. Gen. 29
Highway construction area on state right of way which has never been open to public and has never been dedicated to public use as outside meaning of "highway" or "street". 32 Ops. Cal. Atty. Gen. 29
Portions of existing dedicated highways temporarily withdrawn from public use for construction as outside meaning of "highways" or "streets". 32 Ops. Cal. Atty. Gen. 29
Application of definition of street or highway to roads leading to or used in conjunction with 1960 Winter Olympic Games. 33 Ops. Cal. Atty. Gen. 17
Streets of subdivision that have been offered for dedication by final subdivision map, as highways and streets subject to authority of California Highway Patrol to enforce provisions of Vehicle Code, where dedication has been accepted. 47 Ops. Cal. Atty. Gen. 191
The provisions of the state Vehicle Code are applicable to the roads of the Los Angeles Air Force Base. 85 Ops. Cal. Atty. Gen. 68

NOTES OF DECISIONS

1. In General

2. Construction with Other Statutes

3. Public and Private Ways and Uses

4. Thoroughfares and Areas Thereof Included

5. Thoroughfares and Areas Thereof Excluded

6. Streets

7. Roadways

8. Procedure, Generally

9. Evidence

10. Jury Instructions

1. In General
Streets and highways are maintained for use of pedestrians as well as for vehicles. Armstrong v Sengo (1936) 17 Cal App 2d 300, 61 P2d 1188
A road used by permission of the owner revocable at any time and in which the public has no vested right of use is not a public street or highway. Sills v Forbes (1939) 33 Cal App 2d 219, 91 P2d 246
Definition of street or highway, among other statutory provisions, did not indicate that Vehicle Code was concerned with operation of vehicular traffic on highways only. Webster v Zevin (1947) 77 Cal App 2d 855, 176 P2d 960
Public streets and highways are public places (Veh Code §§ 360, 590). People v Belanger (1966, 2nd Dist) 243 Cal App 2d 654, 52 Cal Rptr 660

2. Construction with Other Statutes
Vehicle Act of 1923, § 21, was cited for definition of "highway" and "public highway" as compared with "through highway or boulevard" in holding that driver on through highway or arterial way was bound by § 113 to drive at reasonable and prudent speed with right of way but was not limited to established "intersection" speeds. Gritsch v Pickwick Stages System (1933) 131 Cal App 774, 22 P2d 554
In considering definitions of "highway" it must be remembered that, when used in this code, they are used for special purposes of code and that sections of other codes and decisions under them relating to same or similar words can have little bearing on meaning of words as used in this code. Behling v County of Los Angeles (1956, 2nd Dist) 139 Cal App 2d 684, 294 P2d 534
In action arising out of collision at crossing of highway and construction road, guarded by flagman, in instructing on speed limit of defendant who approached crossing from construction road, intersection speed limit provided in § 22352 did not apply; crossing did not constitute intersection within meaning of that section. Malone v Perryman (1964, 4th Dist) 226 Cal App 2d 227, 37 Cal Rptr 864
Section 20002 (hit and run driving) applies on highways and elsewhere throughout state (§ 20000); words "and elsewhere" mean elsewhere than on highways, defined by § 360, as ways publicly maintained and open to use of public for vehicular travel; evil to be remedied by §§ 20002, 20005, in case involving only property damage is as clearly present when accident occurs on private property as on property publicly maintained and used. People v Stansberry (1966, 2nd Dist) 242 Cal App 2d 199, 51 Cal Rptr 403

3. Public and Private Ways and Uses
The only streets or ways excluded from the broad definition in Vehicle Act of 1923, § 21, were private ways not intended for public use. Atlas Mixed Mortar Co. v Burbank (1927) 202 Cal 660, 262 P 334
Only limitation upon public highway as defined in Vehicle Act of 1923 § 21, was that it did not include private driveways, roads, or places used by owner or by his guests or those having business with him, and not intended to be otherwise used by general public. Atlas Mixed Mortar Co. v Burbank (1927) 202 Cal 660, 262 P 334
In considering definitions of words "highway" and "private road" it is to be borne in mind that when used in this code they are used for special purpose thereof, and that sections of other codes and decisions under them relating to use of same or similar words can have little bearing on solution of problem arising under sections under consideration. Sills v Forbes (1939) 33 Cal App 2d 219, 91 P2d 246
A public highway is intended by this section, since there is no such thing in the Vehicle Code as a private highway. People v Knight (1939) 35 Cal App 2d 472, 96 P2d 173

4. Thoroughfares and Areas Thereof Included
A strip along a highway, used for twenty years as part thereof though claimed as private abutting property, is part of a highway within Vehicle Act of 1923, § 21. Villegas v Strohm (1931) 112 Cal App 633, 297 P 588
A "highway" as defined in Vehicle Act of 1923, § 21, and as used in other sections, has various meanings, sometimes describing the improved and traveled part of the way and sometimes the whole width devoted to public use, and sometimes intermediate spaces, and as used in § 1501 1/2 it refers to left-hand edge of any portion of the way which is suitable for pedestrian travel. Scalf v Eicher (1935) 11 Cal App 2d 44, 53 P2d 368
Accident on a roadway open to public for purpose of vehicular traffic is on a public highway. People v Odom (1937) 19 Cal App 2d 641, 66 P2d 206
Shoulder of a road is part of highway. Ketchum v Pattee (1940) 37 Cal App 2d 122, 98 P2d 1051
A highway may be either State, county, municipal or even designated as a United States highway. Mecchi v Lyon Van & Storage Co. (1940) 38 Cal App 2d 674, 102 P2d 422 (disapproved on other grounds by Alarid v Vanier, 50 Cal 2d 617, 327 P2d 897)
A highway may have an unbroken course, or it may have intersecting byways through which other traffic may, with reasonably equal rights, enter or depart. Mecchi v Lyon Van & Storage Co. (1940) 38 Cal App 2d 674, 102 P2d 422 (disapproved on other grounds by Alarid v Vanier, 50 Cal 2d 617, 327 P2d 897)
Highway is not restricted to paved, improved or traveled portion of the right of way, but includes that space of whatever nature open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular traffic. Frates v Ghirardi (1941) 48 Cal App 2d 596, 120 P2d 82
Open area into which five streets debouch is highway. Kashevaroff v Webb (1946) 73 Cal App 2d 177, 166 P2d 306

5. Thoroughfares and Areas Thereof Excluded
Under definition of "public highway" in Vehicle Act of 1923, § 21, sidewalk in question and driveway across it into premises where building was being constructed were not public highways. Withey v Hammond Lumber Co. (1934) 140 Cal App 587, 35 P2d 1080
Word "highway" was not to be construed as referring to "highway" in city, under former § 590, declaring that flares must be placed when any of vehicles mentioned were disabled "on a highway" within prescribed time after sunset. Beck v Azcarate (1942) 50 Cal App 2d 264, 122 P2d 933
Area blocked off by means of chain and lock and not open to public for vehicular travel is not "highway" within definition of code. Behling v County of Los Angeles (1956, 2nd Dist) 139 Cal App 2d 684, 294 P2d 534
In personal injury action, to satisfy statutory definition in order to have "intersection," there must be at least two "highways," even conceding that intersecting way was public road in sense that it was open to and available for public use, it was not "publicly maintained" and thus could not qualify as "highway." Nunnemaker v Headlee (1956, 3rd Dist) 140 Cal App 2d 666, 295 P2d 438
Where plaintiff was injured when the pavement of defendant city's paved bike path on which he was riding gave way, the trial court did not err in granting defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings under Gov C § 831.4. Contrary to plaintiff's assertion, the bike path qualified as a "trail" under the governmental immunity provisions of § 831.4; it was not part of the public streets and highways (as to which immunity would not apply) because it was not open to the public for vehicular travel (Veh C §§ 360, 590), a bicycle not being considered a vehicle (Veh C §§ 231, 670). Moreover, the Legislature intended the immunity under Gov C § 831.4 to apply to a paved trail; the appellate courts have unanimously interpreted the current wording of § 831.4(b) to apply full immunity to any trail, paved or unpaved. Farnham v City of Los Angeles (1998, 2nd Dist) 68 Cal App 4th 1097, 1100, 80 Cal Rptr 2d 720

6. Streets
Vehicle Act of 1923, § 21, was instance where statute used term "highways" as including city streets in same broad sense as in Const art XIII § 15, and in Pol C § 2168. B. & H. Transp. Co. v Johnson (1932) 122 Cal App 451, 10 P2d 506
Although under former statute way or place becomes a street if publicly maintained and open for public vehicular traffic, mere fact that over a period of years an existing street, including sidewalks, has not required maintenance work, does not alter its character as public property. Sanal v Meador (1952) 108 Cal App 2d 820, 239 P2d 908
"Street" in its usual and ordinary meaning denotes public highway; it does not include private way. Loma Vista Invest., Inc. v Roman Catholic Archbishop (1958, 2nd Dist) 158 Cal App 2d 58, 322 P2d 35

7. Roadways
Roadway and highway are not synonymous. Mecchi v Lyon Van & Storage Co. (1940) 38 Cal App 2d 674, 102 P2d 422 (disapproved on other grounds by Alarid v Vanier, 50 Cal 2d 617, 327 P2d 897)
Word "roadway," as used in § 21650 subd (f), providing that on all highways vehicles are to be driven on right side of roadway, is not synonymous with word "highway." People v Smylie (1963, 3rd Dist) 217 Cal App 2d 118, 31 Cal Rptr 360

8. Procedure, Generally
Whether roadway open to and used by public at all times during daylight leading from a cemetery to and into a main highway is a "public highway" or a "private road" is for jury, under evidence of such facts, where a collision occurred by the act of a driver vehicle coming from the cemetery road into the main highway in the afternoon without yielding the right of way (Vehicle Act of 1923, §§ 21, 22, construed with § 132). Laubscher v Blake (1935) 7 Cal App 2d 376, 46 P2d 836

9. Evidence
In prosecution for driving vehicle on "highway" while under influence of narcotics, where it was matter of common knowledge that avenue where defendant was arrested was public street, court could take judicial notice that it was such and was therefore "highway" within statute. People v Gurrola (1963, 3rd Dist) 218 Cal App 2d 349, 32 Cal Rptr 368
In an action for personal injury sustained by plaintiff while riding in defendant's automobile, the trial court did not err in concluding that the accident occurred on a highway, as defined in Veh Code, § 360, and that the guest statute (Veh Code, § 17158) applied as a matter of law, where plaintiff was injured when the automobile struck a power pole about 150 feet from a service station where the parties had stopped, where a police officer testified that the accident occurred on a highway, that power pole was on the unimproved gravel portion of the highway, and that the area between the gas station and the paved roadway had been condemned for the purpose of widening the highway, and where the station attendant on duty at the time of the accident identified a diagram and a photograph of the accident scene showing a line of poles which he testified were eventually moved in connection with the widening of the highway. Olson v Clifton (1969, 1st Dist) 273 Cal App 2d 359, 78 Cal Rptr 296
In proceedings under Veh Code, § 13353, dealing with the suspension of drivers' licenses for refusal to submit to a chemical sobriety test, if the nature of the road on which the driver was driving is uncertain and a challenge is made as to it being a highway under the definition set forth in Veh Code, § 360, such character of the road must be proved. Weber v Orr (1969, 1st Dist) 274 Cal App 2d 288, 79 Cal Rptr 297

10. Jury Instructions
In action for damages for personal injuries sustained by plaintiff when defendant's truck suddenly moved forward without warning, striking pedestrian who was using sidewalk, where court after reciting rule as to starting, instructed that "if you find from evidence in this case that defendants or any of them in starting truck upon public highway did not first see that said truck could be started with safety, then defendants or such of them as were responsible for movement of truck were guilty of negligence," considering instruction as a whole, it correctly states, in abstract form, duty of driver of vehicle, either on public highway or private driveway, to other persons under general rule requiring every person to so conduct himself and so to use his property that injury will not result to others thus rendering him liable for his wrongful acts whether wilfully or carelessly done. Withey v Hammond Lumber Co. (1934) 140 Cal App 587, 35 P2d 1080
In personal injury case, where court instructed that "if you find from evidence that place where this accident occurred was not customarily used by general public as thoroughfare, then provisions of statute do not apply," and former Vehicle Act § 21 did not contain word "customarily" insertion of word was not prejudicial. Henslee v Fox (1938) 25 Cal App 2d 286, 77 P2d 307
Use of word "highway" instead of "roadway" in instruction did not mislead jury. Casalegno v Leonard (1940) 40 Cal App 2d 575, 105 P2d 125
In action for damages for personal injuries sustained by pedestrian when struck by automobile, where court gave nine instructions based on Vehicle Code including section, they presented no baffling or complicated problem since five of them dealt merely with definitions and remaining three dealt with substantive rules. Petersen v Rieschel (1953) 115 Cal App 2d 758, 252 P2d 986

Browse Previous Page | Table of Contents | Browse Next Page