I was walking my dog on the sidewalk along a very busy narrow street. I came across a van that was parked so that I would have to step out into the street to get around on one side. So I started to go around the other side, which required me to step on the lawn. The homeowner was there and yelled at me to go around on the street and to get off his property. I think he was wrong to block the sidewalk and not allow passage. Am I right?
2 Answers from Attorneys
Yes, unless there is some strange and unusual local ordinance, I'd say you are right. Sidewalks are ordinarily for pedestrian use, not parking autos, and if a property owner so blocks or allows the blocking of the sidewalk, he invites pedestrians to take a detour onto their (non-sidewalk) property. I doubt that this homeowner would win a lawsuit for trespass against you.
I would bet 1000:1 that your local ordinances prohibit him from blocking the sidewalk with a parked vehicle. His conduct necessitated you stepping onto his property for your own safety. He hasn't got a leg to stand on.