California Motor Vehicle Code 21957
California Vehicle Code 21957 states: No person shall stand in a roadway for the purpose of soliciting a ride from the driver of any vehicle.
This rule is designed to keep pedestrians and motorists safe. It is OK to hitchhike through California, but you must obtain rides from places other than roadways. You could hitchhike at truck stops, or rest areas. You can also solicit a ride from the sidewalk -- so long as the driver of the car does not stop in the moving lanes of the street to pick you up.
The California legislature has enacted pedestrian rules in an effort to provide all residents of the state safe and convenient travel whether on foot, by wheelchair, or by car. Even though this rule is enacted under the California Vehicle Code, it still applies to people on foot.
The State of California wants to promote pedestrian travel, and cut down on the use of cars. Therefore, hitchhiking should be considered a perfectly acceptable means of travel within the state. However, pedestrians must still travel in a manner that provides safe passage for all residents using the roadways -- including vehicle drivers. The Department of Transportation and the California Highway Patrol are charged with finding ways to reduce pedestrian fatalities and injuries each year. If a CHP officer sees you standing in the roadway to obtain a ride, you will get a ticket.
Because of pedestrian safety efforts, anyone who violates this section of the California Vehicle Code will receive a ticket that could cost as much as $200 after court costs. Why risk it? Only hitchhike in places where there is no chance you could be in a roadway or someplace where it is safe for you and motorists.