Are Street Lights Required to Make A Street Safe?

First, the city is liable to the public if there exists a dangerous, as opposed to a trivial, defect on its property and either the defect was caused by an employee of the city or the city was aware of the defect or existed for a long enough period of time that it should have discovered the defect.  The general rule in California is that a municipality is under no duty to light its streets even though it is given the power to do so, and hence, that its failure to light them is not actionable negligence, and will not render it liable in damages to a traveler who is injured solely by reason thereof.

However, there is an exception to this general rule.  A duty to light, and the consequent liability for failure to do so, may, however, arise from some peculiar condition rendering lighting necessary in order to make the streets safe for travel.

In essence, there must exist a “peculiar” condition making lighting necessary in order for safe travel on the streets.

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