Report dangerous conditions you encounter by filing notice of a dangerous condition, a simple and effective way to encourage the appropriate public entity (city, county or state) to implement a solution.

A notice of dangerous conditions is based on section 835.2
of the California Government code. This can be viewed at:

For a short portion of section 835 see the end of this page

Sample Notice of a Dangerous Condition   
(A downloadable .doc version of this is available at google group bikesmc)

Date  (date of writing the notice of dangerous condition)

Joe Smith
City Attorney
City Address
City, State, Zip

Subject: Notice of a Dangerous Condition

Dear  "name":

Under California Government Code Section 835.2, you are hereby placed on actual notice of a dangerous condition on public property. The following condition on your property creates a substantial risk of injury when your property is used with due care in a manner in which it is foreseeable that it will be used.

Define the dangerous condition. Make sure to include

Cross Street
Time of day
Description of dangerous condition

Do not include additional or unnecessary details on a solution. Just define the condition.

Mention any prior complaints with dates and circumstances that you know of.


Your Name
Contact information including phone number and email.

Steps to completing a Notice of Dangerous Condition

1. Write down and define the dangerous condition. If possible, take pictures to provide a future reference.
2. Determine what public entity is responsible. This can be a city, county or state or a combination.
3. Determine the best person to address this notice to:
·For cities, address to the city attorney.  The city website should define this information

·For San Mateo County address to:
                       James C. Porter  
                       Department Director Public Works
                       555 County Center  Fifth Floor
                       Redwood City  CA  94063
                       Phone: (650) 599-1421

·For state (Caltrans) contact Caltrans district 4. (

                      Address To
                      The California Department of Transportation
                       District 4 Claims Office
                       P.O. Box 23660
                      Oakland, CA 94623-0660


 Go to  to submit a Caltrans Maintenance Service request.
 Go to for information on filing a claim against Caltrans District

4. Complete and mail and email in your notice of a dangerous condition. Keep copies for your records.
5. Email a copy to bikesmc. We are working to develop a log of these reports.
6. Follow up with a second letter after 3-4 weeks if no response.

Need help, contact We will try to help you out.

Some details from code section 835

835.  Except as provided by statute, a public entity is liable for
injury caused by a dangerous condition of its property if the
plaintiff establishes that the property was in a dangerous condition
at the time of the injury, that the injury was proximately caused by
the dangerous condition, that the dangerous condition created a
reasonably forseeable risk of the kind of injury which was incurred,
and that either:
   (a) A negligent or wrongful act or omission of an employee of the
public entity within the scope of his employment created the
dangerous condition; or
   (b) The public entity had actual or constructive notice of the
dangerous condition under Section 835.2 a sufficient time prior to
the injury to have taken measures to protect against the dangerous

835.2.  (a) A public entity had actual notice of a dangerous
condition within the meaning of subdivision (b) of Section 835 if it
had actual knowledge of the existence of the condition and knew or
should have known of its dangerous character.
   (b) A public entity had constructive notice of a dangerous
condition within the meaning of subdivision (b) of Section 835 only
if the plaintiff establishes that the condition had existed for such
a period of time and was of such an obvious nature that the public
entity, in the exercise of due care, should have discovered the
condition and its dangerous character.  On the issue of due care,
admissible evidence includes but is not limited to evidence as to:
   (1) Whether the existence of the condition and its dangerous
character would have been discovered by an inspection system that was
reasonably adequate (considering the practicability and cost of
inspection weighed against the likelihood and magnitude of the
potential danger to which failure to inspect would give rise) to
inform the public entity whether the property was safe for the use or
uses for which the public entity used or intended others to use the
public property and for uses that the public entity actually knew
others were making of the public property or adjacent property.
   (2) Whether the public entity maintained and operated such an
inspection system with due care and did not discover the condition.