Liability for sidewalks is limited to those contiguous to a highway
In Evans v. City of Livonia, the Court of Appeals ruled that the City was immune from liability for defects in a sidewalk that was adjacent to a public parking lot. During construction, a young bicyclist had been injured by a cut-off pipe in a replacement gravel patch. The Court held that the statutory liability exposure for defective or hazardous sidewalks includes only those walks that are "along the side of a road."
Because the sidewalk in this case was a pedestrian connection between two streets, the Court applied prior decisions interpreting "sidewalk" to exclude this walk from the statutory definition. The reached this conclusion even though the statutory term "highway" is defined as "a public highway, road or street that is open for public travel and includes bridges, sidewalks, trailways, crosswalks, and culverts on the highway."