Pedestrians have rights in Georgia and the state’s crosswalk safety laws have been strengthened in recent years.
The rights of walkers are outlined by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in Georgia.
Back in 1995, the Georgia legislature changed the state’s crosswalk law to say drivers must “stop and stay stopped” for pedestrians. Previously drivers had to merely yield to walkers.
Under state code, the driver of a car, truck, bus or a motorcycle must stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the road if the pedestrian is on the half of the roadway the vehicle is traveling on.
The law also applies if a pedestrian is approaching and is within the half of the roadway the vehicle is traveling on or which it’s turning onto.
The definition of “half of the roadway” means all traffic lanes carrying traffic in one direction of travel.
The law is intended to prevent the scenario in which drivers try to squeeze around a pedestrian who is crossing the road or cut off a pedestrian. Even if you think there is room you must stop.
The pedestrian must also behave in a rational manner. A pedestrian should not suddenly leave a curb or another safe place and walk or run into the path of a vehicle when it is so close it’s impractical for the driver to yield.
The law also applies to vehicles behind the one that’s stopped at a crosswalk. If a vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the road, the driver of a vehicle approaching from behind cannot overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.
Away from marked or unmarked crosswalks, pedestrians shall yield the right of way to all vehicles on the road unless they have started crossing the road under safe conditions.
Walkers crossing the road at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing is provided must yield the right of way to all vehicles on the roadway if they choose to use the roadway instead of a tunnel or crossing.
Pedestrians should abide by control signals. The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety states both walkers and drivers are often confused by the meaning of a flashing “Don’t Walk” signal.
For pedestrians, it means they should not start crossing. The signal does not give motorists who are turning at a green light the right of way. Even on a green light, turning drivers must stop and wait for pedestrians to cross on adjacent crosswalks.
Every year, dozens of pedestrians are hurt and killed in and around Atlanta. In June, a driver was charged with homicide after hitting and killing a walker.
If you have been injured on a crosswalk, please contact our Newnan personal injury lawyer at (404) 913-1529.