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The Responsibility of Pedestrians In Georgia

From 1996 through 2003, 17,976 pedestrians were injured by cars and trucks in the state of Georgia. Of those incidents, 1,300 involved a pedestrian fatality. The worsening traffic congestion throughout the state does not seem to be helping the matter. As the old saying goes, you should look both ways whenever crossing the street. In metro-Atlanta, this is especially true because most streets in the city are not pedestrian-friendly. But the laws in Georgia are not as straightforward as the old saying would imply. For example, many people often mistakenly believe that if you are struck by a car, not within a crosswalk, then you will be unable to recover for your injuries. This however is not always the case. The truth is that if a pedestrian crossing the street has already entered the roadway, while under safe conditions, then he does not need to yield the right of way to all vehicles on the street. This implies a greater sense of responsibility upon the pedestrian when initially crossing the road, but once a person has safely entered the roadway and is in the process of crossing, the approaching vehicles must use caution. The rules for crossing a roadway outside of a crosswalk are found in O.C.G.A. 40-6-92.

Rule O.C.G.A. 40-6-92 also states that if there is a pedestrian tunnel or pedestrian bridge at the point where a person is crossing a street, the pedestrian must yield the right of way to all vehicles on the road. You may be wondering when is it permissible to cross a roadway between adjacent intersections? Well, if the intersections on both sides of the crossing area have traffic lights, then pedestrians are not allowed to cross the roadway between the two intersections. However, if only one of the adjacent intersections has a traffic light and the other does not, pedestrians are allowed to cross the street at a point between the two intersections. The latter rule means that if one of the adjacent intersections has a traffic light and the other merely has a stop sign or nothing at all, then crossing between the intersections is not illegal.

Finally, rule O.C.G.A. 40-6-92 states that pedestrians cannot cross an intersection diagonally unless a traffic control device allows a diagonal crossing. In other words, if you chose a creative path that slants sideways down the road, then you may be endangering yourself and others on the road while breaking the law.

O.C.G.A. 40-6-92 provides many clear-cut rules, but it also states some subtleties many Georgians may not be aware of. Even more importantly, do not dismiss your case off the bat just because the collision did not occur in a crosswalk. Drivers have a duty to avoid pedestrians in many situations—not just crosswalks. If you or a loved one has been hit by a motor vehicle while crossing the road, then you may have a personal injury case that needs the attention and care of a skilled Atlanta personal injury attorney. Please contact the Thomas Law Firm for further information regarding pedestrian rights or if you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of an errant driver.

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Thomas Law Firm
Located at 945 East Paces Ferry Road, Resurgens Plaza, GA 30326.

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