Being a pedestrian in Atlanta can be a bit scary and if you’ve ever been hit by car, or suffered an injury as a result of being on foot, then you understand the seriousness of being safe. Conversely, if you’re driving in metro Atlanta, you need to know the proper pedestrian laws to protect yourself as well as others. In short, knowing pedestrian laws is beneficial for both parties involved in the issue: drivers and pedestrians. Take a moment to know the basics of the law and avoid fines, court, and injuries.
Pedestrians Educating Drivers on Safety (PEDS) gives us a bit of history of Atlanta pedestrian laws. They remind us that in 1995, the Georgia legislature drafted a new law that mandates every driver “stop and stay stopped” for pedestrians. Prior to this, if someone were to be in a crosswalk while you were you driving, you merely had to yield to the person on foot. Now, you must stop and remain as such while people are crossing the street. Failing to follow this simple law can be detrimental for your driving record. Similarly, if you’re a pedestrian and you’re in the crosswalk, make sure people are taking the time to break for you.
So what about people who are jaywalking? Unfortunately for drivers in Georgia, the term “jaywalking” is not one recognized by the courts. This means that it’s actually legal in most places to cross the street without being in a crosswalk. There are a small number of caveats to this law, but they are few and very particular. This means that even if someone is crossing the street in a non-crosswalk designated area, you still need to stop and remain stopped while they’re in the street. On the other side, if you’re the person doing the walking, you need to know that you deserve to remain protected no matter where you are, but there are some exceptions. Check out the PEDS page above for more information.
If you feel that you’ve been wrongly treated as a pedestrian or a driver, call a lawyer who specializes in this issue. The laws for defending you on either side of a pedestrian injury case are complicated and much more nuanced than they indicate. Stay safe on and off the street, in and out of the court.