Traffic laws intended to keep pedestrians safe from injury.

Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, is licensed to practice law in the State of Georgia. Based in Gwinnett County, he handles serious injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. Call him for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585.

Georgia law has specific provisions in Title 40, Chapter 6, Article 5 of its code applicable specifically to the rights and duties of pedestrians. We all know the common sense instructions such as look both ways before crossing the street, or look left, right, and left again. This post is intended to give some basic information on Georgia law and common sense advice to protect pedestrians.

When crossing a street always use a crosswalk and stay within the crosswalk when one is available. One code section dealing with the use of crosswalks is O.C.G.A. § 40-6-91. That code section requires that “no pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impractical for the driver to yield.” That is not only the law, but good safety advice. If a pedestrian suddenly enters a roadway in front of an oncoming car, even at a crosswalk, the pedestrian would likely be at fault and not the driver.

When can a pedestrian enter the roadway at a crosswalk? O.C.G.A. § 40-6-91(a) requires a driver of a vehicle to stop when a pedestrian has entered at a marked or unmarked crosswalk (O.C.G.A. § 40-6-1(10)(A) includes in the definition of crosswalk “that part of a roadway at an intersection included within the connections of the lateral lines of the sidewalks on opposite sides of the highway measured from the curbs or in the absence of curbs, from the edges of the traversable roadway,” or, in other words, a crosswalk does not have to always be marked) when the pedestrian is “upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling” or “within one lane of the half of the roadway on which the vehicle is traveling or onto which it is turning” (this code section applies only to crosswalks -- it can be an offense to jaywalk across a road at an area that is not a crosswalk depending on the specific circumstances of the road). In summary, vehicles on the side of the roadway of the pedestrian must stop and vehicles going the other direction or turning onto the road must stop when the pedestrian is within one lane of the other side of the road. At all times, however, the pedestrian must not suddenly enter the road.

Many people do not realize that Georgia law requires pedestrians to obey traffic control devices. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-90 requires pedestrians to follow official signals, for example, one cannot cross on a “no walk” sign or symbol. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-92 includes requirements that at a point on a roadway between two intersections with official traffic control devices a pedestrian cannot cross the road except for at the intersections and that pedestrians cannot cross intersections diagonally. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-96 provides for further requirements that pedestrians use sidewalks when they are available unless no car is within 1,000 feet or when the sidewalk presents an imminent threat to the bodily safety of the pedestrian. It further requires that when no sidewalk is available pedestrians must remain on the shoulder and not the roadway when a shoulder is available, and remain as far away from the edge of the roadway as practicable. It also requires that on roads with no sidewalk or shoulder available that pedestrians stay as near as possible to the outside edge of the roadway, and, on two-lane roads it requires pedestrians to walk only on the left-hand side.

The information above is by no means fully inclusive as to all the duties of pedestrians in Georgia. In addition to following the laws to remain safe, please keep in mind other safety tips. At night use a flashlight and wear reflective clothing. Do not walk or run with earphones in as I have handled a case where a pedestrian was listening to music and was struck by a car. It could have potentially been avoided if he was alert to all surroundings. Many communities in Georgia have become much more walkable in recent years. That is a good thing, but we always need to exercise good safety practices as pedestrians. We all know there are many negligent drivers out there who are in a rush, are not paying attention, or who simply ignore basic rules of the road. Please stay safe.

If you or a loved one have suffered an injury or been killed while a pedestrian in Georgia and you would like to speak with an attorney contact Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation.

The information above is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the reading of it form an attorney-client relationship. Always consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.