As an Atlanta personal injury attorney, sometimes I do not think about the dangers of being a pedestrian. Things like taking my dogs for a walk or crossing the street when going to lunch in downtown Lawrenceville, Georgia, seem normal and insignificant. When I get in my car to back out of a driveway or parking spot, I almost subconsciously go through a routine of safety checks: putting my foot on the brake, buckling my seat belt, making sure passengers are buckled, checking the rearview mirror, etc.
We all recognize the need for safe operation of our vehicles and the potential dangers of driving a vehicle unsafely. Many people like me do not, however, think about the risks of being a pedestrian. According to the CDC, pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to be killed in a car crash on each trip. The CDC numbers are staggering. In 2015 there were:
- 5,376 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes in the United States (one death every 1.6 hours)
- Almost 129,000 non-fatal pedestrian emergency room visits for traffic crashes
Pedestrians lack the protection of steel, airbags, and safety belts that a car offers. And frankly, many pedestrians do not think as much about safety as they do when driving a car.
Please remember the following safety tips when walking near roadways:
- Always use sidewalks if they are available
- If walking at night, wear brightly colored, reflective clothing and carry a flashlight
- Always cross at crosswalks if they are available
- Always follow the instructions of crosswalk signals (do not dart into the road when the hand starts flashing the stop signal even when it gives a countdown of the seconds available until the hand stops flashing)
- If no sidewalk is available, walk as far from vehicular travel as possible on the left side of the road (facing oncoming traffic instead of with your back towards oncoming traffic)
A recent case in Gwinnett County handled by an attorney from Macon was lost when a jury assigned a deceased pedestrian 50% liability for a traffic crash when he started to cross the street at a crosswalk when the signal had changed from the walk signal to the flashing hand (not even the solid stop hand). The law of Georgia requires pedestrians to obey traffic control signals (see O.C.G.A. § 40-6-90) and the jury found both the driver and pedestrian equally at fault. Thus, there was no recovery in that case.
As areas around metro Atlanta become much more walkable and pedestrian friendly, keep in mind to exercise common sense safety tips to protect yourself and your family while out for a walk or a run.
If you or a loved one have been struck while a pedestrian, please contact injury lawyer Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation.
Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, handles serious personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. He is licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Georgia and is based in Lawrenceville, one mile down the road from the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. Call him today for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585. The information above is for informational purposes only as of the date of publication 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.