Pedestrians and bicyclists share our roads and parking lots. This is especially true in the area of Midtown and downtown Atlanta, where people often walk from their homes and workplaces to lunch and other errands. The laws in Georgia are set up to protect pedestrians who are utilizing a crosswalk, preventing motorists from “going around” and calling on them to come to a “complete stop” until the crosswalk is clear. The Atlanta Journal and Constitution reported on recent pedestrian-motorist accidents, some of which also involve bicyclists.
In just September 2017, police reports detailed more than 50 crashes between motorists and pedestrians or bicyclists.
Forty of the incidents involved pedestrians. Thirteen involved bicyclists. One involved a skateboarder. The incidents were handled by the Atlanta Police Department, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, and the Brookhaven Police Department.
Only one of the crashes resulted in a fatality.
Eight of the motorists were charged with failure to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk. Four were charged with failure to yield while turning left. Three were cited for hit-and-run, which is a felony punishable by no less than a year but up to five years in prison.
In 1995, Georgia changed the crosswalk codes, stating that motorists must “stop and remain stopped” for pedestrians. It is illegal for a driver to drive around or cut off pedestrians in a crosswalk. Outside a crosswalk, a pedestrian must yield to motorists.
In Georgia, a bicycle is classified as a vehicle.
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