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Georgia Laws for Pedestrians

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Over the past several months there has been an increase in pedestrian and bicycle accidents. More people are spending their time outdoors during the pandemic to exercise and go on long walks. Most people feel confined to their homes and are nervous to head back to their gyms. This puts more pedestrians at risk, because of the volume of people outdoors and the number of distracted drivers on the road. With kids out of school, many are playing in neighborhoods and may not be aware of cars speeding by.

At some point in the day, everyone is a pedestrian, and unfortunately pedestrian fatalities remain high. There was a more than 3% increase in the number of pedestrians killed in traffic crashes in 2018, totaling 6,283 deaths. With more people out walking and biking on the sidewalks these numbers are estimated to increase drastically. Whether you’re a concerned resident, a parent or a caregiver, you want to do everything you can to make sure you, your loved ones and your neighbors can enjoy walking safely in your community.

Who has the right of way at a crosswalk and what is the definition under Georgia Law:

If used properly, the pedestrian always has the right of way at a crosswalk. They have to have the walk signal to cross the road safety. The driver is obligated to stop at a crosswalk anywhere when someone is trying to cross from the driver’s side.

O.C.G.A. § 40-6-91. Right of Way in Crosswalks:

(a) The driver of a vehicle shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching and is within one lane of the half of the roadway on which the vehicle is traveling or onto which it is turning. For the purposes of this subsection, “half of the roadway” means all traffic lanes carrying traffic in one direction of travel.

(b) 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.

(c) Subsection (a) of this Code section shall not apply under the conditions stated in subsection (b) of Code Section 40-6-92.

(d) Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle.

O.C.G.A. § 40-1-1. (10) Definition of a Crosswalk:

“Crosswalk” means (A) 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 (B) Any portion of a roadway at an intersection or elsewhere distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings on the surface.

Georgia Jaywalking Laws:

Jaywalking is when a pedestrian illegally walks outside a crosswalk. It is however legal to cross a street here in Georgia when there is no crosswalk as long as the pedestrian yields to traffic. It becomes illegal when someone is crossing an intersection diagonally due to ignoring and dismissing crosswalk laws.

O.C.G.A. § 40-6-92. Crossing roadway elsewhere than at crosswalk:

(a) Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right of way to all vehicles upon the roadway unless he has already, and under safe conditions, entered the roadway.

(b) Any pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided shall yield the right of way to all vehicles upon the roadway if he uses the roadway instead of such tunnel or crossing.

(c) Between adjacent intersections at which traffic-control signals are in operation, pedestrians shall not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk.

(d) No pedestrian shall cross a roadway intersection diagonally unless authorized by official traffic-control devices. When authorized to cross diagonally, pedestrians shall cross only in accordance with the official traffic-control devices pertaining to such crossing movements. 

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