Pedestrian and cyclist-related collisions have been on the rise in the City of Atlanta and surrounding interstates throughout recent months. Two separate reports from myAJC reported of heightened amounts of injuries and deaths resulting from either drivers failing to yield to pedestrians or pedestrians crossing busy intersections without yielding to vehicles and in some instances, attempting to cross busy interstates like I-20. This increase in collisions is alarming for both commuters on the road and on foot. However, the overall safety of everyone who shares the road can improve upon understanding the guidelines and codes for vehicle-pedestrian interaction both on and off designated crosswalks.
One report released from myAJC at the beginning of November, there were over 70 reports of accidents involving either pedestrians or cyclists with motor vehicles during the month of October. While many of those accidents involved pedestrians, around 37% of the remaining incidents were linked to cyclists, children or individuals in wheelchairs. Despite the reports of collisions with pedestrians and cyclists, only 19 confirmed citations were directed towards drivers. The same myAJC article reported that 17 citations were given to pedestrians and cyclists and 15 were not cited as no fault was determined. The most common citation handed out to drivers was failure to yield with a pedestrian in a crosswalk, coming with at a hefty $132 fine as well as three points on your license.
A second report from myAJC released at the end of November revealed that pedestrian fatalities increased by 11% in 2017. The Georgia Department of Transportation expressed grave concern regarding this issue, with six pedestrian related collisions occurring on busy Atlanta interstates and highways within a two-week span. GDOT representatives speculated some may not realize the dangers of being a pedestrian on the interstate. While there were varying causes of the deaths in November, many of them were avoidable. myAJC has compiled a list of tips for how to safely cross streets and what to do if your car breaks down on the interstate. For more information click here.
While Georgia has one of the highest rates of pedestrian fatalities in the nation (myAJC), there are several rules and guidelines that drivers and pedestrians can follow to increase safety for both sides. The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety provides standard protocol on how drivers and pedestrians should proceed in the case of an encounter. When approaching a crosswalk, drivers must stop and yield to pedestrians until they completely cross to the other side of the road. Likewise, pedestrians cannot run through a crosswalk if the car clearly does not have ample time to stop for the pedestrian. When not in the proximity of a crosswalk, it is legal for pedestrians to cross the road as long as they yield to oncoming traffic.
If pedestrians and drivers better adhere to the GDOT’s protocol for yielding and crossing in roadways and crosswalks, perhaps the number of collisions in the City of Atlanta can decrease. More importantly, if you have an accident or break down on a busy interstate and cannot pull over, do not leave the safety of your vehicle. Wait for emergency personnel or law enforcement officials to arrive and escort you to safety. This will decrease the chances of you falling victim to a hit and run accident. If you or a loved one have suffered a personal injury as a result of a car accident, pedestrian accident or hit and run accident, call one of our attorneys at Schneider Hammers today. We are dedicated to winning you the compensation you deserve for you injuries.