Car accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists are among the most serious personal injury cases. Injuries caused by colliding with a car when out walking or riding your bike can be catastrophic or even deadly.
According to statistics, in 2017, there was a significant increase in pedestrian deaths across the United States. Statistics also indicate that every year, 2% of car accident fatalities involve bicyclists.
Like all states, Georgia has traffic laws designed specifically to protect pedestrians and bicyclists.
What are Georgia’s Laws Regarding Pedestrians?
Like all accidents, when it comes to car accidents involving pedestrians, the fault is not always only on one side. In other words, it is not always entirely the driver’s fault.
Sometimes the accident can be caused by the pedestrian himself (or herself). At other times, it can be extremely difficult to parse out whether it was the driver or pedestrian who was primarily at fault.
Given this, the tenor of Georgia’s traffic laws is to place responsibility for pedestrian safety on both drivers and pedestrians.
For example, the law requires all pedestrians to obey all traffic laws and traffic signals.
On the other hand, it requires all drivers to exercise due care to avoid hitting a pedestrian, including, among other things, by honking the horn when necessary.
Georgia’s traffic laws also encourage (they do not mandate) pedestrians to cross at a crosswalk.
But pedestrians who do not cross the street at a crosswalk have a duty to yield to oncoming cars (unless the pedestrian was already safely in the crosswalk).
Prior to 1995, drivers only had to “yield” to pedestrians in a crosswalk. Now, however, they must “stop and remain stopped” for any pedestrian in the crosswalk.
That does not mean, however, that pedestrians can just jump into the crosswalk and expect oncoming cars to stop for them. They can’t. If a car is coming, the law prohibits pedestrians from leaving the curb and walking into its path when it is evident that the oncoming car is not going to be able to stop.
What about Bicycles?
Bicycles are defined as “vehicles” under the applicable law. Thus, all cyclists are required to obey all the same rules and regulations as motor vehicles.
In addition, there are some rules that apply only to cyclists. For example, cyclists 16 or older must be wearing a helmet. The parents of any child under the age of 12 riding a bike are held responsible if the child is not wearing a helmet.
Cyclists who violate the traffic laws are held to the same level of responsibility as the driver of a car.
Motorists also have their own duties regarding cyclists.
Drivers must stay alert and are required to yield to bicyclists and to maintain a distance of at least 3 feet (when feasible) when passing a cyclist.
As our roads get more and more crowded, it is essential that we all stay aware of our responsibilities for exercising caution and sharing the road.
Personal Injury Attorneys in Cumming, Georgia.
The personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark Weinstein, P.C., are here to help you. We serve clients in Atlanta, and in a number of counties throughout Georgia, including: Clayton County, Cobb County, Dekalb County, Douglas County, Fulton County, and Paulding County, among others. To find out how we can help you, call us at: 770-888-7707. Or contact us here.