Sam C. Rumph, III
Pedestrians in Danger in Macon, Bibb County, Georgia
Two recent studies place middle Georgia pedestrians among the most endangered on Georgia roads.
Macon's WGXA Fox 24 television channel recently investigated and reported its findings on the air (see: Report shows Macon metro area deadliest in the-state for pedestrians).
But pedestrians do have rights on Georgia roads. You may remember Mom’s warning, “look both ways and don’t try to cross the street if a car is coming.” This is great advice. While it will certainly keep you out of trouble, this doesn’t mean, however, that drivers don’t have some serious responsibilities to pedestrians.
Crosswalks are special places for pedestrians and offer the most protection when crossing the street. Drivers must be especially watchful in these areas. For instance, drivers must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks when the crosswalk signal says it is ok for pedestrians to cross. Even if there is no signal, the driver must still yield to the pedestrian who is already in the driver’s lane of travel or on the driver’s side of the road if there is more than one lane. That being said, the pedestrian cannot step out into the crosswalk when an approaching car would be unable to stop in time. These same rules apply even if the crosswalk is unmarked. “Unmarked” crosswalks exist at intersections where you might expect a “marked” crosswalk to be.
Even if there is no crosswalk, and the pedestrian has safely entered the road, the driver still has to yield to the pedestrian. Finally, drivers must be careful in all situations to avoid colliding with any pedestrian in the road, even if the pedestrian has not been careful.
For a complete listing on what pedestrians’ rights and responsibilities are, see O.C.G.A. Title 40 Chapter 6 Article 5.