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Pedestrian Collisions FAQ

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1)  What are common characteristics to pedestrian collisions in Georgia?

 

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety regularly studies pedestrian collision data and has identified some common characteristics. 

 

These include

 

  • Pedestrian collisions more often involve SUV’s and other high horsepower vehicles;

  • Pedestrian collisions mostly happen at night;

  • Pedestrian collisions are more likely to occur in urban and suburban areas;

  • Pedestrian collisions are higher outside of intersections

 

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2)  When can the government be responsible for a pedestrian collision?

 

The local government or agency responsible for maintaining the roadway may be responsible for a pedestrian collision when the road design and/or maintenance contributed to the collision. 

 

This may include:

 

  • Poorly lit roadway;

  • No sidewalks or shoulders in high foot-traffic areas;

  • Poorly designed intersections and roadways;

  • Blocked line of sight for drivers at pedestrian crosswalks;

  • Malfunctioning stoplight or pedestrian control signals;

  • Work zones that fail to provide safe alternative to sidewalk; and

  • Prior knowledge or notice of high likelihood of pedestrian collision areas.

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3)  Are bicyclists considered pedestrians?

 

Bicyclists are not considered pedestrians in Georgia. 

 

Georgia statute specifically defines a pedestrian as “any person afoot” and specifically including “persons standing, walking, jogging, running, or otherwise on foot.”

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4)  When are Pedestrians at fault for car accidents?

 

Pedestrians can be partially or fully responsible for causing a pedestrian collision car accident in several scenarios. 

 

Generally, any time the pedestrian violates Georgia’s statutes, then there is fault to be shared.  Also, any time a pedestrian is negligent, they can be at fault for the collision. 

 

This usually occurs when the pedestrian:

 

  • Has earbuds in their ears;

  • Texting while walking;

  • Ignoring crosswalks and other pedestrian control signals;

  • Walking on a roadway while impaired by alcohol or drugs;

  • Not looking both ways before crossing a street;

 

Pretty much anytime a pedestrian is distracted and ignores the vehicles, signs, and intersections around them, they can share in the negligence.

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5)  What duties do drivers owe pedestrians?

 

Georgia statutes impose duties on drivers to take every precaution to avoid a pedestrian collision, including:

 

  • Generally, a driver must exercise due care to avoid a pedestrian collision;

  • Driver must provide a warning to pedestrians, such as sounding a horn, when necessary;

  • Must exercise proper precautions for identifying children in the roadway;

  • Drivers must exercise proper precautions for identify anybody that is confused, incapacitated, or intoxicated and in the roadway;

  • Drivers must stop their vehicle at crosswalks when pedestrians are crossing;

  • Drivers are not allowed to pass at other drivers who are stopped at crosswalks while pedestrians are crossing;

  • Drivers must always yield the right of way to blind pedestrian;

  • Drivers must stop vehicle at crosswalks for pedestrians when “WALK” symbol is displaced;

  • Drivers must use caution when yellow light is flashing at intersection;

  • Drivers must yield right of way to pedestrians on sidewalks when emerging from alleys, buildings, private road, or driveway; and

  • Drivers can’t park a vehicle on a sidewalk, on or within 20 feet of a crosswalk.

 

Otherwise, drivers owe a duty not to be negligent, and other violations of the rules of the road, such as speeding, distracted driving, or impaired driving, can be a violation of a duty to a pedestrian.

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6)  Is a driver required to stop when a pedestrian is in a crosswalk?

 

In Georgia, a driver must stop and remain stopped when a pedestrian is in a crosswalk.  It’s illegal for a driver to try and “beat” the pedestrian through the intersection. 

 

The driver must wait on the pedestrian to cross the roadway.

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7)  When is a pedestrian at-fault for causing a collision after entering the roadway?

 

It can and will be argued that a pedestrian is at fault for entering the roadway if they do so suddenly and in the path of a vehicle that is so close that the driver is unable to stop.

 

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8)  Are vehicles allowed to pass other vehicles at pedestrian crosswalks?

 

When a vehicle is stopped at a crosswalk to allow a pedestrian to cross, other vehicles may not pass the stopped vehicle.

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9)  What duty do pedestrians owe drivers in Georgia?

 

Georgia has memorialized several statutes that impose duties on pedestrians to exercise due care to avoid pedestrian collisions, including:

 

  • Pedestrians cannot run, dart, or suddenly enter the roadway immediately infront of a vehicle;

  • Pedestrians must yield to traffic when not crossing at a crosswalk;

  • Pedestrians cannot cross a roadway intersection diagonally;

  • Pedestrians must use crosswalks when between to intersections with stoplights and crosswalks;

  • Pedestrians must avoid roadways and their shoulders while drunk or impaired by drugs;

  • Pedestrians must use sidewalks when provided;

  • When no sidewalks are available, pedestrians allowed to stand or walk on shoulder as far as practicable from roadway;

  • When no sidewalk or shoulder is available, pedestrians must walk on left side of the road and on edge of roadway;

  • Pedestrians must yeild the right of way to traffic when walking on roadways;

  • Pedestrians cannot cross a closed gate or barrier;

  • Pedestrians cannot start crossing an intersection when “DON’T WALK” symbol is flashing;

  • Pedestrians cannot idly stop and stand within an intersection or crosswalk.

 

Pedestrians also owe a duty not to be negligent, such as being distracted, texting while walking, or listening to load music through headphones.

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10)  Is it legal to cross a street outside a crosswalk?

 

In some circumstances, it is legal to cross a street in Georgia outside of a crosswalk as long as the pedestrian yields to traffic. 

 

In other words, there are no jaywalking laws prohibiting this action.  However, there are specific exceptions.

 

For instance, a pedestrian not using a crosswalk must yield the right of way to traffic.

 

Or, when two adjacent intersections have stoplights, pedestrians must use the crosswalks.  This is common in large, urban settings.

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11)  Is a pedestrian allowed to cross a roadway intersection diagonally?

 

A pedestrian is not allowed to cross a roadway intersection diagonally unless allowed by a traffic control device.

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12)  Is a pedestrian allowed to walk along a shoulder if a sidewalk is provided?

 

Georgia statutes require pedestrians to use sidewalks when provided unless there is no motor vehicle within 1,000 feet of the pedestrian or if the sidewalk poses a hazard.

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13)  When is a pedestrian allowed to walk on the shoulder of a roadway?

 

A pedestrian is required to walk on the shoulder of a roadway when there is no sidewalk available.  But, the pedestrian must be as far away as practical from the edge of the roadway.

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14)  When is a pedestrian required to walk on the left side of the road?

 

A pedestrian is required by law to walk on the left side of the road (and against traffic) only when it’s a two-lane road and there is no sidewalk or shoulder to walk upon.

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15)  What are Georgia statutes that may apply to pedestrian accident cases?

 

Some Georgia statutes that may apply to a pedestrian accident case include:

 

  • O.C.G.A. § 40-6-91 (Pedestrians’ Right of Way in Crosswalks)

  • O.C.G.A. § 40-6-92 (Crossing Roadway Other Than at Crosswalks)

  • O.C.G.A. § 40-6-93 (Due Care of Drivers)

  • O.C.G.A. § 40-6-94 (Blind Pedestrians);

  • O.C.G.A. § 40-6-95 (Drunk/Impaired Pedestrians)

  • O.C.G.A. § 40-6-96 (Pedestrians on Highways)

  • O.C.G.A. § 40-6-22 (Pedestrian-Control Signals)

  • O.C.G.A. § 40-6-23 (Flashing Red and Yellow Signals)

  • O.C.G.A. § 40-6-144 (Driver Emerging from Alley, Building, Private Road, or Driveway)

  • O.C.G.A. § 40-6-203 (Prohibited Stopping, Standing, and/or Parking)

  • O.C.G.A. § 40-6-205 (Obstructing Intersections)

  • O.C.G.A. § 04-6-208 (Prohibitions in Parking Lots)

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16)  What is negligence per se and how is it used in pedestrian collisions?

Negligence per se is when a person violates a statute or regulation designed for the safety of other individuals. 

 

If someone is injured as a result of the safety statute’s violation, the negligent individual is legally recognized as being “per se” negligent and no further proof need be shown.

 

This is important because pedestrian collisions almost always involve the violation of a safety statute. 

 

However, this theory of negligence cuts both ways.  If the pedestrian did something in violation of one the statutes, this would be used as a defense.

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17)  How can pedestrians avoid collisions and injuries?

Some helpful tips that pedestrians can follow to help avoid collisions and the resulting injuries include:

  • Avoid dark-colored clothing at night;

  • Put away the music and the telephone;

  • Always look both ways; and

  • Cross at designated crosswalks, if possible.

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18)  Will my uninsured/underinsured insurance cover pedestrian collisions?

If you have uninsured/underinsured car insurance coverage for your own vehicles, it should cover your injuries if you were a pedestrian hit by a vehicle.

 

This often comes in to play for hit-and-run collision when the at-fault driver cannot be identified. 

 

It also helps an injured party if the at-fault driver is known, but their insurance isn’t enough to cover your damages.

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