The number of pedestrians has been increasing all throughout Georgia as more people choose to walk for health or recreational reasons. The City of Atlanta has especially taken extra efforts to become a more walker friendly town. Therefore, as a pedestrian, you should be aware of the protections and rights afforded to you under Georgia laws. Learning about these laws will help you obey traffic rules as well as keep you safe.
First of all, pedestrians have the right of way on a marked crosswalk in Georgia. If you are already waking on the crosswalk, then all motorists must stop and yield to you. The law requires a motorist to stop and remain stopped while the pedestrian is crossing the road. The motorist can only resume driving when the pedestrian has safely completed crossing. That means that a motorist can’t try to squeeze by you, or barely give you any room to squeeze by them while they are on the road.
However, the picture becomes different when you are crossing the road outside of a designated crosswalk. Now, it’s the motorist’s rights that take precedence, and you must yield to motorists who are driving. You, as a pedestrian, also have the duty to look in both directions to first make sure that the street is safe to cross – a lesson that we all learned as children. This doesn’t mean that a motorist can continue to speed towards you though. A driver still has the duty to avoid hitting a pedestrian if he or she is already in the process of crossing the street. A driver also must anticipate that a pedestrian could attempt to cross the street at any point, and has the duty to warn a pedestrian of their approach by honking the horn or give some other type of warning.