Stephen Hasner | Georgia Law | January 5, 2023
Walking is an excellent way to get to your destination while also getting some healthy steps in. When walking, you, of course, want to remain safe on the road. The topic of safety for walkers often involves jaywalking and whether it is legal and safe for walkers to do.
What Is Jaywalking and Is It Legal in Georgia?
Typically, jaywalking refers to illegally crossing the street in an area that doesn’t have a crosswalk, with little regard to oncoming traffic. Jaywalking is not a legally recognized term, and you will not see this exact word used in Georgia law.
Crossing the street outside a crosswalk is not illegal in Georgia. In most cases, crossing the street without the need to use a crosswalk is completely legal.
The primary legal issue with pedestrians crossing the street is the right of way. Depending on the situation, pedestrians may have the right of way, or alternatively, oncoming traffic may have the right of right.
Georgia law provides direction regarding the right of way for pedestrians.
The Law and Right of Way on Crosswalks
The law in Georgia states that drivers must stop at marked crosswalks to allow pedestrians to cross, giving pedestrians the right of way.
Drivers are not legally allowed to drive around pedestrians or cut them off. Failing to follow the law can result in legal consequences and potentially serious injury to the pedestrian.
However, It is important to note that pedestrians are not necessarily allowed to cross the street at any moment. If a car is so close that it would be impractical or impossible for them to yield, pedestrians need to hold off and allow the vehicle to pass.
Crossing the Road Without a Crosswalk
Crosswalks are not always available for pedestrians to cross the street. This is one of the primary reasons it is not illegal for pedestrians to cross the road outside a marked crosswalk. However, pedestrians do not have some responsibility to yield.
By law, pedestrians must yield the right of way to oncoming traffic unless they are already crossing under safe conditions. Pedestrians need to wait until it is safe enough to cross the road. If the pedestrian is already crossing the street, drivers must yield to pedestrians.
Consequences for Failure to Respect Pedestrian Laws
When negligent drivers fail to follow Georgia laws, there is always a risk of injuring pedestrians. Common injuries pedestrians are often at risk of suffering include:
- Broken bones
- Road rash
- Facial injuries
- Internal injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
Legal penalties for negligent drivers usually involve fines. However, should a negligent driver hit and seriously injure a pedestrian, consequences can be more severe, including jail time.
Safety Measures While Crossing the Street
Unfortunately, not every accident is avoidable. No matter how safe you try to be, driver negligence is a widespread issue. Employing safety measures can help minimize your chances of an accident and substantial injury.
When crossing the road, make sure to:
- Look both ways before entering the roadway
- Avoid suddenly darting into the road without first ensuring it’s safe to cross
- Avoid hiding in between parked cars, as this makes it difficult for drivers to see you
- Wear bright-colored or reflective gear when walking or running at night
While these preventive measures can’t ensure you’ll never fall victim to a pedestrian accident, they can help protect you.
You Have Legal Rights After You Suffer a Personal Injury
As a pedestrian, you have legal rights and protections. If you find yourself the victim of a pedestrian accident, take action as soon as possible. Seeking legal advice from an experienced attorney can put you on the right path to fair compensation for your injuries.
Contact the Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyers at Hasner Law, P.C. For Help
We serve in Fulton County, Chatham County, and its surrounding areas: