Articles Posted in Pedestrian Accidents

In a study released earlier this year, the Governor’s Highway Safety Association reported that Georgia ranked 16th in the nation in the number of pedestrian traffic fatalities. While every other type of traffic fatality decreased, pedestrian fatalities increased by 27% from 2007 to 2016. These are alarming statistics that underscore the importance of increasing our efforts to make sure our roadways are safe for everyone, not just motorists. However, these numbers also serve as a sobering reminder of the risks you face every time you go out for a walk. And of course, these risks include very serious injury and even death.

You May Be Entitled to Compensation

If you or a family member were injured in an accident as a pedestrian, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. However, in order to receive compensation, you need to prove that the driver owed you a duty – namely to drive in a manner so as not to cause you injury. You then have to prove that the driver breached that duty, typically by driving negligently. Finally, you have to prove that the driver’s breach of his duty to you caused the accident and thereby caused your injury.  

As more and more people move back into central cities from the suburbs, walking and biking have become much more popular means of getting around. Walking has several benefits over driving; it’s healthier for you, better for the environment, and much less stressful than dealing with traffic jams and road rage. While walking is generally a much safer way to get around than driving (which is by far the most dangerous activity regular people engage in), it’s not completely risk-free. Walking can be especially risky in many urbanizing neighborhoods in the Atlanta area because there are more people walking around, but the pedestrian infrastructure has not quite caught up to the demand. In fact, a 2014 study in the report “Dangerous by Design” placed the Atlanta metropolitan area at number eight on its list of the 10 most dangerous cities for pedestrians.

Below, we’ll take a look at pedestrian accident statistics and go over a few ways that you can protect yourself from being the victim of one.

Pedestrian Accidents in the US

You’ve probably heard the very old, very common saying: “Pedestrians have the right of way.” While it’s a good idea to always give pedestrians a little more leeway than you would ordinarily give to vehicles, it is not true that pedestrians always have the right of way. Laws regarding pedestrian right of way vary by state, but below, we will take a look at how the law works in Georgia.

When Pedestrians Have the Right of Way

  • Crosswalks: Pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks. In Georgia, drivers are required to come to a full stop (not just yield) when a pedestrian is within a crosswalk that is on the half of the roadway upon which the car is driving, or when the pedestrian is approaching and is within one lane of the half of the roadway on which the vehicle is traveling or turning onto. “Half of the roadway” in this case means all traffic lanes carrying traffic in one direction of travel. So if you are driving on a road that has five lanes (two going in each direction with a turn lane between them), and a pedestrian enters from the far side of the road walking across your path, you must stop as soon as they enter the turn lane–this is the lane that is within one lane of the half of the roadway on which you are driving.

Traveling by foot is not terribly common in the United States. In fact, only 11% of transport happens on foot, yet pedestrians are involved in 13% of vehicle-related fatalities. Each year, more than 4,000 pedestrians are killed in collisions with automobiles, while another 70,000 are injured. These are shocking statistics , but what is even more shocking is that the majority of pedestrian accidents are not caused by the behavior of drivers, but by the pedestrians themselves.

Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration , 73% of pedestrian fatalities occur in urban areas, which is to be expected, since foot travel is more common in more densely populated areas. Thus, being a pedestrian in an urban environment alone increases your risk of being involved in an accident, but there are a few more specific causes of pedestrian accidents. Some of these situations are the fault of the pedestrian, while others are the fault of the urban environment.

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