If you happen to be involved in an auto-pedestrian accident while driving in Rome, it may be easy for outsiders to put the blame on your by default. The pedestrian absorbing the full impact of the collision while you were protected by your car may cause many to assign you fault due to feeling sympathy for the pedestrian. Many come to us here at Cromartie Law in the same scenario, concerned that this assumption may be harmful to them when liability issues are brought up. Yet it should be understood that while pedestrians do have their own traffic rights, the law also imposes restrictions on them.
A violation of such restrictions could place the blame for your accident on the pedestrian. You must understand those rights and restrictions first, however, if you are to cite them. Georgia’s laws regarding people crossing the street in crosswalks are fairly straightforward: you (as a motorist) are required to yield to them when they are crossing in a marked crosswalk. However, a pedestrian cannot enter into a crosswalk you are approaching so suddenly as to make the possibility of you avoiding hitting them with your vehicle remote. Pedestrians are also required to yield the right-of-way to you and other motorists when crossing an area of the road not marked by a crosswalk.
Section 40.6.96 of Georgia’s Motor Vehicles and Traffic Code also states that when there is a sidewalk present, pedestrians are required to use it. Only when there is no sidewalk are they allowed to walk along the shoulder of the road, and even then they must remain as far away from the roadway as is practicable.
You can find more information on sharing the road with pedestrians throughout our site.