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Is Jaywalking Illegal in Georgia?

busy pedestrian intersection

We’re all pedestrians at some point in the day. Learning how to navigate Georgia’s streets and crosswalks is essential to pedestrian safety. It’s also important to understand the laws related to our walkways. One question we commonly hear is, “Is jaywalking illegal in Georgia?”

What is Jaywalking?

The term “jaywalking” refers to crossing the street outside of a designated crosswalk or in an area that doesn’t have a crosswalk. It can also mean crossing at an unsafe location, crossing where there is no traffic signal, or crossing when the traffic signal is red.

In Georgia, depending on the circumstances, there can be penalties for jaywalking – ranging from warnings to fines. The exact amount of the fines varies between cities and counties. There are some specific situations in which a pedestrian can cross without penalty, such as leaving a building or moving vehicle, when heavy traffic prevents safely crossing at a crosswalk, or when dealing with dangerous oncoming traffic.

While jaywalking does pose some serious safety issues, the underlying legal issue is whether the pedestrian has the right of way.

Georgia’s Right of Way Laws

Under most circumstances, it’s perfectly legal to cross a street without using a crosswalk. The question is whether pedestrians or nearby vehicles have the right of way. Georgia has several laws in place related to pedestrians and traffic safety. OCGA § 40-6-91 requires vehicles to stop to allow a pedestrian to cross the roadway within a crosswalk; however, pedestrians should not suddenly leave a curb and walk into the path of an oncoming vehicle. OCGA § 40-6-92 establishes that when a pedestrian is crossing outside a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk, the pedestrian should yield the right of way to oncoming traffic. Also, OCGA § 40-6-93 stipulates that all drivers should be careful to avoid a collision with any pedestrian on any roadway, no matter the circumstances.

In other words, pedestrians should use designated, marked, safe crosswalks whenever possible. It is okay for a pedestrian to use an unmarked crosswalk, but in that circumstance, the pedestrian should yield to oncoming traffic.

Pedestrian Safety in Georgia

When crossing a road or an intersection, there are a few things that pedestrians can do to keep themselves safe. This includes:

  • Being aware of your surroundings and looking both ways before crossing
  • Using crosswalks or intersections with traffic signals whenever possible
  • Avoiding crossing across roads with multiple lanes or high-speed limits
  • Avoiding walking between parked cars
  • Keeping a close eye on children
  • Wearing brightly colored clothes or reflective gear when crossing at night
  • Making eye contact with drivers before walking across the crosswalk or intersection

Have Additional Questions? Contact Burrow & Associates

While it’s typically not illegal to jaywalk in Georgia, it’s important to understand when pedestrians or vehicles have the right of way. Violating these traffic laws can lead to a warning or fines or cause serious traffic accidents.

If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian-involved accident, please reach out to our team of experienced personal injury attorneys. We can advise you of your best legal options and hold the at-fault party responsible for your injuries and financial losses. To schedule a free initial consultation, you can call (678) 323-2394 or use our online contact form.

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