A child was hit by a vehicle backing out of a residential neighborhood on Stanton Road in southwest Atlanta on Oct. 22.
The driver got out of the car, checked on the child and gave him a popsicle when it did not appear the child was injured. The child was later take to Grady Memorial Hospital for injuries to his right foot and arm. The driver was cited for leaving the scene of an accident, a misdemeanor with fines up to $1,000 and up to a year in prison.
That accident is one of more than 70 police reports of pedestrian and cyclists accidents involving vehicles analyzed by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for the month of October. Of the reports, 49 involved pedestrians, 13 involved bicyclists, four people were in a wheelchair, three accidents involved a law enforcement officer and six involved children, according to reports obtained from the Atlanta Police Department, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, and the Brookhaven Police Department.
In total, 19 citations were given out to drivers, 17 to pedestrians and bicyclists, and 15 accidents did not receive a citation or fault was not clear to officers. It wasn’t clear in the remaing reports who was at fault or if citations were given out.
The most common citation was failure to yield with a pedestrian in a crosswalk, with 14 citations handed out over the month. It comes with a $132 fine and three points on your license according to the fine schedule for the Municipal Court of Atlanta. This citation was also the most common in September.
There were at least 11 hit and run scenarios in October, an increase of at least seven since last month.
There was at least one death.
One of the weirdest citations was for wearing a device, like headphones or earbuds, that impairs hearing while operating a bicycle. In Georgia, wearing those is illegal unless for communication purposes. The citation comes with a $132 fine and three points on your license, according to the fine schedule.
High-traffic areas in Midtown and downtown Atlanta recorded the most crashes.
In 1995, Georgia law changed the crosswalk codes such that drivers must “stop and stay stopped” for pedestrians, not just yield to them, according to the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.
These laws are also meant to keep pedestrians and bicyclists safe:
- It is illegal for drivers to drive around or cut off pedestrians in a crosswalk, even if there is room.
- When passing bicyclists, drivers must maintain a 3-foot passing distance between them. Drivers are allowed to cross the yellow centerline to pass a cyclist.
Outside of the crosswalk is a different story.
- A pedestrian crossing the road not in a crosswalk must yield the right of way to all vehicles unless they have already entered the roadway under safe conditions.
- Jaywalking is legal in most places, if the pedestrian yields to traffic.
- Pedestrians encountering a flashing don’t walk signal while crossing a road should not start crossing. It does not, however, give vehicles who are turning at a green light the right of way.
- Bicycles are legally classified as vehicles in Georgia.
The map below charts reported crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists in the Atlanta area. The reporting began in September 2017 and will be updated. Click each icon to read more about the crash, injuries and any citations or charges filed.