While not everyone gets a license to drive, we all are pedestrians at some point – waiting for the bus, crossing the street to get the mail, jogging through the neighborhood, strolling on the sidewalk downtown, searching for the car in the mall parking lot. Vehicles and pedestrians often jockey for the same space, with disastrous results. Sharing the road can be tricky, and pedestrians usually get the worst end of the deal, typically suffering serious injuries in any accident. National statistics reflect the enormity of the problem: 6,100 pedestrians were killed in 2013 by motor vehicles and approximately 160,000 pedestrian injuries required medical attention that year.
The story in Central Georgia is the same. Bibb County ranks second in the state for pedestrian fatalities, per capita. In response, local officials formed a nine-person Pedestrian Fatality Review Board that requires representatives of various agencies to collaborate about pedestrian fatalities to ascertain why they happened and how to prevent them from happening again. Details to be considered include lighting, speed limits, signals, signs, sidewalks, width of the road, and crosswalk conditions.
Urban planner Brad Belo, of the Macon-Bibb Planning and Zoning Commission, reports that more than a third of Macon’s population is not licensed to drive, about 12 percent of households do not own a car, and only 13 percent of Bibb County’s 1,200 road miles have sidewalks. Additionally, some main roads have large distances between crosswalks:
- Pio Nono Avenue – span between marked crossings is an average of 1,200 to 1,300 feet
- Eisenhower Parkway — span between marked crossings is an average of 1,200 to 1,300 feet
- Vineville Avenue — span between marked crossings is an average of 1,600 feet
- Gray Highway — span between marked crossings is an average of 2,400 feet.
A recent Georgia Department of Transportation road safety audit of Eisenhower Parkway showed dangerous conditions for pedestrians such as gaps in sidewalks, shoulder debris, faded crosswalks, and low lighting. Because pedestrian fatalities are linked with higher speeds, lowering speed limits can increase safety. However, since drivers do not always follow limits, constructing narrower lanes and roundabouts at intersections can force them to slow down. Pedestrian islands in the median and pedestrian bridges over busy thoroughfares also promote safety.
Pedestrians can help themselves by paying attention (don’t stare down at your phone while walking), wearing bright or reflective clothing, crossing only when your view of oncoming traffic is not blocked, and never relying on a car to stop. Whether you are a resident or a visitor, if you have been injured in a pedestrian accident or if you are the survivor of someone who was killed by a negligent driver, the pedestrian accident attorneys at the Mann Law Firm can help. To review your circumstances and discuss available legal options, call us at 478-742-3381 or fill out our online form. In addition to cases handled in Macon, we are prepared to handle claims on behalf of clients in Dublin, Warner Robins, Milledgeville and other Georgia communities. We would like to meet with you to talk about your case, and we are proud to offer free initial consultations.