For anyone who supports pedestrian and bike safety in Georgia, the partnership between the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), Georgia Bikes, and Pedestrians Educating Drivers on Safety (PEDS) is welcome news.
What is the purpose of this partnership?
The goal of this partnership is to find ways to improve bike and pedestrian safety throughout Georgia. The three organizations have already collaborated on the Strategic Highway Safety Plan and are now in the process of developing plans to implement other initiatives, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
With a budget over $600,000, the immediate objectives include:
- Ensuring adequate training for law enforcement personnel and common carriers (e.g., bus drivers)
- Creating Pedestrian and Bicycle Action Plans in compliance with updated state laws
- Assessing crosswalks that do not have traffic signals
- Evaluating crosswalks as well as traffic signals near bus stops on roads with dangerous histories
What is the impetus behind this partnership effort?
Georgia's track record for pedestrian and bicyclist safety is disappointing. The League of American Bicyclists ranked it 25th in the nation for bike friendliness in 2015.
Additionally, and sadly, traffic fatalities for Georgia increased dramatically in 2015 as well. A total of 1,414 people died in Georgia traffic accidents last year (21 percent more than in 2014). Over 220 of the 1,414 involved pedestrians and/or bicyclists, according to GDOT.
What responsibilities do drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists have?
Although their share of the roadways may be vastly different, drivers, walkers and bikers all share the responsibility of keeping their roads safe for all.
- Drivers need to make sure they know and follow the rules of the road, are mindful of pedestrians and bicyclists, and commit to maintaining their focus on the drive. Georgia has very specific rules regarding crosswalks and pedestrians that drivers need to learn and adhere to.
- Pedestrians need to take steps to ensure their own safety by making sure they are educated about walker's rights, highly visible when walking at night, and not engaging in distracted walking.
- Bicyclists also need to take responsibility for their behavior. Knowing and following the laws for riders, staying as visible as possible, and making sure they perform a pre-ride bicycle safety check can all keep bikers safe.
While the hope is that these new partnerships will improve safety for bikers and walkers in Georgia, many people have suffered injuries in pedestrian and bicycling accidents and that number continues to grow.
If you or someone you care about sustained injuries in a pedestrian or bicycling accident, be sure to speak with a car accident attorney from the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. today. Contact Jason at 404-474-0804.