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Georgia city passed law to protect “vulnerable road users”

| Jul 1, 2020 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

People on pedestrian crossings, on foot and by bicycle

Nowadays, sharing the road is more important than ever. In big cities like Atlanta, vehicles of all sizes, pedestrians and bicyclists navigate the roads. Everyone has the responsibility to follow traffic laws and the rules of the road, but, unfortunately, the chances of a catastrophic accident are still high.

In response to this, a city in Georgia recently had a law go into effect to improve how all road users share the road.

Dunwoody city ordinance enforces high safety standards

In November 2019, the Dunwoody City Council passed the “vulnerable road users ordinance.” The ordinance went into effect in May 2020, and it specifically protects:

  • Pedestrians;
  • Bicyclists;
  • Skateboarders;
  • Scooter riders;
  • Motorcyclists; and
  • Road workers.

In other words, it protects the road users who are most at risk for suffering life-changing or fatal injuries in the event of an accident. This is especially critical, as pedestrian accident fatalities are at an all-time high across the nation.

What does this ordinance enforce?

To protect the individuals who are the most vulnerable on the road, the ordinance:

  • Requires vehicles to be at least three feet away from bicyclists;
  • Allows vehicles to pass bicyclists only in certain safe circumstances;
  • Bans drivers from throwing anything at vulnerable road users; and
  • Prevents drivers from making unsafe turns in front of these road users.

If drivers violate this ordinance, they could face up to six months of jail time and a fine of $1,000.

The Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports that this ordinance is the first of its kind. A few other states have similar laws, but Georgia does not have such a law at the state level. This particular ordinance only affects Dunwoody, but several lawmakers have been pushing for a state law with these same protections.

Regardless, this law is a reminder that it is critical for all road users to be aware of the risks they face and consciously share the road.