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Fatal New Year's Day Pedestrian Accident Reveals Need for Improved Pedestrian Roadway Planning

January 29, 2012

A fatal pedestrian accident this past New Year's weekend serves as a sad reminder of the important role urban planning can play in pedestrian safety. A seven year-old boy from DeKalb County suffered fatal injuries when he was hit in a pedestrian accident while he was crossing the street with his step-father and siblings on New Year’s Day.

The step-father told police that they made it half-way across Flat Shoals Parkway when a car approached, according to media reports. The step-father attempted to pull his son out of the path of the oncoming vehicle, but his son pulled loose and ran into the path of the approaching vehicle. The initial accounts of the accident bare a disquieting similarity to the fatal pedestrian accident involving Rachael Nelson who was prosecuted for manslaughter after her child pulled free and ran into traffic while crossing Buford Highway.

The section of roadway where this fatal pedestrian accident occurred had no crosswalk or stoplights. The family was attempting to cross the street in front of Serenade Apartments where the boy’s mother resides. While it is not clear whether there will be charges filed against the driver, DeKalb Police Lt. Dane Cunningham indicated that there may have been nothing that the driver could have done to prevent the pedestrian collision.

Pedestrian accidents like these are becoming a growing problem in Atlanta and surrounding suburban areas. The issue of pedestrian safety in Atlanta has already been the subject of discussion on a national stage. Atlanta has been rated as one of the more dangerous cities in the U.S. for pedestrians. A key issue is that roadways that were built primarily for motor vehicles have become ill-suited for the growth of pedestrian populations in the suburbs of Atlanta.

This type of tragic accident occurs all too often in suburban Atlanta areas where many poorer residents reside that must rely on public transportation. Apartment complexes in these areas may be as much as a mile or more from a bus stop or intersection with crosswalks and stoplights. This issue was featured in a PBS documentary Blueprint America that highlights the dangers of Buford Highway. This documentary examined the dangerous design flaws of Buford Highway and indicated that "outdated, autocentric planning standards fail to serve an increasingly poor and carless suburban population."

Given the economy, the changes needed to improve pedestrian safety may not come immediately. It is predictable that pedestrians will continue to be hit by motor vehicles and suffer serious injury and wrongful death if roadway planning and construction do not focus on features that improve pedestrian safety. The Buford Highway documentary pointed out that some residents of poor suburban areas in the Atlanta area are faced with the unappealing choice of jaywalking or walking as much as a mile out of their way to get home or to a bus stop.

At Montlick and Associates, our experienced Georgia pedestrian accident attorneys understand the dangers that confront Atlanta pedestrians. We are committed to providing our best efforts for our clients as part of our continuing commitment to be the best pedestrian accident lawyers in Georgia. Our Atlanta pedestrian accident attorneys are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

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All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.