Across the city of Atlanta, sidewalk obstructions cause increased risks for the many pedestrians who navigate the city on foot. While city code does require that sidewalks be kept passable if at all possible, developers and others routinely block sidewalks for construction or repair.

One reason sidewalks can be so easily blocked is that there are sidewalks on the opposite side of the road that allow pedestrian traffic. Thus, the obstacle is said to not really impede foot traffic. In reality, though, a sidewalk on the other side of the street means pedestrians have to cross the street — putting them at risk for being involved in an accident with a motor vehicle.

If you are walking on a sidewalk in Atlanta and find your way obstructed, it’s a good idea to retrace your steps to an intersection with a crosswalk and cross there. Safety isn’t always expedient, however, which is why many pedestrians take the risk to cross in the middle of the block.

Advocacy group PEDS works to increase pedestrian safety in the city, and they sponsor an “Unblock the Walk” campaign. Specifically, they ask people who see blocked sidewalks and walkways to report it via 311 as a hazard and to write to city council representatives about the issues.

While doing your civic duty and reporting hazards is a fine action to take, it doesn’t stop all pedestrian accidents from occurring. If you are involved in a pedestrian accident — whether or not the sidewalk was blocked — you might have a claim for compensation if someone else was liable for your injuries.

Source: PEDS, “Unblock the walk!,” accessed June 17, 2016