DUNWOODY, Ga. (CBS46) -- The city of Dunwoody is trying to make its roads safer for those who use them. Council members are working on an ordinance that would require drivers to move over a lane when passing a cyclist or pedestrian.
The ordinance was prompted by an incident that happened near North Peachtree and Tilly Mill roads. A middle school student was almost hit by a car while walking home from track practice.
Dunwoody City Council member Tom Lambert is sponsoring the "vulnerable road user" ordinance.
“First of all, just to define what a vulnerable road user is; it’s basically anyone not protected by the steel cage of a car, so pedestrians, cyclists, people on scooters.”
Construction workers, public safety officers and those using wheelchairs would also fall under vulnerable road users.
Lambert said the ordinance aims to both punish and educate drivers who get too close to vulnerable road users.
“With enhanced fines, mandatory court appearances, possible jail time...”
On a roadway with two lanes or more, drivers would have to move into the next lane when passing a "vulnerable road user." On a two-lane road, drivers would still be required to move into the next lane if there is not at least three feet of space between them and a "vulnerable road user." If there is ample space, the driver would still be required to slow down.
“One of the problems is that people in a rush will try to scoot by when it’s not really safe to do so, when that three feet isn’t there,” Lambert told reporter Ashley Thompson.
Tim Stone, who walks his dog Scarlett every day, approved of the ordinance, saying it would protect people like him.
“Anything that’s going to prevent accidents or harm to individuals I think is certainly a good idea. If it means just switching a lane, I don’t think that’s too hard for people to do.”
Others, like Vickie Boudreau, have reservations
“If you have to get over, there’s going to be a lot of accidents because of this,” she said.
The ordinance is not finalized yet. A city attorney is reviewing it and if necessary, the city will make changes. The penalties and fines have not yet been set. Lambert hopes it will be finalized in time for the city’s next council meeting.