| Read Time: 3 minutes | Personal Injury

On February 19, 2024, the Atlanta City Council passed a ban on right turns at red lights as part of a city ordinance.

The decision, approved in a 10-3 vote, does not apply to the entire city but a few key areas where pedestrian accidents frequently occur.

So, where can you turn right on red in Atlanta?

Our experienced Atlanta pedestrian accident lawyers explain everything you need to know about the new ordinance, where a right turn on red in the city is still legal, and when the ordinance goes into effect.

For a free personal injury consultation, please don’t hesitate to call (770) 988-5252 or fill out our online form today. 

When Does the Ordinance Start?

The Atlanta Department of Transportation will be responsible for putting up “no turn on red” signage at roughly 250 intersections by December 31, 2025, when the ordinance will go into effect. After the signs are up, motorists caught by law enforcement violating no turn on red could face a $70 fine. Until the ban goes into effect, a right turn at a red light is still legal in Atlanta as long as you yield to pedestrians and oncoming traffic.

What Parts of the City Have the Ban?

The new ordinance specifically applies to Downtown, Midtown, and Castleberry Hill. However, the city council specifies these areas in more detail. According to the new law, Downtown includes the area is bounded by North Avenue, I-20, Northside Drive, and I-75/I-85, which includes areas around the Peachtree Center, the Georgia State Capitol, and Castleberry Hill. For Midtown, the ordinance applies to the area bordered by I-85 in the north, I-75/I-85 to the west, North Avenue to the south, and Piedmont Avenue in the east. Piedmont Heights, Sherwood Forest, Ansley Park, and Tech Square are all within this area.

When Can You Turn Right on Red in Atlanta After This Ordinance Goes into Effect?

While this ordinance covers a large area, it doesn’t include any area around the Old Fourth Ward or any part of the city west of Northside Drive, Georgia Tech, or Atlantic Station. In other words, the law only impacts the most congested areas of Atlanta. 

However, it’s essential to remember that Georgia law requires proper signage for enforcement of the ordinance. So, if an intersection or light doesn’t have a “no turn on red” sign or something similar, drivers may turn right if the light is red. Of course, since the signs may appear on a rolling basis until the date the ordinance goes into effect, drivers should be extra careful to look for this signage.

Does This Also Apply to One-Way Streets?

Yes, this ordinance also applies to one-way streets. It even applies to one-way streets where only a left turn is possible. 

Why the City Is Concerned About Pedestrian Safety

Atanta has seen a 50 percent increase in pedestrian deaths since 2020, and 38 pedestrians died on Atlanta’s streets in 2022 as a consequence. The Atlanta Department of Transportation recently conducted a study of 65 crash reports involving serious injuries or fatalities between 2013 and 2022 and determined that more than 40% of the crashes were found to be the result of motorists turning right at red lights. Additionally, before this ordinance passed, the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety released some concerning statistics regarding pedestrian accidents in the state. They found that 58% of pedestrian crashes happened in Atlanta. And around 9% of all pedestrian accidents occurred in a crosswalk

Overall, pedestrian deaths in the US are at their highest numbers in 40 years. This coincides with the increase in pedestrian deaths in the late 70s after cities began allowing right turns on red lights as a fuel-saving measure. In 2021, pedestrian deaths exceeded the number of fatalities reported in 1982. While the rate of death compared to the total population is lower than it was at that time, it is steadily increasing, undoing four decades of efforts to reduce pedestrian accidents.

Injured in a Crosswalk or Pedestrian Accident? MG Law Is Here to Help

While this new ordinance may help reduce pedestrian accidents, it doesn’t necessarily stop a driver from being negligent. If you received an injury while walking in a crosswalk in Atlanta, you don’t have to go through recovery alone. At MG Law, our attorneys know the life-changing consequences of pedestrian accident injuries. That’s why we work on a contingency fee basis, which means you owe us nothing unless we win your case. We also work one-on-one with every client so your case gets the attention it deserves.

Call us at (770) 988-5252 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We’re here to answer any questions you have about your potential claim.

Author Photo

Amer Ahmad is a trial lawyer at MG Law. He represents seriously injured clients who are going through some of the most difficult moments of their lives. Amer’s practice includes representing families in wrongful death cases and individuals seriously injured by motor vehicle accidents, negligently maintained premises, and defective products. As a former insurance attorney who knows the insurance companies’ playbook, he helps MG Law clients even the playing field and avoid insurance tricks. Due to his experience and results, Amer has been named a Georgia Rising Star by Super Lawyers and Atlanta Magazine from 2019 until 2024. Only 2.5% of all lawyers in Georgia are selected as Rising Stars.