Walk! As much as you can. …But sometimes it might get complicated.
Sidewalk is exclusively for pedestrians and no other mode of transport has advantage over people walking there! If you hear car honking from the back, do not rush and stand out of your way. This is your way, let the car wait for you!
Sidewalk is exclusively for pedestrians, therefore no cars should be there! If you see a car trying to park on the sidewalk tell the driver to find a free spot elsewhere and not to occupy pedestrians’ space… There are [a lot of] places in Tbilisi where parking on sidewalk is allowed. In that case, there’s not much you can do, because… well… absurd laws! ☹
If neither of the above strategies work and you even get hit by a car, just like it happened to me on when I was waiting for the green light to cross the zebra and got hit by the driver whom I was not letting to get on the sidewalk to park there, do not hesitate to report it to the police, because hitting someone deliberately with a car is a criminal case. Demand to start an investigation. Follow-up on every step the law-enforcements make dealing with your case and spread the word, contact the pedestrian’s right organization Iare Pekhit so we are aware of such incidents and help you with further proceedings, if necessary.
According to the Criminal Code of Georgia (Article 276. Violation of Traffic Safety or Maintenance Rule 1):
“Violation of a safety or maintenance rule related to driving a car, a tram, a trolley-bus, a tractor or any other mechanical vehicles, by the one who is driving this vehicle that through negligence has caused a less serious or serious damage to death or any other substantial damage,- shall be punishable by fine or by restriction of freedom for up to three years in length or by imprisonment for up to four years in length, by deprivation of the right to occupy a position or pursue a particular activity for the term not in excess of three years or without it.”
In my case, the driver might face up to 250 GEL fine, as I was told by the police.
Even though the law doesn’t seem to be in favor of pedestrians with such a low price tag on human life, reporting to the police might help government realize that this is a big issue and needs to be dealt with as soon as possible and with great responsibility. It may also help drivers to think about their selfish behavior and that they won’t get away with it so easily.
If you happen to be just a passer-by and see your fellow citizen being hit by a car on the sidewalk, do not pretend as nothing has happened and think that they are just having a personal fight, because you just happened to be a witness of a crime. Your testimony might be crucial to punish those who don’t mind harming others to satisfy their personal needs. Do not ignore the crime! Help fight against it! Ignoring equals being a criminal!
Let’s get our facts straight – sidewalks are for pedestrians, they are not parking lots!
P.S. The investigation is still ongoing. The driver was called into the police station but didn’t show up. His car will be taken away by the police and will remain there as long as the case is open.
P.P.S. Find the photo of the car that hit me and might hit other pedestrians as well if the driver is not punished properly.
Author: Giorgi Kankia