Nearly 100 pedestrians in Maryland are killed each year, but could this figure increase in the future? The most current statistics, from 2007, indicate that 110 pedestrian deaths occurred in the state, with 70 of those traffic fatalities occurring on state highways. With a struggling economy and people from all economic backgrounds looking for ways to save money, it’s important to consider that more and more people may be walking to work, school or the store than in years past.
This point was brought home by a recent editorial column in the Baltimore Sun. The writer described his experience of trying to negotiate a local roadway as a pedestrian while his vehicle was in the shop for repairs.
His main observation? Highway engineers gave little thought to the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists in the past. Almost everywhere in Maryland, the columnist explains, there are roads and highways where pedestrians are forced — by design — to walk in vehicle lanes. Maryland’s Route 2 and U.S. 40 were mentioned as two of the most deadly for pedestrians.
In a state of more than five million residents, 100 may not seem like a large number, but nobody should be subject to injury or death just for trying to get somewhere on foot. And these statistics are most likely slanted toward the poor or under-employed — folks who not only cannot afford to own a car, but who don’t even have the money for public transportation.
As a Maryland Car Accident Attorney, I have the ability to represent victims and their families in cases of auto-pedestrian accidents, including situations involving a fatality. Almost every one of these people were minding there own business, just going about their life and hoping that each passing motorist wasn’t distracted by a passenger or cell phone, intoxicated or driving under the influence of drugs, illegal or prescription.
Things have slowly improved. According to Maryland’s highway administration, pedestrian and bicyclist safety has been a top priority since the late 1990s. Before that, the administration was apparently forbidden by law to “squander” state funds on so-called luxuries, such as sidewalks. But the law was changed and many of the state’s highways have been retrofitted with sidewalks — currently 33 percent, with another two percent typically added each year.
This is a step in the right direction, but motorists and pedestrians alike must continue to be vigilant. If you or a family member has been injured as a pedestrian or in any other type of car accident, Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers has the experience to represent your rights in a court of law. Contact us for a free initial consultation to discuss your case.
Looking out for the folks on foot, BaltimoreSun.com, May 11, 2009