We’ve stated in this space before that Maryland’s pedestrians and bicyclists are typically put in dangerous circumstances when crossing roadways in major metropolitan areas such as Frederick, the District, Bowie and Hagerstown. Given the densely populated nature of our state and surrounding cities and towns, it should come as no surprise that persons on foot or cycling tend to be hit by cars and delivery trucks more often than people in other states.
As Baltimore personal injury attorneys and auto accident lawyers, we frequently read of innocent victims being killed or maimed by vehicular traffic across our state. Similarly, pedestrians in the Washington, D.C., areas are no strangers to traffic collisions, many of which can cause serious injuries including broken arms and legs, cuts and deep lacerations, internal bleeding and closed head trauma.
What’s heartening is that more and more people are waking up to the inherent dangers that confront citizens on a daily basis. According to a news article, a campaign was initiated not long ago that seeks to protect pedestrians and cyclists from automobile and trucking-related accidents in D.C. We can certainly hope that such an effort will also net positive results here in Baltimore and elsewhere across the state.
The statistics are staggering. As reported, on average three people every day are hit by a car or commercial truck in our nation’s capital. Also alarming is that more than 80 pedestrians and bicycle riders were killed in car-pedestrian traffic collisions on D.C., Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland roads during 2010. A sobering thought the next time you find yourself crossing the street in this part of the country.
The campaign now afoot to help protect pedestrians and bicycle riders is apparently in reaction to the distressing rise in pedestrian accidents. According to news articles, the total number of bicyclists and walkers who where hit by motor vehicles in 2010 was up by a shocking 25 percent over 2009 figures.
According to reports, the new springtime campaign, known as “Street Smart,” will feature all-new advertisements warning of the dangers to those on foot or bike. Conversely, the ad campaign will also make a point to tell pedestrians and cyclists alike that they too could be ticketed by police if they themselves do not obey traffic laws.
Still, the main concern is the rise in the accident rate for people on foot and those pedaling around the capital. Based on the latest statistics, almost 450 bike-car crashes were reported by police in D.C. alone. That figure may have been higher, however the total was based on those collisions that were serious enough for the parties involved to call 911 for help.
Experts suggest that one of the contributors to the increase in bicycle-automobile crashes may have something to do with the reportedly 68-percent increase in cycling activity over the last several years. Similarly, with the greatest number of pedestrians in the region, the District saw about 1,300 car-pedestrian accidents where an ambulance was called to the scene, according to figures out fo the Washington, D.C., fire department.
Campaign to protect pedestrians, cyclists as number of crashes in the District rises, WashingtonPost.com, March 30, 2011