Here in Baltimore, as in many other cities and towns across the state, car-pedestrian and car-bicycle accidents occur on an alarmingly frequent basis. While every traffic accident can pose serious medical issues for those involved, pedestrian crashes are particularly difficult to walk away from. As Maryland automobile and trucking accident lawyers, we know the extent to which a victim of such a collision may be injured, prevention is the best approach.
However, with densely populated areas like Annapolis, Frederick and Gaithersburg, avoiding injuries or deaths due to car, truck and motorcycle accidents is a tall order. Although car-to-car and truck-to-car accidents are more frequent than car-to-pedestrian or truck-to-bicycle collisions, the latter can be many times more dangerous for the berson on foot or riding their bike.
According to reports, authorities in Anne Arundel County have been attempting to raise awareness in the area of pedestrian and biking safety; particularly in the eastern portion of Anne Arundel, which sees more than its share of fatal pedestrian crashes.
The latest statistics show that eight persons on foot and one cyclist were killed in motor vehicle crashes this year to date across the county; four of those deaths occurred in the earner half of the county, which is where police have been targeting pedestrian and bicycle safety following these fatal accidents.
Based on news items, police in towns such as Brooklyn Park, MD, were given the assignment to stop motor vehicle drivers, as well as walkers, jogger and bikers whenever an officer observed someone violating the rules of the road. This included not only motorists who may have been ignoring bike lanes, but also pedestrians who are seen jaywalking in the street. Issuing of warnings has generally been the order of the day; however officers have not been shy about writing tickets for more egregious offenses.
A great deal of the focus has been on those roadways where car-pedestrian crashes and car-bicycle accidents have already happened. According to reports, one of the higher risk areas on which police have been concentrating their attention is Hospital Drive near Crain Highway in Glen Burnie, MD. Another hot spot includes Ft. Smallwood Rd. in Pasadena, running all the way up to the Baltimore City line. Other roads receiving especially heightened attention include Ritchie Highway and Jumpers Hole Rd.
The people who compile accident statistics at Maryland’s State Highway Administration (SHA) have stated that responsibility for car-pedestrians accidents is split about 50-50 between the driver and the person on foot or riding a bicycle. One of the more concerning issues is the fact that, according to news reports, while overall fatal traffic collisions have been dropping for the last few years, incidents involving pedestrians deaths have not seen a similar decrease. Hence the latest effort to raise awareness of the problem.
Whether or not this kind of enhanced police effort will make a dent in the number of pedestrian deaths Maryland sees in a year depends, in part, on the public’s long-term memory. As the weather gets colder, fewer people may be out on foot and the immediate problem may subside until spring. Pessimists in the audience may argue that preventing these kinds of injury-producing and fatal collisions is a lost cause, while others believe that common sense and good judgment will help make out streets safer for everybody.
Anne Arundel police target pedestrian, bicycle safety in wake of fatal crashes, BaltimoreSun.com, September 8, 2011