It’s not surprising that automobile accidents involving pedestrians can often be fatal, and at best sometimes inflicting serious bodily injury to the person on foot. Whether you are a walker, jogger or runner, you know the risks you take every time you cross a busy street. City’s like Baltimore, Annapolis and the District can be dangerous for individuals hoofing it for health or just to save a few dollars in parking fees or bus fare.
As a Maryland auto accident attorney, the emphasis on safety can never be too high. I and my colleagues have seen the result of too many terrible car-pedestrian crashes to feel any other way. It’s difficult to imagine no longer being able to walk with your spouse or push your grandchild in her stroller, but these realities are just a part of life for some victims of traffic accidents.
A recent editorial pointed out the seriousness of having clear and easy-to-use pedestrian walkways in a city. The complaint in this case involves Prince George’s County’s apparent failure to clear the county’s pedestrian pathways following the recent bout of heavy snow and bad winter weather that has pummeled the East Coast. The result of this poor response according to the author? People, pedestrians, are being killed by trucks and automobiles.
Case in point, in mid-February a 32-year-old electrical engineer who worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and resided in Temple Hills, was hit by a car from behind and killed on the spot. The hit-and-run driver left the scene after hitting Asa Fukuhara as he walked the less than half-mile distance from his apartment to the Naylor Road Metro station. Why? Furukawa was walking on the street because the sidewalks were covered with snow.
The sad fact in this case is that Mr. Furukawa died not as the latest weather system dumped tons of snow on the city, but it was a full eight days after that latest storm. That storm provided a combined snowfall of more than 30 inches over the course of six days, which apparently broke every previous record.
Based on the editorial, by the time of Mr. Fukuhara’s untimely death, the federal government had been back in operation for six days and the Metro system had resumed normal operations at all stations and on all bus routes that same day.
The bottom line, as explained in the editorial, is that residents of the county should expect that pedestrian pathways be cleared within a reasonable timeframe. Failure to clear pedestrian and bicycle paths promptly in and around transit station areas, schools, bus stops, and other areas reflects what this writer termed an “overall pattern of disregarding the safety and comfort needs of citizens who either choose not to or are not able to travel in automobiles.”
Prince George’s must ensure pedestrian and rider safety, GreaterGreaterWashington.org, February 22, 2010