Car accidents take the lives of pedestrians and bicyclists all too frequently on Maryland roadways. Compared to accidents between passenger cars and commercial vehicles, a person on foot has little defense against a two-ton motor vehicle. Pedestrian accidents, a common occurrence in cities like Frederick, Rockville and Hagerstown, can result in broken bones, internal injuries and head trauma.
As Maryland injury lawyers, I and my colleagues have seen the heartbreaking results of a serious pedestrian-car crash. Sadly, Maryland cities may be some of the more dangerous metropolitan areas for persons on foot. As alluded to previously, occupants of passenger cars have much more protection available to them, which can make a big difference in cases of collisions with larger motor vehicles.
When it comes to pedestrian safety, one Maryland columnist feels that Vegas is a better bet than most any city in this state. Based on an article in the Baltimore Sun, a visitor to “Sin City” saw that drivers out west may make more of an effort to give folks in crosswalks the right of way. On the flip side, jaywalkers are not tolerated in the gambling capital of the U.S. In fact, it’s rare to see a local resident crossing against a light, which may indicate how aggressively the local police enforce pedestrian traffic laws.
According to the author, Maryland just may be “anti-Vegas.” In what the writer refers to as a dysfunctional relationship between drivers and people on foot, crosswalks in Baltimore and other cities offer pedestrians some of the most dangerous places to walk in a metro area.
For those who question the author’s feeling on this subject, he cites a safety report that indicates Maryland is one of a handful of states that has the highest percentage of pedestrian fatalities — of all fatal traffic accidents, over 20 percent of those deaths involve pedestrians. Not surprisingly, the District also ranks in the top four, which show a pedestrian fatality rate of greater than two deaths per 100,000 residents annually.
Based on traffic accident statistics, in the years since 1999, between 91 and 116 persons on foot have died annually in this state. Some argue that Maryland’s excessively high death rate among pedestrians due to this state’s dense and highly urbanized geography. Experts also agree that cultural factors are also to blame. Comparing our state to California, these experts indicate that a person stepping off of a curb and into the roadway is more likely to see traffic come to a stop rather than whiz by.
Maryland has a pedestrian problem, BaltimoreSun.com, January 23, 2011