Regional Leaders Launch "Street Smart" Pedestrian Safety Campaign
Baltimore, MD (September 16, 2009) The Baltimore region averages 1,700 crashes involving pedestrians each year. In 2008, 44 pedestrians were killed. There were also 500 crashes involving bicycles, with 4 fatalities.
"Road safety is a concern that has no boundaries," said Baltimore Mayor Dixon, Vice Chair of the Baltimore Metropolitan Council. "It is important that we are united in our efforts to protect the lives of our residents on the streets and in the crosswalks."
In an effort to educate pedestrians, cyclists and drivers - and save lives - the Maryland State Highway Administration's Safety Office is partnering with the Baltimore Metropolitan Council to introduce the Street Smart traffic safety campaign in the Baltimore region. Street Smart is an element of SHA's "Choose Safety for Life" umbrella campaign and has been used successfully in the Washington, DC, area since 2002.
"It doesn't matter how you travel -- by car, by transit, by bicycle, or on foot -- at some point in the day, every one is a pedestrian," said Maryland State Highway Administrator and Governor's Highway Safety Representative Neil J. Pedersen. "Each year in Maryland, an average of 100 people are killed just trying to walk across a street. We appreciate the partnership with the Baltimore Metropolitan Council in campaigns such as Street Smart to raise awareness that lives can be saved by simply following the rules of the road and looking out for one another."
The Street Smart campaign in the Baltimore region includes billboards, print ads, transit ads, radio spots and posters, all carrying the message "Cross like your life depends on it." Pedestrians are urged to use crosswalks, obey signals, and look left, right and left again before crossing the street. Transit ads and posters were produced in English and Spanish. An additional handout carries the message "Use the crosswalks" in English, Spanish, Russian, French, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Amharic.
Education is only one component of Street Smart, though. Local police are also stepping up enforcement of safety laws in Baltimore City and throughout the region. Fines for jaywalking, speeding and failure to stop for a pedestrian can range anywhere from $80 to $500.
"BMC takes highway and traffic safety seriously," said Executive Director Larry W. Klimovitz. "In the past, BMC has been involved in campaigns targeting impaired driving, running red lights and, most recently, distracted driving. Crashes that injure and kill pedestrians and cyclists can be prevented if everyone uses common sense, practices common courtesy and obeys the law."
For more information about Street Smart, visit www.drivesafebaltimore.com.
Baltimore Metropolitan Council
Working to improve the quality of life in the Baltimore region.
The Baltimore Metropolitan Council (BMC) is the organization of the region's elected executives who are committed to identifying regional interests and developing collaborative strategies, plans and programs which will improve the quality of life and economic vitality throughout the region.