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'More Work Remains' to Protect Pedestrians as Deaths Continue

Pedestrian injuries and deaths rates have jumped up and down since 2005, according to a report from Montgomery County police.

 

Roads may not be much safer for pedestrians in Montgomery County now than they were nearly a decade ago, despite huge, recent efforts from government and police to curb deaths, data released by police suggests.

Last year, six people died after being hit by cars in the county, which was a significant decrease from the previous seven years when the number ranged from 10 to 19. Still, seven pedestrians have already died in 2013, meaning that downward trend will not continue this year. 

Pedestrian safety was lauded in a release from county government Monday as a hallmark of County Executive Isiah Leggett's administration. According to the release, fewer people are involved in severe collisions that result in serious injury or death. Those numbers, too, showed a drastic dip for 2012 (85 such collisions) with slightly fluctuating numbers for previous years, ranging from 104 to 142.

Data supplied by the Montgomery County Police Department: 

 

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Total collisions

434

 

429

412

444

454

436

399

423

Serious injury or death

130

142

119

115

132

113

104

85

Deaths

 

10

18

17

19

14

13

11

6

"In 2007, my Pedestrian Safety Initiative outlined a blueprint for reducing pedestrian collisions in Montgomery County, and I am gratified that the plan appears to be working," said Leggett in a statement. 

Leggett said that he's focused on targeted areas where people are more likely to be hit by cars—school zones and areas noted for previous incidents.

However, collisions for "High incidence areas" were also a mixed bag with some roads, like Wisconsin Avenue, showing a great dip in the number of collisions and others, like Colesville Road, increasing. The county said the total number of collisions in the combined ten areas decreased by 37 percent.

The blame for collisions may also be shifting, county data showed, with drivers at fault 59 percent of the time in 2012, compared with previous years where drivers and pedestrians were "equally at fault," the government release said. 

Earlier this month, police responded to an increase in complaints about drivers not yielding to pedestrians with a series of staged pedestrian "stings" through high-incident areas of the county in Aspen Hill, Bethesda, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Rockville, Silver Spring and Wheaton.

Leggett's release said that 2013's pedestrian deaths show that "more work remains to be done." 

Read more: 

(See a map, above, of where and when the pedestrian and bicyclist incidents occurred.) 

deena w May 28, 2013 at 11:52 AM
As a driver who travels the Veirs Mill Rd. pedestrian slalom between St. Catherine Laboure Church and the Burger King each day, I congratulate all the drivers who manage to avoid striking anyone. My particular favorites are the strollers pushing moms, the traffic weavers and those wearing all black at night. I think we drivers are doing an excellent job keeping the kills to a minimum.
Ian Brett Cooper May 28, 2013 at 03:23 PM
"Keeping kills to a minimum"? What are you smoking? It never takes long, does it, for the motorists to crawl out and start blaming the victims for the killings that happen on our roads. Shameful! Let's not forget that motorists are STILL required by law to AVOID hitting pedestrians, no matter how dark their clothing, what they happen to be pushing (moms with baby carriages are allowed to cross the road) and how stupidly they're acting. People walking around are not operating a vehicle that weighs 2 tons at speeds of up to 70mph. The greatest responsibility rests with those who are the most likely to do damage. If motorists would simply drive carefully, obeying the speed limit and modifying speed based on the situation, pedestrian deaths wouldn't happen. It's when motorists just assume that they have an entitlement to the road, and that everyone else needs to watch out, that people end up getting killed.

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