BALTIMORE, MD (August 27, 2013) - The Baltimore Metropolitan Council (BMC) will kick off our fall Street Smart campaign to reduce pedestrian crashes by educating those walking, driving, and cycling about the rules of the road. Street Teams will be deployed at 15 locations around the Baltimore region in the coming weeks to distribute pedestrian and driver tips as a reminder that crashes can easily be avoided if everyone puts safety first. The Street Teams will begin in Harford County today, Tuesday, and will continue in Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties and Baltimore City through September 12.
"At some point in the day everybody is a pedestrian, whether it's walking to school or from the car to the office," said Larry Klimovitz, executive director of the Baltimore Metropolitan Council. "There needs to be an expectation of safety when we travel. Not just on highways, but the second we step outside, whether it's our front door or our car door."
Street Smart, an annual public education, awareness and behavioral change campaign, was launched in the Baltimore area in the fall of 2009. The campaign is funded by a grant from the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration's Highway Safety Office (MHSO) and emphasizes safety and compliance to existing laws by everyone who shares public streets and sidewalks - drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists alike. The campaign will include concentrated paid and earned media with a mix of outdoor (transit, gas pump toppers, billboards), television, internet, and radio spots.
"Many of us take for granted that a car will stop for us or that a pedestrian will cross in time," stated Maryland Motor Vehicle Administrator John T. Kuo. "Our goal is to drive Maryland Toward Zero Deaths on our highways, and in order to reach that goal everyone - drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists - must share the road responsibly."
BMC is also partnering with the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) and AAA Mid-Atlantic to address safe roadway behavior as students head back to the classroom for the 2013-14 school year.
"This kick-off could not have come at a better time," said Harford County Sheriff Jesse Bane. "With the opening of schools for the new school year, we suddenly have many more children and cyclists using our roads to get to and from school. I am most appreciative of the BMC for this initiative as we in law enforcement need all the help we can muster in keeping our children, our cyclists and our pedestrian's safe."
Between 2007 and 2011, on average, the Baltimore region accounted for approximately 45 percent of the statewide pedestrian fatalities and 70 percent of the statewide injuries. Baltimore County leads the region in the number of annual pedestrian fatalities with an average number of 18.
Pedestrians and drivers must both do their part to prevent crashes. The Street Smart Street Teams will distribute safety information and help educate drivers, pedestrians and cyclists about trouble spots for injuries and fatalities in their area. Some of the more important safety points include:
- Stop for pedestrians at crosswalks.
- Slow down and obey the posted speed limit.
- Yield to pedestrians and cyclists when turning.
- Look before opening your vehicle door.
- Allow 3 feet when passing a bicyclist.
- Look for pedestrians and bicyclists, especially children, before backing up.
- Cross the street at marked crosswalks and intersections.
- Look left, then right, then left again before stepping into the street.
- Obey traffic signals.
- Use pedestrian pushbuttons when provided and only cross the street on "Walk."
- Make sure you can be seen after dark and in bad weather.
- Watch out for vehicles backing out of parking spaces and driveways.
- Obey all traffic signs and signals.
- Never ride against traffic.
- Use hand signals to let motorists know what you intend to do.
- Ride in a straight line to the right of traffic, staying about a car door's length away from parked cars.
- Always wear a helmet. They dramatically reduce risk of head injury in a crash.
- Use front and rear lights at night and when visibility is poor.
For more information on the Street Smart campaign, visit www.BmoreStreetSmart.com
. If you're out in the Baltimore region and run into a Street Smart street team, tweet us @BaltoMetroCo
, using #StreetSmart.