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Contact: Laura Van Wert, 410-732-9564


 BALTIMORE, MD (April 25, 2013) - The Baltimore Metropolitan Council (BMC) will kick off its spring Street Smart campaign to reduce pedestrian crashes by educating those walking, driving and cycling about the rules of the road. This campaign features new regional partnerships between BMC and the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy and Baltimore County's fire and police departments.

The partnerships will help the Street Smart campaign extend throughout the Baltimore region, particularly within key areas in need of reinforcement of safety messages for pedestrians, drivers and cyclists.

 "The Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy is an enthusiastic partner with BMC's spring campaign," said Dr. Andrea C. Gielen, professor and director of the Center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "Together, we can reach a broader audience with our evidence-based and messages to remind drivers and pedestrians alike how to be safer on the roads.

"This effort is part of our larger collaborative campaign bringing together engineering, enforcement, and education to reduce the burden of pedestrian injuries in the Baltimore metropolitan region."

The Center's campaign - "Stop. Wait. Go slow - Be alert and don't get hurt" - launched in January with funding in part from the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration's Highway Safety Office.  The Center's research found that four out of 10 people were hit or had a near miss as a pedestrian. The campaign communicates a hard-hitting message of safety with graphic images that show the real tragedy of pedestrian injury to those walking, cycling and driving.

"We must and can solve this public health problem," Gielen said. "We need to remind people of what we all know, but too often forget because we are in a hurry, on our cell phones, or experiencing myriad other distractions that take our attention away from driving and walking safely."

Street Smart, an annual public education, awareness and behavioral change campaign, launched in the Baltimore region in the fall of 2009. A grant from the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration's Highway Safety Office (MHSO) funds the campaign, which 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.

Street Teams also will be deployed at 10 locations around the Baltimore region throughout the next several weeks to distribute pedestrian and driver tips as a reminder that we can easily avoid crashes if everyone puts safety first. The Street Teams began in Anne Arundel County on April 18, and will continue in Baltimore and Harford counties, as well as Baltimore City around the Johns Hopkins medical institutions.

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.

BMC also will partner this spring with Baltimore County's police and fire departments through several upcoming events. BMC staffers representing Street Smart will share space with the county today, Friday, April 25 at Towson University's Tigerfest to promote a unified message about pedestrian, driver and cyclist safety. The two organizations will come together again in June for a Baltimore County-sponsored safety rally on Liberty Road. Details of that event will be announced within the next several weeks.

"Baltimore County's police and fire departments documented a recent increase in pedestrian crashes and injuries; the number of deaths from pedestrian-vehicle crashes reached a 5-year high in 2013," said Battalion Chief Jennifer Utz, of the Baltimore County Fire Department. "We recognize a need for education about why this is happening and how to reduce pedestrian injuries, and we appreciate BMC's leadership on this issue."

Pedestrians, cyclists and drivers must all 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 If you're out in the Baltimore region and run into a Street Smart street team, tweet us @BaltoMetroCouncil, using #StreetSmart.

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.


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Laura Van Wert 

Communications Officer    

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