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D.C. Officials Want You to Be Street Smart

Posted on April 18, 2016 to

Last week, a cyclist stood up and described a scene where while she was riding her bicycle, a driver cut a corner too tight and smashed into her. As she described how she suffered severe back and neck injuries, a group of police officers, friends, spectators and local leaders in our D.C. community stood around her to show their support.

The event, which took place at the Silver Spring Transit Center, was called to discuss how to reduce the number of bicycle and pedestrian accidents to zero. The plan to make D.C. streets safer involves “the three E’s”: engineering, education and enforcement.

What is the Street Smart Campaign?

The event was an opportunity to launch the education aspect of the region’s Street Smart Campaign. The campaign’s goals are to change driver and pedestrian behaviors and, as a result, reduce the number of cyclist and pedestrian deaths by doing the following:

  • Educating drivers, cyclists and pedestrians on how to coexist safely on the roads
  • Increasing enforcement of existing cycling and pedestrian laws
  • Building awareness of cyclist and pedestrian safety issues that have already been talked about in prior campaigns
  • Developing a program that can be copied and used by other law enforcement agencies nationwide that share the same goals of reducing the number of cyclist and pedestrian accidents

The Street Smart Campaign was established in 2002 and is supported by organizations like the District of Columbia’s District Department of Transportation, the Virginia Highway Safety Office, Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration and more.

Hopefully, the Street Smart Campaign Will Reduce the Number of Deaths in the Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland Areas

A study showed in 2014, more than 4,000 pedestrians and more than 7000 cyclists were killed in accidents across the nation. Approximately 65,000 pedestrians were injured in accidents. Last year, 69 pedestrians and three cyclists lost their lives in the Washington area. Due to the frighteningly high number of accidents, the Street Smart Campaign gave the following tips:

  • Drivers: Stay alert and look for pedestrians in crosswalks. Yield to pedestrians and cyclists both at crosswalks and when turning at intersections. Allow three feet before you pass them and do not engage in distracted driving.
  • Pedestrians: Cross at the corner of intersections and always use crosswalks when they’re available to you. Look both ways and do not use your phone while doing so. Pedestrians who use cell phones are at a higher risk for an accident.
  • Cyclists: Obey traffic laws, signs and lights. Ride in the same direction of traffic, not against it. Ride the width of a car door or more away from parked cars to avoid doors hitting you. Wear a helmet.

Hopefully, with these tips and the ongoing media campaigns from Street Smart, the area will see a drop in the number of pedestrian and cyclist accidents in the region.

Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, L.L.P. is a personal injury law firm that helps victims who have been injured in a car accident in Washington, D.C., Greenbelt, Maryland and Fairfax, Virginia.  

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dr-gridlock/wp/2016/04/11/safety-officials-want-travelers-to-be-street-smart/