Street Smart unveils dramatic new safety campaign for spring

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments asks motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists to exercise caution, using striking pictures Photo: Street Smart

WASHINGTON, DC, April 13, 2013 – Warmer weather brings a greater number of pedestrians and cyclists to the streets. With this in mind, safety officials in DC, southern Maryland, and Northern Virginia unveiled a new safety campaign, “Tired Faces,” aimed at reducing accidents and traffic related fatalities and injuries. The new safety campaign features photographs of residents with tire treads on their faces, which officials are hoping will raise awareness of the dangers that pedestrians and cyclists face.

Preliminary data from 2012 in the DC metro region reveals that there were 3,033 crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists, resulting in 70 fatalities for the year, and accounting for 26.5% of all traffic fatalities. There have been at least 14 pedestrian and cyclist deaths in 2013. As part of the larger, semi annual Street Smart campaign, officials are once again urging motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists to obey signs, signals and traffic laws; to be especially careful at intersections; and to pay closer attention to each other.


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The campaign will run through May 13, with ads on buses and in transit shelters in the District, Maryland, and Virginia. Featuring the “tired faces” and messages like “Pedestrians don’t come with airbags,” and “You can’t fix a pedestrian at a body shop,” the new campaign is hoping to get the attention of everyone using the roads and sidewalks in the region. 

During the campaign, law enforcement officers will be especially vigilant of pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists who do not obey traffic safety laws. Violators will face fines ranging from $40 to $500. 

“Most people do not stop to think how vulnerable pedestrians are on our streets and sidewalks,” said DC Mayor Vincent Gray at the unveiling of the campaign in North East DC last Tuesday. “But the reality is that we must protect pedestrians from cars and other vehicles, because when they collide with a pedestrian, the pedestrian never wins.” 

Besides Mayor Gray, several other officials were present at the unveiling, including representatives from the DC Department of Transportation, the Montgomery County MD Department of Transportation, and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. State and local officials urged drivers to actively watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists, especially when turning. They also are reminded bicyclists to ride with traffic and stop at red lights and advised pedestrians to use crosswalks and wait for the walk signal before crossing the street.


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Street Smart is a public awareness and enforcement campaign in its 11th year.  Sponsored by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) and the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB), Street Smart is aimed at reducing cyclist and pedestrian injuries and deaths in the DC metropolitan area. 

Street Smart Safety Tips

(BeStreetSmart.net)

If you’re driving…

  • Slow down and obey the speed limit
  • Look twice for people in crosswalks and yield to pedestrians and bicyclists
  • Be careful when passing stopped vehicles
  • Yield to pedestrians and cyclists at intersections when you’re turning
  • Allow three feet when passing bicyclists
  • Look for cyclists and cars before you open your door
  • Avoid using your cell phone and never text while driving

If you’re walking…

  • Cross the street at the corner and use marked crosswalks when they’re available
  • Wait for the “Walk” signal to cross the street
  • Watch for turning vehicles. Before crossing look left, right, and left again
  • Be seen! If you’re walking after dark or in bad weather, make it easier for drivers to see you by wearing light clothing or something reflective
  • Don’t text while you’re crossing the street
  • If you’re on an off-street trail, obey all posted signage and approach intersections with caution

If you’re biking…

  • Obey all traffic signs and traffic signals
  • Ride in the direction of traffic, at least a car door width away from parked cars
  • Use hand signals so drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians know what you’re going to do
  • Always wear a helmet
  • Use lights if you’re riding at times of darkness
  • If you’re on an off-street trail, obey all posted signage and approach intersections with caution
  • Slow down and watch for pedestrians on sidewalks, trails and in crosswalks

Laws and regulations differ between juristictions. Visit www.BeStreetSmart.net for information on specific trail guidelines and regulations.

 

 


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Laura Sesana

Laura Sesana is a writer and DC, Maryland attorney, joining the Communities in 2012.  She is the author of Colombia: Natural Parks, and has also written several articles on literary criticism.  She writes about food, health, nutrition, women’s legal issues, and the environment.  

In addition to writing for the Communities, Laura also works as an attorney and legal content writer.

 

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