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Just a day before members of the County Council met with local and state transportation officials to discuss pedestrian safety, six pedestrians were hit by cars within just a three-hour timespan Monday.
While fire and rescue personnel transported one woman to the hospital with life-threatening injuries after she was struck by a car at the intersection of Belle Avenue and Gibbs Street in Rockville, Monday’s crashes are only a part the County’s recent string of pedestrian-car collisions.
With pedestrian-car crashes on the rise on the County, the County Council invited Maryland State Highway Administrator Greg Slater to talk about what the state can do to make roads safer.
“Speed, back to my earlier point, is a major factor in survivability for pedestrians,” Slater told the County Council.
Slater said the speed of the vehicle is the main determinant in what may cause a pedestrian-car collision to be fatal or non-fatal, with 77 percent of collision at speeds of 40 miles per hour or more being fatal.
Members of the County Council concurred that the quickest solution to making roads safer is lower speed limits, something they cannot do themselves on state roads.
While the State Highway Administration has made safety improvements to state roads in the County, like River Road and Veirs Mill Road, members of the County Council do not think the state has acted quickly enough.
Council President Hans Riemer has backed a state bill that would give the County Council permission to change the speed limits on some state roads, a bill that did not pass the General Assembly in the last legislative session.
For members of the County Council, the issue of pedestrian safety has come into the spotlight after a number of recent pedestrian-car collisions on Monday:
- The first collision occurred at the intersection of Belle Avenue and Gibbs Street around 5:20 p.m. Fire and rescue personnel transported the woman who had been struck to the hospital.
- The next collision occurred at the intersection of Carroll Avenue and Flower Avenue in Takoma Park.
- Another collision happened at Elm Street and Arlington Road in Bethesda, where a car hit a teenage pedestrian.
- Another car hit an adult at the intersection of Rockville Pike and Halpine Street.
- At the corner of University Boulevard and East Franklin Street in Silver Spring, a car hit a pedestrian, causing non-life-threatening injuries.
- Another pedestrian was hit at the intersection of Observation Drive and Frederick Road in Germantown.
No one is safe from the potential dangers facing both pedestrians and drivers.
Montgomery County Police Traffic Division Direct Captain Tom Didone said he almost struck a pedestrian on Georgia Avenue on his way to the scene of a fatal accident in the dark early hours.
Didone said that both the speeds of roads, especially those with school bus stops, and lack of quality LED lighting are major causes of pedestrian-car crashes. Didone suggested that the County place brighter lights at intersections, saying dim yellow street lights do not illuminate roadways enough for drivers at night.
“I realize that at our intersections, where our pedestrians are, the lights are just as yellow as they are throughout.”