(June 12, 2014) – This summer, following the success of last year’s campaign, OC Walk Smart! partners are expanding the effort in Ocean City, and along Delaware’s beaches. Last year’s campaign saw a 50 percent decrease in pedestrian related crashes as well as no pedestrian fatalities along Coastal Highway. This year, Crab the Lifeguard dons a bike helmet and talks about bicycle safety and crosses State lines to impart the rules of the road to keep pedestrians safe.
Partners hope to witness continued improvement in Walk Smart’s second year. “With Ocean City’s sound reputation as a safe, fun family resort, we are happy to continue and expand the Walk Smart! campaign,” said Mayor Richard W. Meehan. “Thanks to the tremendous efforts of our Ocean City Police Department, public works and the strong partnership with the State and private businesses, we are keeping residents and visitors safe on our roadways.”
Coastal Highway carries up to eight lanes of traffic and more cars, pedestrians and bicyclists during the summer months than in all nine months of fall, winter, and spring. The Town of Ocean City has one of Maryland’s largest populations during the summer, with a changing population each week. Family trips to Ocean City are a long-standing tradition for many beach-goers. The primary goal continues to be the safety of the town.
“No matter where our travels take us, the rules of the road must prevail. As drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, we need to stay alert and place safety first, use cross walks and share the road. Drive smart, walk smart and bike smart – so that everyone arrives home safely,” said Maryland State Highway Administrator Melinda B. Peters. “We thank Ocean City and Delaware for being such strong partners in the Walk Smart! campaign, and for their leadership in traffic safety.”
SHA will once again team up with the town of Ocean City, Ocean City Police Department, and other local businesses and agencies to reiterate the importance of pedestrian safety through the three E’s of safety: engineering, education and enforcement.
The Maryland crab lifeguard illustration will again remind pedestrians to use crosswalks, follow signals, and exercise general street smarts. It will appear on Ocean City transit, plane banners, boat billboard messages, roadside billboards, television and radio public announcements, and in local businesses. This summer, the crab also appears at Delaware beaches along US 1.
“Delaware is eager to be a part of the Walk Smart campaign this year, and hopes that through consistent messaging, we can remind everyone of the importance of pedestrian safety and following the rules of the road,” said Delaware Office of Highway Safety Director Jana Simpler. “Pedestrian safety is a national issue, and grassroots outreach like the Walk Smart! effort, is an important tactic in helping to drive down pedestrian fatalities and injuries.”
Engineers constantly monitor and evaluate the roadway system retiming signals, enhancing turning movements at intersections, placing “no pedestrian crossing” curb stencils and installing signs in key areas along Coastal Highway to direct pedestrians to safe crossings. Vigilant police enforcement and education by both Town of Ocean City Police and Maryland State Police address drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians who are not following the rules of the road.
“Our officers are dedicated to keeping Ocean City’s roadways safe,” said Ocean City Police Chief Ross C. Buzzuro. “We realize that traffic safety is public safety, and even the smallest error such as stepping off the curb at the wrong place can have tragic consequences.”
Walk Smart this summer with these helpful tips:
- Cross at and within marked crosswalks.
- Look, pay attention, and then cross.
- Follow all traffic signal signs and marking.
- Use the sidewalk-do not cross in the street.
- Wear light colored and reflective clothing at night so drivers can SEE you.
- Stay alert- even though you are not driving, pedestrians can still fall victim to distraction.
Tips for Drivers:
- Always stop for pedestrians in crosswalks- it’s Maryland state law.
- Slow down.
- Keep your eyes on the road. It’s illegal to text and use handheld devices while driving.
- Stay alert and avoid distractions.
- Share the road with bicyclists and remember to leave a distance of three feet when passing.
Tips for Bicyclists:
- Follow the rules of the road, stop at all red lights and stop signs.
- Ride in direction of traffic on the road.
- Ride sober.
- Avoid distractions and pay attention – you may not carry anything that prevents you from keeping both hands on the handlebars and you may not wear a headset or earplugs that cover both ears.
- Stay visible; use a lamp when riding after dark.
- Wear protective gear including a helmet.
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To view photos, visit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/oceancitymdgov/sets/72157645131174121/