In what may come as a surprise to some readers, within the past three weeks in Montgomery County, three pedestrians have been killed in three separate incidents. Additionally, in all three instances, it appears, the pedestrians were not only obeying traffic rules, but rather should have had the right of way. Although one of the pedestrians was struck while walking on the sidewalk, one was on a median waiting for a safe cross (the law requires that drivers slow to let a pedestrian standing on the median cross), when he fell and was struck; and the other man was attempting to cross a street where the nearest cross walk was a long way off.
What is troubling about these circumstances, is that authorities are apparently attempting to shift the blame onto the pedestrians. Granted, visibility is certainly a part of pedestrian safety, it can’t be the case that pedestrians have to dress in neon colors and carry large signaling devices in order to merely cross the street.
Authorities could consider measures such as lowering speed limits, installing stop light signals for pedestrians, or lights in the street at busy intersections, such as those used throughout many Californian cities. Additionally, police could enforce the rules protecting pedestrian safety, both through the means of advertising campaigns, and by ticketing drivers who fail to yield. Other measures could include engineering changes to increase visibility, or the installation of speed bumps near common crossways. At the very least, marking crosswalks, by painting the familiar white or yellow lines, could go a long way at helping pedestrians cross safely.
Additionally, the area where one of the men crossed was allegedly a legal crosswalk, but was unmarked. Several of the commenters in the various articles linked to questioned what the public safety benefits were, if any, of having a crosswalk remain unmarked.