Roads may not be much safer for pedestrians in Montgomery County now than they were nearly a decade ago, despite huge, recent efforts from government and police to curb deaths, data released by police suggests.
Last year, six people died after being hit by cars in the county, which was a significant decrease from the previous seven years when the number ranged from 10 to 19. Still, seven pedestrians have already died in 2013, ensuring that downward trend will not continue this year.
Pedestrian safety was lauded as a hallmark of County Executive Isiah Leggett's administration in a release from county government Monday, which cited that fewer people are involved in severe collisions that result in serious injury or death. Those numbers, too, showed a drastic dip for 2012 (85 such collisions) with slightly fluctuating numbers for previous years, ranging from 104 to 142.
Data supplied by the Montgomery County Police Department:
Serious injury or death
"In 2007, my Pedestrian Safety Initiative outlined a blueprint for reducing pedestrian collisions in Montgomery County, and I am gratified that the plan appears to be working," said Leggett in a statement.
Leggett said that he's focused on targeted areas where people are more likely to be hit by cars—school zones and areas noted for previous incidents.
However, collisions for "High incidence areas" were also a mixed bag with some roads, like Wisconsin Avenue, showing a great dip in the number of collisions and others, like Colesville Road, increasing. The county said the total number of collisions in the combined ten areas decreased by 37 percent.
The blame for collisions may also be shifting, county data showed, with drivers at fault 59 percent of the time in 2012, compared with previous years where drivers and pedestrians were "equally at fault," the government release said.
Earlier this month, police responded to an increase in complaints about drivers not yielding to pedestrians with a series of staged pedestrian "stings" through high-incident areas of the county in Aspen Hill, Bethesda, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Rockville, Silver Spring and Wheaton.
Leggett's release said that 2013's pedestrian deaths show that "more work remains to be done."
(See a map, above, of where and when the pedestrian and bicyclist incidents occurred.)