In the Washington D.C. area, area police agencies and transit officials have launched a major campaign focused on reducing the amount of injuries and deaths among cyclists and pedestrians. The campaign was launched on March 20, 2007 in Thomas Circle by officials from suburban Maryland, the District, and northern Virginia. Called “Street Smart Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Campaign,” the program will include heightened traffic enforcement and a public education campaign.
According to recent studies, ¼ of people killed in the Washington area every year are either pedestrians or cyclists. In 2006, these two groups made up 40% of all highway deaths in the District. Officials say that 90 pedestrians are killed in the Washington area every year, while 3000 others are injured. At least 9 pedestrians have already been killed in the area this year.
Helmets.org provides a number of statistics related to bicycle accidents and injuries:
• There are 85 million bicycle riders in the US.
• 784 bicyclists died on US roads in 2005. 92% of them died in crashes with motor vehicles (720).
• About 540,000 bicyclists visit emergency rooms with injuries every year. Of those, about 67,000 have head injuries, and 27,000 have injuries serious enough to be hospitalized.
• Bicycle crashes and injuries are under-reported, since the majority are not serious enough for emergency room visits.
• 1 in 8 of the cyclists with reported injuries has a brain injury.
• Two-thirds of the deaths here are from traumatic brain injury.
• A very high percentage of cyclists’ brain injuries can be prevented by a helmet, estimated at anywhere from 45 to 88 per cent.
• Many years of potential life are lost because about half of the deaths are children under 15 years old.
• Direct costs of cyclists’ injuries due to not using helmets are estimated at $81 million each year.
• Indirect costs of cyclists’ injuries due to not using helmets are estimated at $2.3 billion each year.
Crews have added countdowns at crosswalks at Thomas Circle to make the area safer, as well as clearly marked Metro bus lanes and bicycle lanes.
Officials say the safety crackdown will take place in different areas every six weeks. The safety campaign includes the use of billboards, bus advertising, posters, hand-outs, and radio campaigns.
Although there are safety precautions that you can take as a pedestrian or a cyclist, this does not necessarily make you immune to the carelessness or negligence of others on the roadways. Injuries to a pedestrian or a cyclist can be serious—even fatal.
If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident or bicycle accident due to the negligence of a car driver, a truck driver, or a motorcyclist, it is important that you speak to an experienced personal injury attorney right away who can help you file a claim for your recovery. Lebowitz and Mzhen is a personal injury law firm that represents clients in the Maryland and Washington D.C. areas. Contact Lebowitz and Mzhen today for your free consultation.
Area Leaders Kick Off Pedestrian Safety Campaign, NBC4.com, March 20, 2007
Bicycle Helmet Statistics, Helmets.org
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