OCEAN CITY — The first pedestrian-vehicle collision of the young season took place this week when an 89-year-old woman was struck by a car on Coastal Highway in the 97th Street area, reinforcing the common sense message about pedestrians and vehicles sharing the busy highway.
Around 3 p.m. on Monday, Ocean City Police responded to 97th Street and Coastal Highway for a reported collision involving a pedestrian. The investigation revealed the woman was attempting to cross Coastal Highway from west to east in the area of 97th Street but was not in a crosswalk.
A southbound vehicle struck the victim, who sustained serious injuries. The victim was flown by Maryland State Police helicopter to PRMC in Salisbury where she remained as of late Wednesday.
Ocean City Police spokesperson Jessica Waters said Wednesday the department had not heard an update on the victim’s condition, although she was certain she had not been released from the hospital. No charges are pending against the unidentified driver.
Monday’s incident was all too common in the resort for this time of year as more and more pedestrians share the highway with vehicle, scooters, bicycles and mopeds. In the last several years, officials have launched an extensive public safety campaign about the importance of using crosswalks at marked intersections, coupled with an aggressive enforcement campaign by the department, but the accidents continue.
“You can tell people and tell people so many times, but we still have to keep pounding the message home,” said Waters. “Take the extra time to walk to a marked crosswalk and don’t take unnecessary risks.”
Waters said vacationers often seem to forget the inherent dangers associated with crossing Coastal Highway.
“The thing to remember is Coastal Highway is an eight-lane highway,” she said. “Most people would not run across [Route] 695 without finding a safe place to cross, if at all.”
Waters said the public safety message is as much for drivers as it is for pedestrians. She urged drivers to use extra caution during the late spring and summer because of the increased probability of a pedestrian crossing the highway not in a crosswalk.
“You have to be so vigilant,” she said. “Try to make eye contact with pedestrians so they see you and you see them. With everything going on, it’s so easy to get distracted.”
OCPD officials this week are urging visitors to take the extra time to find a safe place to cross the eight-lane highway.