OCEAN CITY — After a long stretch of zero pedestrian collisions throughout much of the summer in the resort, there were four incidents in the last week including two hours apart last Saturday.
Around 10:45 p.m. on Saturday, Ocean City police responded to the area of 73rd Street and Coastal Highway for a reported traffic collision involving a pedestrian. The investigation revealed a 34-year-old male attempted to cross Coastal Highway and was struck by a four-door sedan.
The victim was not using a crosswalk at the time of the collision. He was transported to PRMC via Maryland State Police Trooper 4 helicopter and was released later that same night. The driver of the sedan was not injured in the collision.
A few hours later at around 1:45 a.m. on Sunday, OCPD officer responded to another traffic collision involving a pedestrian in the area of 123rd Street and Coastal Highway. In that incident, it was determined a 20-year-old male was in a crosswalk at the time of the collision, but was crossing against a pedestrian signal. Ocean City EMS transported the victim to PRMC with injuries not believed to be life-threatening.
The two accidents just hours came on the heels of another vehicle collision involving two pedestrians last Tuesday. An unidentified driver was traveling west on 85th Street and made a left turn south onto Coastal Highway when he struck the two pedestrians. Both pedestrians were transported to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury with injuries not believed to be life-threatening.
After a rash of serious incidents in 2012 with 44 pedestrian collisions including two fatalities, the Town of Ocean City and the State Highway Administration partnered on an aggressive Walk Smart public awareness campaign which achieved the desired results for the most part. The program included a multi-year, systematic process for reducing collisions with increased signage, more walked crosswalks, more countdown clocks and longer cross times.
The Walk Smart program also includes an aggressive marketing campaign urging visitors and residents to cross only in marked crosswalks and only when the traffic signals indicate it is safe. Motorists are also advised to avoid distractions while driving and use extreme caution in areas with heavy pedestrian traffic.
However, because the resort’s population turns over every couple of days in the summer, the Walk Smart campaign continues to be hammered home with mixed results. The program appears to be achieving the desired results to some degree with zero pedestrian fatalities in its first three years before two pedestrian fatalities along Coastal Highway in May.