Just 10 weeks into 2013, Montgomery County Patch.com websites have reported 12 vehicle collisions involving pedestrians or bicyclists. Four pedestrians and one bicyclist were killed as a result, with all of the deaths occurring in the middle and eastern portions of the county.
An analyst for Montgomery County Council President Nancy Navarro (D-Dist 4) described the cluster of deaths in Silver Spring and Wheaton as "simply unacceptable," and suggested police "aggressively ticket drivers who speed or fail to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks." (Read Navarro's blog post here.)
Responses from readers, however, were mixed.
After a 23-year-old Silver Spring bicyclist died after allegedly illegally crossing an intersection in downtown Silver Spring Sunday night, some readers said they observe pedestrians and bikers ignoring traffic signals.
The Action Committee for Transit, a Montgomery County-based transit advocay group, took police to task Tuesday after three pedestrians were hit by cars within a few hours on Tuesday, March 12, including a woman with small children.
"All three collisions occurred where the pedestrians had the right of way," the group wrote in an email statement. "Yet county police responded with a press release entitled 'Police Remind Pedestrians To Be Careful.'
"Nowhere did the police tell drivers to obey the law, which requires drivers to yield to pedestrians on sidewalks and in marked and unmarked crosswalks."
Determining fault for collision deaths can be a lengthy process, said Capt. Paul Starks, head of the public information office for Montgomery County police. After police's Collision Reconstruction Unit submits a report to the county's state's attorney's office, that department decides if it will pursue charges against the driver, an end that is likely months away for this year's cases, he said.
For less serious incidents, drivers may be ticketed within days, said Officer Robert LaDany, public information officer for police. "Appropriate citations were issued," for the driver that hit a student walking to Watkins Mill High Tuesday morning, he said.
No update yet for the rest of the collisions.