‘Signal Woman’ Part of Campaign Urging Drivers, Pedestrians and Bicyclists to Share the Road Safely

News Release, Maryland Department of Transportation

BALTIMORE, MD (June 3, 2019) – The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), along with the Baltimore Metropolitan Council (BMC) and government and law enforcement officials throughout the Baltimore region, today launched Look Alive, a new campaign to raise awareness of pedestrian and bicyclist safety. While traffic fatalities in Maryland declined last year overall, the number of pedestrians killed on state roads in 2018 was 133, an increase of 12 percent from 2017.

“In Maryland, one in four traffic deaths is a pedestrian,” said Chrissy Nizer, administrator of MDOT Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) and Governor Larry Hogan’s Highway Safety Representative. “This campaign brings multiple agencies, communities and law enforcement officers together to save lives.”

Along with MDOT and BMC, partners in the Look Alive initiative include the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems and government agencies in Baltimore City and Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Howard, Harford, Carroll and Queen Anne’s counties. About half of Maryland’s 2018 pedestrian fatalities occurred in the Baltimore region. The campaign brings the familiar “walk” signal icon to life in the character of Signal Woman, who appears in a commercial wearing a white jump suit with reflective lines to replicate the signal’s pixelated look. She interacts with pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers, reminding everyone to be safe and look out for each other. The commercial, filmed in Baltimore, will appear on television and social media.

“Signal Woman is spunky and humorous, but also has a serious message,” said Michael Kelly, BMC’s executive director. “She reminds drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists that we all share the road and can make safer decisions that could save another’s life, or our own.”

Look Alive made its debut at an event at Olympian Park in Baltimore County, where MDOT State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) has installed pedestrian safety enhancements in and around the Towson Roundabout. Efforts such as traffic calming, making crosswalks more prominent and visible, shifting lanes, lowering speed limits where appropriate and providing more protective space for pedestrians and bicyclists are regional and statewide priorities for MDOT SHA.

“With every roadway construction project, MDOT looks for pedestrian and bicycle safety enhancement opportunities – you will see that along the York Road corridor and throughout the state,” said MDOT SHA Administrator Greg Slater. “Education works hand in hand with engineering to help keep vulnerable customers like pedestrians and bicyclists safe. The new regional Look Alive campaign raises awareness that when you follow the rules of the road, you can save lives.”

According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, the biggest factors in pedestrian and bicyclist deaths are vehicle speed, distraction, time of day and alcohol use. The Look Alive campaign, which runs through the fall, integrates television, outdoor ads, digital engagement, community outreach and media relations to relay a message of safety and awareness.

“The safety of bicyclists and pedestrians is vital and we must make a conscientious effort to protect the safety of individuals who use various modes of transportation,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, Jr. “The Look Alive Campaign is another opportunity to remind people to be observant of others who will traverse our communities on foot, on bicycles, and in cars. Our goal is a simple one; safety for all.”

The campaign also includes high visibility traffic safety enforcement. Police departments from Baltimore City and Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Howard counties, as well as sheriff’s offices in Carroll, Harford and Queen Anne’s counties, will participate in enforcement waves.

“Officers will be ticketing drivers who don’t follow the speed limit or fail to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks,” said Baltimore County Police Capt. Joseph Donohue. “Fines can cost up to $500 and add points to a driver’s record.”

For more information about Look Alive, visit lookalivemd.org. Learn about the Maryland Highway Safety Office’s Toward Zero Deaths campaign at towardzerodeathsmd.com, on Facebook at TowardZeroDeathsMD, on Twitter at @tzd_maryland and on Instagram at twdzerodeaths_md.

 Safety Tips

When walking . . .

  • Cross the street at crosswalks and intersections.
  • Watch for turning vehicles. Look left, right and left again.
  • Wait for the walk signal.
  • Use the pushbuttons.
  • Watch for blind spots around trucks and buses.
  • Be visible. Wear something light or reflective after dark.

When driving . . .

  • Stop for pedestrians at crosswalks.
  • Slow down and obey the speed limit.
  • Be careful when passing buses or stopped vehicles.
  • When turning, yield to people walking and biking.
  • Look for bicyclists before opening your door.
  • Allow at least 3 feet when passing bikes.

When biking . . .

  • Obey signs and signals.
  • Never ride against traffic.
  • Use hand signals to tell drivers what you intend to do.
  • Ride in a straight line at least 3 feet from parked cars.
  • Wear a helmet.
  • Use lights at night and when visibility is poor.

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