Md. ranked 15th most deadly for pedestrians
Maryland is ranked as the 15th most dangerous for pedestrians of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to a national study released this week by the advocacy group Transportation for America.
Meanwhile, Baltimore is ranked as the 32nd most dangerous metropolitan area for walkers out of 52 in the United States, according to the latest version of the report "Dangerous by Design." However, the report singles out Baltimore an an example of a region where pedestrian deaths have increased over the past decade -- from 43 in 2000 to 62 in 2009 at a time when total traffic deaths fell by almost 6 percent.
The report ranks states and cities by a proprietary Pedestrian Danger Index that weighs the number of pedestrian deaths in an area over the past decade against the total amount of walking activity in the region. Thus, metropolitan New York ranks among the safest on the index despite having the the greatest number of pedestrian deaths in the years 2000-2009.
Maryland is assigned a score of 76.4 on the index compared with 182.8 for the most dangerous state, Florida, and 11.2 for the safest, Vermont.
The report contends that a significant factor in the number of pedestrian deaths is the practice of designing roads for maximum vehicle speed rather that safety for people on foot. The study says the U.S. lags behind other industrialized nations in pedestrian safety, with a rate almost twice that of Australia,
According to the report, 1,057 pedestrians died on Maryland roads during 2000-2009 out of 6,219 total deaths. Of those, 481 occurred in metropolitan Baltimore. In a previous study, Maryland was criticized for having one of the lowest rates of spending on pedestrian safety projects in the United States.
The four most dangerous areas were all in Florida -- Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville and Miami. The top 10 hazardous states and cities were all in the South and West. Maryland's 15th place ranking was one of the worst in the Northeast.