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Maine Saw A Rise In The Number Of Pedestrian Deaths In 2019

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Drew Angerer
/
Getty Images - File

The number of pedestrian deaths in Maine rose last year to 17 — a figure nearly three times the number in 2018, but in line with previous years, according to the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety.

Director Lauren Stewart says the Bureau's goal is to eliminate motor vehicle related fatalities. In an email she says the Bureau has started offering grants to law enforcement in communities with higher numbers of pedestrian crashes, and that so far  Westbrook, Augusta, Old Town and Lewiston have applied. 

Bicycle Coalition of Maine Advocacy Manager Angela King says constituents from across the state are reporting that motorists are driving too fast, in some cases because of the speed limits posted on local roads.

“We hear from people wanting to get their road reevaluated to lower the speed limit because they feel that the speed limit is too high, and that discourages people from walking or riding a bike,” says King.

Still, King says people out walking should increase their visibility by wearing bright or reflective clothing and facing traffic. And she says the state's infrastructure should be designed to make people feel safe when walking or biking. Stewart says most of the pedestrians killed by motor vehicles in Maine are men, with an average age between 54 and 64.

Updated 4:29 p.m. Jan. 2, 2019

Ed is a Maine native who spent his early childhood in Livermore Falls before moving to Farmington. He graduated from Mount Blue High School in 1970 before going to the University of Maine at Orono where he received his BA in speech in 1974 with a broadcast concentration. It was during that time that he first became involved with public broadcasting. He served as an intern for what was then called MPBN TV and also did volunteer work for MPBN Radio.