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