Delaware is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. However, our beach towns can present a serious danger to the many people who walk and bike there.
Part of the issue is that the busy Coastal Highway (Route 1) winds through some of these towns. Over the past three years, Route 1 has seen 69 crashes involving pedestrians or bicyclists between Lewes and Fenwick Island. Ten involved fatalities.
However, the failure of drivers to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks in resort towns is a serious problem as well. In 2019, Delaware was ranked the fifth most dangerous state in the country for pedestrians by Smart Growth America. That ranking was based on pedestrian fatalities.
What steps are resort areas taking to protect those in crosswalks?
Some beach towns like Dewey Beach have taken steps to better protect those on foot and bikes. This includes placing flashing lights at crosswalks called rectangular rapid flashing beacons (RRFBs). When someone pushes the button to cross the street, a yellow light blinks for one minute before which blink a yellow light for one minute when a pedestrian hits a button to cross. They’re also painting “Yield” signs on the ground at crosswalks.
Even though drivers are required to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks whether there’s a light or not, the RRFB system has reportedly helped. One group of teen girls recently said that before the lights were installed, they had to signal to drivers to stop so they could cross the street. However, yellow lights, even rapidly flashing ones, can confuse drivers.
It can be frustrating for people driving through town to have to stop frequently for pedestrians and bicyclists to pass. However, that’s part of living in and visiting a popular beach area. If you or a loved one has been injured by a reckless or negligent driver, don’t hesitate to fight for the compensation you need to deal with medical treatment, lost wages and other expenses and damages.