Human Billboards Bring Pedestrian, Cyclist, and Vehicle Safety Messages to Annapolis
On Thursday, “Signal People” street teams were in Annapolis with backpack banners to catch attention and remind drivers and pedestrians how to safely share the streets. The walking billboards are part of the Look Alive annual safety campaign which launches in conjunction with National Pedestrian Safety Month in October.
The group is a partnership between the Baltimore Metropolitan Council (BMC), the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration’s (MDOT MVA) Highway Safety Office and State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA), Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems and regional transportation and law enforcement officials from Baltimore City, and Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Howard, Harford, Carroll, and Queen Anne’s counties.
The Signal People were at the intersection of Forest Drive at Hilltop for approximately four hours (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) on Thursday, October 5, 2023.
Pedestrian crashes are a serious and deadly problem in Annapolis and the broader Baltimore region—just last year, 59 pedestrians were killed by drivers in the greater metropolitan area. So far in 2023, City of Annapolis has had 38 pedestrian or cyclist vs. vehicle incidents resulting in 4 fatalities and 28 injuries. Fall months can be particularly dangerous because less daylight leads to more visibility issues.
The Signal People campaign seeks to warn drivers to slow down and watch carefully for pedestrians, and reminds people walking to use crosswalks or cross at the corner. These eye-catching messengers wear white spandex and are part of the Look Alive campaign featuring Signal Woman—the Walk/Don’t Walk signal box icon who’s been brought to life and is now dishing out practical safety advice on Instagram (@SignalWoman) and Twitter / X (@Signal_Woman).
The Look Alive campaign offers safety tips for people driving, walking, and biking (see below).
STREET SAFETY TIPS
If you’re driving:
Slow down and obey the speed limit.
Stop for pedestrians at crosswalks.
Be careful when passing buses or stopped vehicles. They may be blocking your view of a pedestrian or bicyclist.
When turning, yield to people walking and biking.
Look for bicyclists before opening your door.
Allow at least 3 feet when passing bikes.
Avoid using your cell phone and never text while driving.
Be especially careful if you drive an SUV or pickup truck—high-profile vehicles are more likely to kill or seriously injure people walking and biking.
If you’re biking:
Obey signs and signals.
Never ride against traffic.
Ride in a straight line at least 3 feet from parked cars.
Use hand signals to tell drivers what you intend to do.
Wear a helmet.
Use lights at night and when visibility is poor.
On an off-street trail, obey all posted signs and approach intersections with caution.
If you’re walking:
Cross the street at crosswalks and intersections.
Use the pushbuttons.
Wait for the walk signal before crossing the street.
Watch for turning vehicles. Before crossing look left, right and left again.
Stay visible. Wear something light or reflective after dark.
Watch out for blind spots around trucks and buses.
Be alert. Avoid using your cell phone when crossing the street.