Zombies strike nerve in Cape Region
The Office of Highway Safety’s “Don’t Join the Walking Dead” campaign has accomplished at least one thing: It caught the attention of Cape Gazette readers.
The Cape Gazette’s immediate response was to let the the Office of Highway Safety know our readers would find this effort offensive, especially because, for at least two crashes in our region, nothing shows the victims were in any way impaired. At least one driver, on the other hand, was charged with DUI.
Still, a deeper problem with this campaign is this: it emphasizes the importance of crossing at crosswalks, but there are only two crosswalks across Route 1 in the entire stretch from Five Points to Rehoboth Beach.
There are more crosswalks in Dewey, but not along dark stretches of the Forgotten Mile, between Rehoboth Beach and Dewey, where one fatality and one serious injury took place. Farther north, less than a year ago an accident at Route 1 and Route 24 – where there is no crosswalk– took the lives of two pedestrians.
To be clear, the Cape Gazette supports all efforts to raise awareness that it’s dangerous to walk across Route 1. The campaign correctly points out some pedestrians contribute to crashes by stepping onto the highway in front of traffic. Wearing dark clothing and failing to carry a flashlight compound the danger.
Still, people must cross this highway. While transportation officials promise improved crosswalks in this corridor and a task force is considering the problems, officials should immediately improve safety by:
• lowering the speed limit to 25 from Rehoboth Beach to the south end of Dewey Beach
• improving lighting on the Forgotten Mile and at at all intersections along Route 1
• revising the law to give pedestrians the right of way entering or in any crosswalk.
Finally, increase police presence and ticket everyone – drivers, pedestrians and cyclists – who breaks the law.
Like the zombie campaign, a flood of tickets will not be popular – but even more than the zombie campaign, it will put everyone on notice to be more careful on Route 1.