Lower speed limit for safer Coastal Highway
“Speeding makes crashes more likely and more likely to be deadly.” -
Insurance Institute of Highway Safety
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety is an independent organization dedicated to reducing the losses - deaths, injuries and property damage - from crashes on the nation’s roads. Given the deaths and serious injuries that occurred last summer on Route 1 from Five Points to Delaware Seashore State Park, the work of the institute should be of great interest here.
That’s why the quotation from the institute’s home page is included here. Because of a lack of money and lead time, the lighting and regulated-crosswalk projects slated to begin addressing safety issues on the highway won’t be in place for the summer ahead. But that doesn’t mean serious affordable measures shouldn’t be taken to avoid a repeat of last year’s carnage.
For one, the speed limit on the highway from Dartmouth Drive, at the northern Wawa, to Dewey Beach should be reduced to 35 miles per hour. What will that do? Note the quotation from the insurance institute.
It’s true that conventional speed enforcement is difficult in this stretch because there are no shoulders where violators can be pulled over. However, that doesn’t mean other speed enforcement methods can’t be used. The institute reports that as of February, Maryland, Washington and Illinois use cameras statewide to enforce speed limits.
In addition, 134 individual communities use those cameras.
By demanding a lower speed limit in the busiest and most distraction-filled stretch of Route 1, and deployment and broad advertisement of the use of speed cameras, we as a community will show how serious we are about making the highway safer.
In addition, Route 1 should be a helmetrequired zone for cyclists, with tickets issued by bicycle police officers to those not complying. It’s estimated that helmets reduce serious head injury to cyclists in crashes by 85 percent.
Serious situations demand serious action.
Residents and visitors alike should feel safe when walking, cycling or driving on our Cape Region’s main street. Let’s not wait for more deaths and injuries to take these commonsense steps.