ANNAPOLIS, MD — Governor Wes Moore today announced the distribution of nearly $1 million in state highway safety grants to 33 organizations and law enforcement agencies for initiatives to promote pedestrian and bicyclist safety and local strategic highway safety plans. Funds will be dispersed by the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration’s Highway Safety Office.
“These highway safety grants are instrumental in building a transportation system that works for all Marylanders,” said Gov. Moore. “We all must make safety for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians a top priority while empowering communities to work at the grassroots level to improve access and save lives.”
Maryland Vision Zero, which sets an overall goal of zero fatalities and serious injuries on the state’s roadways by 2030, was enacted following legislation in 2019. The goal will guide partners as they implement safety programs with the distributed funds. Vision Zero serves as a blueprint in development of Maryland’s 2021-2025 Strategic Highway Safety Plan, a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach to reduce highway fatalities and serious injuries by focusing on the “Four Es” – education, engineering, enforcement and emergency medical services.
In 2022, 563 people were killed on Maryland roadways, including 135 pedestrians and 11 bicyclists – an increase from 2021, when 131 pedestrians and six bicyclists died on Maryland roadways. Police reports show increased speed, increased instances of impairment and lower seat belt use as the most common contributing factors in motor vehicle fatalities.
“Making our roadways safe for all Marylanders who use them and work on them is a critical priority for this administration,” said Lt. Gov. Miller. “It’s why we launched the Work Zone Safety Work Group earlier this year, and why we’re proud to announce these Highway Safety Grants today.”
Local jurisdictions are encouraged to develop their own Strategic Highway Safety Plans using the principles and goals of the Maryland plan while addressing specific concerns in their jurisdictions. Funds awarded as highway safety grants may only be used for traffic safety initiatives and are allocated based on crash data for each county’s and/or organization’s applications.
The funding is for FY24. Examples of grant-funded projects include:
Washington Area Bicyclist AssociationThe grant will allow the Washington Area Bicyclist Association to identify and recruit four students, ages 14-18, to lead a Vision Zero Student Leaders team under the guidance of association staff to develop a community engagement plan and host a Youth Town Hall in Prince George’s County. The program will serve as a mentorship to the four students and allow highway safety messaging to be disseminated between the youth of Prince George’s County in an engaging manner.
BYKE CollectiveBYKE Collective aims to prioritize young residents’ safety by providing reflective streetwear apparel and increasing accessibility to resources about bike safety risk reduction tactics, particularly for people of color in Baltimore City between the ages of 8 and 24. The program educates young residents through youth ambassadors trained on pedestrian and bike safety best practices, the importance of reflective apparel, and how to safely host night bike rides throughout Baltimore City.
Bicycle Advocates for Annapolis & Anne Arundel CountyBicycle Advocates for Annapolis & Anne Arundel County will use a grant to provide bicycle helmets and lights for disadvantaged bike riders. The organization’s Wheels of Hope program has given out more than 800 new and refurbished bikes since 2020 to adults in transition and underprivileged children in Anne Arundel County. The grant will allow the organization to distribute a bike helmet, safety light and educational pamphlet with every bike.
Children’s Village of Washington CountyChildren's Village of Washington County will provide free bike, pedestrian and traffic safety education through skills-building exercises to more than 2,500 students per school year. Classes consist of take-home informational material, presentations, and checklists to review with parents. The grant will support the purchase of an additional mini car to allow children to properly complete the outdoor traffic course.
Neighborhood Design CenterThis grant will expand the Maryland Institute College of Art Made You Look: Art in the Right of Way pedestrian safety program to Hyattsville, Colmar Manor and Joe’s Movement Emporium in Mt. Rainer.
Maryland Institute for EMS SystemsThis project seeks to reduce head injuries and deaths due to bicycle crashes through coordination of educational materials, social media, development of partnerships and distribution of bike helmets through Safe Kids partnerships. Education and helmet distribution will be provided to high-risk areas to support local experts.
“The Maryland Department of Transportation is committed to providing residents with a safe, reliable and accessible network for all users, whether they travel by car, bus, rail, bicycle or on foot,” said Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul J. Wiedefeld. “These grants reflect the state’s commitment to work closely with our partners in local jurisdictions and law enforcement to achieve that goal.”
For more information about the Maryland Highway Safety Grants, visit: https://zerodeathsmd.gov/grants/awardees/.