(PORTLAND, Maine) December 8, 2021 – On Monday night and Tuesday morning this week two women were killed in separate instances while walking on Maine roads.
On Monday evening, 58-year old Donna Driscoll of Winthrop was killed when hit by a driver in a pick-up truck near the Winthrop-Monmouth town line. On Tuesday morning, a woman was walking with her 6-year old child when she was struck and killed by a driver in Topsham. Her name has not been released and the child was not injured.
“We are saddened–and outraged–by these tragic incidents,” said Bicycle Coalition of Maine Executive Director Jean Sideris, who notes that these are the seventeenth and eighteenth pedestrian fatalities in Maine this year. In 2020, ten pedestrians were killed on Maine roadways and in 2019, seventeen pedestrians were killed.
“The loss of even one life on our Maine roads is heartbreaking, and the nearly-doubled number of pedestrian fatalities compared with last year is unacceptable,” Sideris said. “We can and must do more to make our roads safe for all users and especially for more vulnerable users, including those walking, biking, and using wheelchairs or other mobility devices.”
We urge our local and state officials to see this as a call to action to improve safety for vulnerable road users. We must make lasting investments to improve road safety and provide safer facilities for people walking and biking. Simply walking on the edge of a roadway should not be a life-threatening activity. The BCM has already been meeting with MaineDOT to discuss how to spend the infrastructure dollars coming to Maine from the federal government, and we are pushing for large investments that will improve the safety of vulnerable users.
As we seek long-term investments for Maine’s transportation system, we implore all drivers in the short term to immediately slow down, pay attention, and remember you could encounter people on nearly any road. For people walking or biking, follow the rules of the road–walk against traffic, use the sidewalk and crosswalks if they are available, and wear clothing that will help make you more visible.
Lastly, the BCM urges law enforcement to carefully investigate and examine the roadway conditions, pedestrian facilities, history of crashes at this location, driver behavior, and any additional circumstances that may have been contributing factors in either of these incidents.