The number of crashes involving pedestrians on Richmond Highway fell by more than 50 percent in 2018, according to official data released earlier this month on Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles’ website.
The eight crashes on Route 1 involving pedestrians last year had a total of 10 injuries (two crashes had multiple injuries) and one fatality. The fatal crash happened on November 30 in Lorton, when 63-year-old Charles Robinson was struck near Hagel Circle.
By comparison, 2017 saw 17 crashes involving pedestrians along Richmond Highway. Those crashes resulted in 19 injuries and one fatality. Rodriguez Cruz, 24, was struck and killed in July 2017 near the intersection of Belvoir Drive in Hybla Valley.
[Editors note: Missing from the state’s 2017 data was a fatal pedestrian-involved crash on Route 1 in Lorton near Hagel Circle — close to the same spot of the 2018 fatality. A DMV spokeswoman said there are a variety of reasons that a crash may not be included in the stats, including if it happened on private property, was determined to have occurred as a result of a medical emergency or a suicide, or if no injuries are reported and the vehicle damage is less than $1,500.]
Last year’s eight pedestrian-involved crashes on Route 1 were the fewest since prior to 2014, the last year that the DMV has statistics posted for. In 2014 there were nine pedestrian-involved crashes but no fatalities.
2016 was the deadliest recent year, with two fatalities among the 13 pedestrian-involved crashes on Richmond Highway. Another pedestrian was killed in 2016 on Frye Road, less than a block from Route 1.
Deaths way up around Fairfax County
Although 2018 saw a slight decrease in the number of pedestrian involved crashes in Fairfax County, there was a large increase in the number of pedestrians killed in those crashes.
The county saw a total of 17 pedestrian deaths, up from five in 2017. The 17 deaths outpaced the county’s murder rate and were more than every jurisdiction in Northern Virginia combined. Only Prince George’s County had more pedestrian fatalities in the D.C. metro area, according to the Metro Washington Council of Governments.
There was a total of 174 pedestrian-involved crashes in Fairfax County in 2018, with 196 people injured in those incidents. In 2017 there were 189 crashes involving pedestrians around the county.
While there were no bicycle fatalities in the county in 2018, there were 57 crashes in the county involving bicycles.
2019 off to bad start
So far in 2019 there have been 36 pedestrian crashes in Fairfax County, with seven people killed in those incidents and 40 total injuries.
Richmond Highway has been the scene of two fatal crashes already this year, with a 51-year-old woman struck and killed near Huntington in February and an 82-year-old man hit in March at the intersection of Route 1 and Quander Road. There have also been at least three non-fatal pedestrian crashes on Richmond Highway so far this year, according to unofficial state stats.
The region’s uptick in pedestrian deaths led the Metro Washington Council of Governments to announce a new safety campaign Tuesday, with a press conference held at the intersection of Lockheed Boulevard and Richmond Highway. The event was attended by Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay, Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck, Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler and other officials.
“Even as most types of traffic fatalities declined in 2018, the number of pedestrians and cyclists killed in traffic incidents increased nearly 19 percent across the region, according to local departments of transportation,” the Council of Governments said in a press release. “Preliminary data indicate that pedestrian and cyclist deaths account for more than 33 percent of all traffic fatalities in the region, mirroring national trends.”