The median at the corner of 33rd and St. Paul streets became a stage for the Eclectics on Spring Fair Saturday, when the student dance group performed several eye-catching routines in the name of public safety.
Dressed in bright yellow bodysuits, black Chuck Taylor high-tops, and yellow and black sunglasses, the Eclectics brought the university's Road Scholar icon to life, holding signs imploring pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers to "Slow down, hon" and to "B'More Street Smart." Messages like "Can't Talk—I'm Crossing" and "Stay alert—Don't get hurt" were incorporated into a range of routines, culminating in a human bus formation that beeped when backing up.
Serious statistics were held up alongside the sillier slogans, with signs reminding motorists and passersby that an average of 1,700 pedestrians and 500 bicyclists are hit by cars each year in Baltimore, resulting in an average of 52 fatalities annually. The university's messaging—both the silly and the serious—was meant to remind undergraduates, faculty, staff, and fair-goers from the community that simple things like slowing down, using crosswalks, removing ear buds, and refraining from texting while walking or driving can save lives.
The Road Scholar campaign was launched in fall 2012 with a display of 3,000 painted shoes on the fence surrounding the university's undeveloped property at St. Paul and 33rd streets. The shoes represented the nearly 3,000 people hit by vehicles every year in Maryland; more than 100 of those accidents are fatal. In addition to Saturday's performance, the campaign has included sidewalk graphics located on busy walkways throughout campus, as well as ads and signs in highly visible locations.
The East Baltimore campus recently began its own pedestrian safety campaign, developed by the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, to reinforce awareness of pedestrian and vehicle safety and reduce the incidence of pedestrian injury and vehicle accidents.