Bike Maryland Veirs Mill Road HAWK Petition
On Sunday, July 17, Oscar Mauricio Gutierrez Osorio of Silver Spring, was killed, in a crosswalk, on Veirs Mill Road in Montgomery County. He is the 2nd cyclist killed at this crosswalk in just a few months. Bike Maryland is urging the State Highway Administration to install a pedestrian-activated red light -- a HAWK light.

We need to demonstrate that cyclists are engaged in our policy process. We strongly urge you to sign on to the following letter asking Maryland's Governor, Transportation Secretary, and State Highway Administrator to install a HAWK light and prevent future deaths. The letter is below. To join us, please complete the google form.

We thank you for your support to make cycling safer for everyone in Maryland.

August 2, 2016

The Honorable Larry Hogan, Governor
100 State Circle
Annapolis, MD 21401

Pete Rahn, Secretary
Maryland Department of Transportation
7201 Corporate Center Drive
Hanover, MD 21076

Greg Johnson, Administrator
Maryland State Highway Administration
707 North Calvert Street
Baltimore, MD 21202

Re: Second cyclist killed at Veirs Mill Road (MD 586) and Turkey Branch Parkway

Dear Governor Hogan, Secretary Rahn, and Administrator Johnson:

For the second time in just a few months, a cyclist was killed crossing Veirs Mill Road at Turkey Branch Parkway. This type of tragedy can be avoided. Bike Maryland urges the State Highway Administration to take additional steps to make it safer for cyclists to cross between the Rock Creek and Matthew Henson Trails.

The technology exists to prevent these needless deaths. High Intensity Crosswalk Beacons or HAWKs combine a pedestrian-activated red light with a traditional walk signal. The pedestrian presses the walk button, when the traffic light turns red, the signal to walk flashes. It works just like the pedestrian walk signals that are in every community across Maryland. Pedestrians and cyclists know how these lights work, they know what to look for, and they are used to using them.

Bike Maryland strongly urges the State Highway Administration to install a HAWK beacon, not only at this crosswalk but as needed at other crosswalks throughout the state.

A 2010 FHWA study found that HAWK Beacons, also known as pedestrian hybrid beacons, reduced total crashes by 29%, reduced severe crashes by 15%, and reduced pedestrian crashes by 69%.

Locally, both Virginia and Washington, DC use HAWK Beacons effectively. Virginia has effectively deployed them at the crossings along the W&OD Trail. Field data from Washington, DC reported a driver compliance rate of 97.1%.

HAWK Beacons can be installed with minimal cost. Michigan estimates $75,000 to $150,000 per installation depending on the engineering needs. (See The HAWK Beacons include signage to instruct both drivers and pedestrians how to approach them. Yes, they are new; but they are no more complicated than other traffic controls such as the traffic lights at the BWI Loop/MD 170 where it crosses the light rail tracks.

Two deaths in less than a year is too many when we have proven technology that is already included in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, issued by the Federal Highway Administration, the standard for making our highways safer.

Bike Maryland strongly urges the State Highway Administration to install a HAWK Beacon and make other safety improvements at this crosswalk, which links two important bicycle trails providing access to neighborhoods, parks, shopping, and employment.


Kevin King, Board Chairman

Kim Lamphier, Catonsville

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