Boston is on pace to have the most pedestrian deaths in 5 years - with 10 pedestrian deaths so far this year - according to a recent news report. So far this year, there are nearly 250 recorded pedestrian crashes.
In the last 5 years, 2017 had the most pedestrian deaths with 11 fatalities. In 2020, there were 5 pedestrian deaths. This year’s pedestrian fatality total has doubled since last year.
“Pedestrian fatalities and serious crashes that have an enormous mental, physical and economic toll are truly a public health crisis,” Stacy Thompson, executive director of LivableStreets, a nonprofit based in Metro Boston, told the Boston Herald.
The first pedestrian death of 2021 involved a 92-year-old man being hit in the late morning in Charlestown and then dragged for a mile by a car that left the accident scene. Police located the driver but ruled that the death was an accident and no charges were filed.
Boston’s Plan to Make Streets Safer for Pedestrians: “One Fatality is Too Many”
Vision Zero Boston is the city’s plan to eliminate fatal and severe crashes, including pedestrian accidents, in Boston by 2030. The program was announced in 2015 by Mayor Marty Walsh, and current Mayor Michelle Wu is also passionate about the project.
Some of Zero Boston’s benchmarks are already met or are well underway, such as constructing safer bike lanes throughout the city. In 2017, Boston’s default speed limit was lowered from 30mph to 25mph. Traffic Safety data shows there is a 47% likelihood of a pedestrian being killed or seriously injured in a collision with a car if a driver is going 30 mph. At 25mph, there is a 30% likelihood of a pedestrian being killed or seriously injured in a collision with a car. At 20mph, the possibility of death or severe injury for a pedestrian lowers to 17%.
If you visit the city’s Zero Boston webpage, you’ll see that there are more than 20 fatal crashes on average each year in Boston, with more than 200 people seriously injured in car or pedestrian accidents. There is an interactive “Safety Concerns Map” on the page where people - including you - can select a location and tell the city about your safety concern. There is also an “Injury Crash Map” that illustrates the reported crashes in Boston.
As of Dec. 6, the crash map data for 2021of the greater Boston area shows:
- 2,882 total crashes
- 2,452 car crashes
- 240 pedestrian crashes
- 190 bicycle crashes
Another map illustrates some of the most dangerous streets for pedestrians in Boston. Some streets included in that map are:
- Massachusetts Avenue: from the Mass. Ave Bridge and past the intersection of South Hampton Street
- Newbury Street
- Boylston Street
- Dartmouth Street
- Tremont Street
- Kneeland Street
- Washington Street
- Atlantic Avenue
The map with dangerous pedestrian areas highlighted illustrates that from 2015-2017 pedestrian deaths occurred on the following streets:
- Tremont Street (2 pedestrian deaths)
- Melnea Cass Boulevard (2 pedestrian deaths)
- Massachusetts Avenue and intersections with Mass Ave (2 pedestrian deaths)
- Washington Street (2 pedestrian deaths)
- Centre Street
Changes Boston has Made for Safer Streets:
- The new city-wide default speed limit is 25 miles per hour unless otherwise posted.
- The city launched a smartphone app called Boston’s Safest Driver. The app provides feedback on 5 metrics: rapid acceleration, harsh braking, sharp turns, at-risk speeding, and phone distractions.
- The city also published a “Street Safety Toolkit” with information on common safety concerns for bikers, walkers and drivers, and information on safer turns and safer speeds. The Toolkit is extremely interesting in its innovation and depth on the subject of pedestrian and driver safety.
- Creating better bike lanes.
How YOU can Help Make Boston Streets Safer for Pedestrians
Speeding and running red lights are two of the most dangerous driving behaviors in the city, according to LivableStreets. You can help by watching your speed in the city and coming to a complete stop at yellow and red lights.
According to the data shared above, the difference between driving 30mph and 20mph can make all the difference when it comes to a pedestrian surviving a collision with a car. If a car were to hit a pedestrian at 30mph, there is a 47% chance the pedestrian will be seriously injured or killed, while that likelihood is lowered to 17% if the driver travels 20mph.
Be especially careful of pedestrians in areas with concurrent signaling. Concurrent signaling is when you’re at an intersection or crosswalk and pedestrians have a walk signal, and cars who are turning may also have a green light. Be cautious about turns even if you have a green light as a driver because a pedestrian may still have the right of way. If you’re a pedestrian, even if you have the walk signal, be sure to take a moment to look both ways still and ensure that the vehicles in the turn lane see that you have a walking signal. Also, before you step off the curb, turn and check behind you to make sure a car to your left or right (but behind you) isn’t about to turn onto the street you are crossing. We have handled some very bad pedestrian cases involving such scenarios.
There are more than 300 intersections in the greater Boston area with this dangerous concurrent signaling at intersections.
Injured in a Pedestrian Accident in Boston or Massachusetts? Reach out for a FREE Consultation with a Pedestrian Injury Lawyer
Pedestrian accidents are among the most serious cases we see. They almost always result in serious injuries or even death. If you were injured as a pedestrian in Massachusetts, you have rights and may be able to get compensation for your medical bills, time lost from work, pain and suffering and more. Visit our results page to see how we’ve helped Massachusetts pedestrians after tragic accidents.