Dating back to last spring, officials in Quincy have been trying to improve pedestrian safety in the city. Their efforts were prompted by a surge of pedestrian accidents in January and February of early this year. In April, the city launched a pedestrian safety initiative, which attempted to educate Quincy residents about safe pedestrian habits, repaint crosswalks, and improve traffic conditions in areas of high risk. Unfortunately, thus far, their efforts have not yet produced the desired results, as the Quincy police reported 65 pedestrian accidents, including three fatalities, from January to September 2012. This number has already eclipsed 2010, which had 49 pedestrian accidents with no fatalities. Last year, Quincy reported a total of 71 pedestrian accidents with two fatalities. Clearly, these numbers are much higher than they should be, with countless numbers of preventable injuries and deaths occurring each year in the city.
The Boston pedestrian accident attorneys at Bellotti Law Group understand the immense importance of pedestrian safety. With an office located in the heart of Quincy and near a very busy intersection on Hancock Street, we know how dangerous our roads can be. If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian accident, call us today at 617-225-2100 for a free discussion of your case.
Quincy officials are now pointing to pedestrian behavior as the biggest hurdle to overcome in lowering the number of pedestrian accidents. According to Police Lieutenant Kevin Tobin, “We can enforce motor-vehicle infractions and charge people that are found at fault, but we need the public to use crosswalks, use lights, dress appropriately at certain times of day.” This sentiment was backed by Quincy Police Captain John Dougan, who noted “A number of [accidents] are pedestrians’ fault, trying to run through traffic more or less. They don’t pay attention to lights and crosswalks.” In short, both drivers and pedestrians need to remain vigilant in commuting safely.
Before we are too quick to blame Quincy residents for their often dangerous pedestrian behavior, it should be noted that in similarly sized cities south of Boston, the number of accidents is comparable. In New Bedford, which has a population of 95,000 (Quincy is around 93,000) and 287 miles of roadway, there have been 61 pedestrian accidents reported thus far in 2012. In Brockton, population 94,000 with 287 miles of road, there have been 75 pedestrian accidents. The slightly more suburban Weymouth, comparatively, only reported two pedestrian accidents, one being fatal, this year. Similarly, Hingham only has had three pedestrian accidents, none fatal.
While Quincy officials don’t have an exact answer explaining the increase in accidents this year, the resulting public safety initiative is designed to drive the numbers down. So far, the mayor’s office has held meetings and safety information has been passed out in several Quincy neighborhoods. Further, there have been increased police efforts directed at pedestrian safety, particularly at problematic intersections. Mayor Tom Koch has also been involved in Quincy schools, trying to educate young children about the importance of practicing safe pedestrian habits.
Even small measures, like repainting crosswalks, can have a large impact. According to Daniel Vomhof, an accident reconstructionist and forensic consultant, Quincy is taking all the right steps. He also stressed that some of the burden falls on the pedestrian to remain alert and aware before crossing the street. Vomhof notes “From the pedestrian perspective, it’s part of human nature, the pedestrian . . . [thinks] if I can see the car and driver, the driver of the vehicle must be able to see me, which isn’t necessarily true, particularly at night.”
If you or a loved one has been injured or wrongfully killed because of a driver’s negligence, contact the Boston pedestrian accident lawyers at Bellotti Law Group today at 617-225-2100 for a FREE consultation to discuss your rights.