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Group blames roads and speed for pedestrian deaths; The review includes Methuen and Lawrence

By on March 28, 2022 0

A rights group on Friday pointed to speed limits and road design as the main culprits in 2021 crashes that claimed pedestrian lives, including deaths in Methuen, Lawrence and Newburyport.

WalkBoston, a Massachusetts pedestrian advocacy organization, said Friday that more than half of the incidents in the state where pedestrians were killed in crashes last year occurred in just a dozen communities. Among other findings, the report shows that 40 of the 75 deaths occurred in just 12 municipalities.

“The data unfortunately confirms that crashes are happening across the Commonwealth, with the same municipalities appearing again and again to be at higher risk,” said Stacey Beuttell, executive director of WalkBoston. “Every life lost is tragic, but the data also gives us confidence that by implementing proven road safety improvements and lowering speed limits, it is absolutely possible to reduce or even eliminate fatalities. of pedestrians in Massachusetts.”

Locally, Lawrence was cited as having two pedestrian fatalities, while Methuen, Newburyport and Salisbury suffered one each.

The report also noted that adults over the age of 65 were disproportionate victims of pedestrian crashes, accounting for 36% of those killed while representing only 17% of the population.

James Fuccione, senior director of the Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative, said, “We all age and we should all want communities that support our ability to be active and engaged throughout our lives. And investing in age-friendly designs that support this should be the norm – MassDOT’s Complete Streets and Shared Streets and Spaces programs are prime examples.

More than half of pedestrian fatalities in Massachusetts occurred on streets with speed limits of 30 to 35 miles per hour, which the report called “unfriendly to people walking or in wheelchairs.” “.