January 7, 2007

Another Local Pedestrian Killed, This Time in Hudson

A man was hit by a minivan while trying to cross Rte. 85 in Hudson, the MetroWest Daily News reports. Kenneth White, 65, was crossing near Giasson Street by Brooks Pharmacy. There is a crosswalk in the area, although Hudson police said they didn't know if White was in the crosswalk when he was struck and killed.

Update: Police now say that White was in the crosswalk - where vehicles are required by law to stop for pedestrians - when he was fatally struck, according to the News.

A woman living near the intersection told the News that drivers regularly speed through. "Why isn't there a blinking light above the crosswalk so people know it's there?" she asked.

Good question.

I don't know the specifics of this tragedy; but in general, whenever there's not a large volume of pedestrians crossing, too many drivers assume they have exclusive rights to the roadways and speed through "thickly settled" areas, not looking for people on foot. This is becoming increasingly dangerous to those of us who either need or want to occasionally go someplace without using a motorized vehicle.

In fact, even when there are a large number of expected pedestrians, cars often whiz through well-marked crosswalks in broad daylight, such as on First Night in Boston near the Public Garden. Our intersections need to be better designed with pedestrians, not only cars, in mind; and our crosswalks need to be better marked. And there needs to be some enforcement when drivers barrel through crosswalks without regard for pedestrians.

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