Friday August 10, 2012

Pedestrian safety in crosswalks has been a major, often divisive, issue in recent years, especially following a series of tragic accidents in several communities.

Here is a partial list of the most serious incidents, as culled from Eagle archives:

May 28, 2012: Two Russian tourists were seriously injured after being struck in a crosswalk on Housatonic Street in Lee by a Canadian motorist. The pedestrians were taken to Berkshire Medical Center with serious, but non-life threatening injuries. The driver told police he never saw the two women in the downtown crosswalk. He was cited for failure to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk.

Jan.

This traffic sign warns drivers to stop for pedestrians or face a $200 fine.
This traffic sign warns drivers to stop for pedestrians or face a $200 fine. (Ben Garver / Berkshire Eagle Staff)
23, 2012: A New York state motorist was charged with failing to yield to a pedestrian after a 75-year-old woman was injured after she was struck in a Main Street crosswalk in Lee. The pedestrian was sent to Berkshire Medical Center with non life-threatening injuries.

Dec. 2, 2009: A pedestrian was severely injured crossing Dalton Avenue in Pittsfield and died five days later. The driver was cited for motor vehicle homicide. The city already had stepped up crosswalk enforcement through a $7,500 state grant providing overtime for a six-month period to enforce pedestrian-crossing laws. Pittsfield Police Department crash data revealed a total of 39 pedestrian-related accidents in 2008, with similar totals by the end of 2009.


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Dec. 20, 2008: Prominent downtown Lee businessman Douglas Wilcox was severely injured after he was struck in a downtown crosswalk on Main Street. His recovery required a year of treatment. Within the following four months, there were two more car-pedestrian accidents in the town. A local woman, 22, suffered several broken bones and a lacerated liver; another 22-year-old woman, pregnant at the time, escaped serious injury after she was knocked down by a vehicle while she was in a Main Street crosswalk. Her pregnancy was unaffected. The series of accidents led the town to install additional, visible signage.

Nov. 4, 2006: A 66-year-old tourist from New Brunswick, Canada, was hit in a Housatonic Street crosswalk in Lee and died of his injuries three weeks later.

May 25, 2006: A 79-year-old Great Barrington woman was struck and killed instantly while carrying groceries in a South Main Street crosswalk.