Letters to the Editor: Can we reduce pedestrian deaths while keeping right turns on red?
It’s been six months since two cyclists were killed by a car that was turning left on a red light while speeding along West Broadway in Northborough. On Oct. 24, a car turning left at West Broadway was also involved in a hit-and-run that killed one cyclist.
The victims of each of these accidents were struck as they were trying to cross the intersection of West Broadway and North Street. Both victims of each of these accidents were wearing clothes reflective of their clothes.
In this town and in many others where pedestrian traffic is heavy and right-turn violations are a common practice, we are asked to believe that drivers are more attentive to the safety of pedestrians.
Is our answer simply to reduce the numbers of the pedestrians who are struck as the result of such traffic maneuvers?
Or should we reduce the number of such violations?
I would first like to suggest that our primary concern should be to reduce the number of right turns at intersections while the number of pedestrians struck remains at current levels. That could be accomplished by a number of means:
1. Speed limit signage. Speed limit signs directing drivers to turn right on red would reduce the number of “traffic fatalities” at certain intersections.
2. Signage reminding drivers to stop at pedestrian crosswalks.
3. Signs identifying the pedestrian crosswalks.
4. Signs indicating that there is danger ahead.
5. Warning signs along West Broadway and North Street.
6. Speed limit signs directing drivers to turn left in both directions at certain intersections.
It is important not to turn right on red when a safe alternative exists, such as turning south on Broadway or turning left on North Street.
If the State Legislature is willing to support such a plan, drivers would then expect that our primary concern should be to reduce the number of right turns at intersections while the number of pedestrians struck remains at current levels.
It is also important to note that drivers who violate the right of way laws to a dangerous degree should be penalized, but no one should be encouraged to violate this law.
If drivers are to be encouraged to violate our laws, we must be sure that pedestrians are protected from being struck by drivers who fail to obey the law.
It is our hope that we can work toward a