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South End crash sends two elderly pedestrians to the hospital in bad shape

Around 3:30 p.m. at Tremont and W. Brookline streets.

UPDATE: The Globe reports one died.

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Comments

Seems we can't go a day or two without reading about another crash involving motor vehicles.

Is it heroin? Cellphones? Fucking both?

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Its cell phones and a total lack of accountability for drivers so they don't care if driving while talking on a cell phone or texting greatly increases their chance of killing someone, its more convenient and thats more important and nothing will happen to them when they do.

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Or sun glare in this case?

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Cant see? Pull down your visor and slow down. Still can't see? Pull over for a few minutes.

Sun glare is not an excuse.

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http://boston.cbslocal.com/2015/11/04/south-end-pedestrians-struck/

The driver told witnesses, she simply couldn’t see.

“She was crying,” Samaha says. “She said the sun was in her face and it’s true you can’t see.”

And Samaha said the sun is a big problem on Tremont, making this a very dangerous stretch for both drivers and anyone trying to cross.

Completely agreed with Swirly.

The driver couldn't see but she continued to pilot her several-ton vehicle down the road? If this is really what transpired, now that one of the pedestrians has died, how is this not a homicide?

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If sections of Boston in November are "sunny", people in Arizona must feel blind as a mole. Before leaving home for work, they must be updating their wills, DNRs etc.

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If she really couldn't see - what was her speed at the time of impact????

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Slowing and stopping, especially if the guy behind you can't see either is not completely safe. Pulling over when you can't see isn't safe (where are the pedestrians? In the street or by the curb?)

That's why motor safety is a two-way responsibility: the driver needs to operate safely, but pedestrians at crosswalks need to stop, look, make eye contact, and wait for the driver to acknowledge them and stop before walking further and completing their crossing.

A million and a half times I've been driving (in good visibility) and seen pedestrians jump out from behind cars at poorly placed crosswalks.

I've also seen plenty of drivers fail to stop for me when I was waiting at a well designed crosswalk, and I never set foot on the pavement until I see them slowing down.

Responsibility for avoiding accidents lies in th he hands of each and every party capable of taking reasonable action to prevent it. Slowing down is reasonable, but so is waiting for vehicular traffic to slow down for you.

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look, make eye contact, and wait for the driver to acknowledge them

Before or after the driver is looking at their cellphone? And honestly, with most drivers wearing sunglasses and the tinted windows, makes it pretty darn hard to make eye contact. And what the hell do you mean acknowledge? Flashing lights? Thumbs up? Smoke signals? How does this work for the visually impaired?

seen pedestrians jump out from behind cars at poorly placed crosswalks.

Literally? You've literally seen pedestrians jump out into the road?

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Yes you are right but just but pedestrians who assume a driver sees them could end up dead. Yes as a driver i have seen pedestrians walk right into oncoming traffic. As a walker plenty i f times drivers have steamed through the cross walk - even red lights. I have to cross a poorly designed very busy road in quincy - i waive my hands or swing my coat so the driver slows down - if he doesn't he probably hasn't seen me. I do this all the time. Drivers dont want to hit people nor do people want to be hit. Most of boston crosswalks are poorly marked with cars parked both sides blocking driver and pedestrian visibility.
Be careful out there folks!

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If you cannot see, you cannot drive. Period. Pull over, even if it is blocking a driveway or hydrant. There are few places where this is not possible.

I was so blinded by the sun driving home from Maine yesterday afternoon that I pulled off the highway, fueled up, and waited until the glare was more manageable. It was simply not safe for me to drive with the unmitigated glare. This took all of ten minutes, during which the sun moved.

Slowing down is also an option until you can pull over. If you are going 20 mph in a modern vehicle you can stop almost instantly. This is a good idea where there are crosswalks all over.

But, hey, when I drive I assume that I have fundamental responsibility for where my vehicle goes and full ownership of the consequences. I don't assume that I just get to plow down the road without respect for the built environment, presence of people and crosswalks, and environmental conditions.

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As can be seen in the news footage, the dark suv is stopped just past the crosswalk. The windshield is intact, and there is just a small dent on the hood.

What most likely made the crash fatal was the age of the victim and that she probably hit her head on the pavement falling. This is how a woman died this summer when another pedestrian shoved her, when a bicyclist hit a man in Boston in 2009, and how two pedestrians were killed by cyclists in Central Park last year. Then there are the kids dying in HS football games, also mostly from head injuries.

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Hey Mark, not everything is about bikes.

You know what possibly made this impact fatal? A driver admitting she could not see yet continuing to pilot her two-ton vehicle down the road.

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That's why I used a fellow pedestrian and bicycles as an example. You keep trying to make hay of 2 ton vehicle and my point is that falling and hitting one's head on the pavement has nothing to do with that. Clearly you still can't comprehend it.

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A bicyclist who hits a pedestrian in a crosswalk would be just as guilty and irresponsible as a driver who does the same.

So what's your point?

If a fellow pedestrian ran up to the pedestrian and threw her to the ground and she died, would the aggressor not be guilty of a crime?

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Do you not comprehend the difference? You think there was an intent to kill, rather than momentary blindness by the sun?

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You make it seem as if the driver reached the crosswalk and poof, at the exact moment the sun blinded her, two woman appeared out of nowhere right in front of her car.

Did the driver not see the women as they started to cross? As a driver on a city street, especially on a street with numerous unsignaled crosswalks, it is your duty to continually scan crosswalks for pedestrians crossing, or about to stop into the street. And if that means going 5mph, so be it.

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They are second only to black children for being in collisions, per capita. In places where there is a high elderly Asian population, there are high pedestrian collision rates - NYC, SF, Quincy etc. I don't know why, but its a factor.

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They are second only to black children for being in collisions, per capita. In places where there is a high elderly Asian population, there are high pedestrian collision rates - NYC, SF, Quincy etc. I don't know why, but its a factor.

Your pants are smoking and about to burst into flame, and the only thing that will prevent the seemingly inevitable is a cold wet injection of facts. Please provide a valid and relevant citation supporting your claim forthwith.

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http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/809956.pdf
Note, the study is a few years old, so its possible hipsters looking at cell phones instead of where they are going are showing up in newer statistics.

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In Mark's deranged alternate reality, pedestrians should wear helmets or install airbags in their neck. Otherwise when someone rams them with a piece of heavy machinery and they hit their head, it's their own damn fault!

So what if they're elderly, infirm, or a child?! Mark's hatred and mind-numbing lack of logic, knows no bounds!

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Cyclists kill zero to one pedestrian per year.
Motorists kill 10,000.

That's one two three four FOUR ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE difference.

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Only a bit under 5,000 pedestrians die every year.

What?! You said statistics matter.

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SUVs are far more likely to kill than cars, due to the height of the hood. When a traditional car hits a ped, the ped ends up on the hood. That sounds bad, but it's good -- it means that the ped isn't extremely suddenly traveling at the speed of the vehicle. Conversely, when an SUV or truck hits a ped, the higher hood means that the ped doesn't roll onto the hood. Rather, he or she is nearly instantly accelerated to the speed of the vehicle.

That difference results in tremendously different survival rates for urban-speed ped-vehicle collisions. Mortality rates for ped-SUV collisions are roughly 50% higher than ped-auto. source see Table 7.

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I hate to even engage with you, but where should she have pulled over on Tremont -- where both sides of the street are full of parked cars? Should she have double parked? What if everyone did that? Should we just close the roads to traffic when the sun is at a certain angle?

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Most folks, I dare say, drive with glare in their eyes. It is not realistic (aka Swirls) to think you should just pull over and wait for the sun to go down (if the person can even pull over). From reading the story, it sounds like this area has a problem with sun glare and the intersection has no walk signals and/or traffic lights to stop traffic (the installation of which, in hindsight, is probably the best solution).

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Stop calling it an accident.

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An accident is an undesirable incidental and unplanned event that could have been prevented had circumstances leading up to the accident been recognized, and acted upon, prior to its occurrence.

But I guess it's more PC to call it a crash.

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I've done it. You can also turn down a side street.

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Should we just close the roads to traffic when the sun is at a certain angle?

No. We wait until a driver who allegedly claimed she could not see because of the sun nevertheless continued on powering her two-ton vehicle and ran into a person.

Then the police close the road for a few hours.

Absolutely: if the weather and other conditions reduce visibility to zero, then yes, the only prudent thing to do is to stop driving until visibility improves. I suppose you're whining too when snow and other weather conditions lead to a speed limit reduction on the Pike.

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Close every road on which there is intermittent, momentary blindness as the sun pokes through buildings or trees, or over hills because there might be something in the middle of the road?

There just isn't the police manpower to do that.

Perhaps just ban eastbound travel in the morning and westbound in the evening?

Does that work for you Saul?

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There just isn't the police manpower to do that.

It's called individual judgment. It is a prerequisite for being licensed to operate heavy machinery, such as a motor vehicle, on a public way. Drivers who demonstrate that they can not safely operate vehicles on the public ways should be relieved of that privilege.

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Here's MGL on crosswalks. Nowhere is there anything about the pedestrian waiting for the vehicle to slow down and acknowledging the vehicle is slowing down before crossing. Is it smart to walk out in to traffic without looking? No. But all of the fault lies with the driver. If you can't see, slow down. If there's someone tailgating you? Slow down.

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As if I'm disagreeing with over the facts of what's written in the MGL. I know the law puts the blame on the driver for failing to yield. I also know the difference between theory and practice. The letter and sometimes the intent of the law is theory. I'm still not walking into traffic without seeing the car slow down, because the difference between theory and practice is not worth losing my life over.

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YIELD

Do you not understand?

I suggest that you return your driver's license to the crackerjack box from whence it came until you get a better attitude and learn to follow the rules of the road.

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Than, say, stop.

Obviously, someone walking in a crosswalk is easy. Stop, and let them cross.

Someone standing on a sidewalk is could be a bit murky. If they arrive while I'm driving 20 MPH and am 10 feet from the crosswalk, I think that prudence says they wait a few seconds. Of course, most people have been looking at this from the perspective of pedestrians and common sense. But fine, stick to the law. Good luck with that.

Please note, my comments are not meant to level accusations or exculpate anyone in this tragic situation, just to further this theoretical debate.

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work on good intentions. If the MGL said I should come to stop from 25 to zero in negative 10 seconds, anyone who fails to travel backward in time at the crosswalk wouldn't meet your standard for competence to operate a motor vehicle.

My world works on physics and reality. I can't yield to you if I don't see you in time. And I can't see you in time if you're hidden behind an obstruction in front of the crosswalk or if in the instant you step into the street my ever-scanning eyes happen to be scanning forward and a block ahead to look for obstructions, red lights, stop signs, or those ever-present bicycles I keep being told belong on the road, instead of looking off to the side where you're at.

In my work I've built and run 15-ton moving machines in close proximity to people and it was my job to make sure no one got so much as a scratch on them. Safety was and is always a two-way responsibility: the operator is responsible for not killing anyone near the machine, and anyone near the machine was always responsible for making their presence known to the machine operators with voice links, safety cameras, interlocks, lock-out/tag-out procedures, and above all, the right attitude.

With your attitude, it's a wonder you're allowed to drive and with your faith-based approach to safety it's an even bigger wonder you haven't gotten yourself run over yet. I didn't tolerate faith-based safety in my shop.

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Sweetie, if you hit me, you are going to pay through the nose. If you kill me, you can forego your mortgage same day, as you will have to give everything you own to my family. Loss of income for a person living in Boston is going to cost your dearly. Knowing this, knowing how drivers in Boston cherish their money, and having warned my family not to forgive, stories about sunny streets not withstanding, I am crossing streets like there's no tomorrow. No jaywalking, but no yielding to the driver. I hope the family of the victims is not giving up on anything they are entitled to. It's the fear of losing money, rather than respect for life, that keeps us safe on these sidewalks. Too bad we don't have debtor's jail any longer.

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You're rolling the dice if you really cross streets with that attitude. What if you get hit by someone who has no license, no insurance etc. Think it doesn't happen often? You won't exactly cash in.

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n/t

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However, I doubt anyone is really going to pull over for a few minutes if they can't see due to sun glare. BUT, if a driver really "can't see" because of the sun, maybe they should slow the hell down?

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Walking from work to the train (a five-minute walk) I counted six people sitting at lights texting. Glad to see that law is in effect. (For the record: drivers get really funny when they notice that a pedestrian is making solid eye contact when they walk by. I heartily recommend it.)

I give the driver credit though for actually sticking around and not making the cops go out on a cursory visit for the I Had No Idea exit interview.

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Saw that the other day around Beacon Hill. Driving in traffic, texting with both hands and steering with the knees/elbows.

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For the purpose of a specific case, they're no more relevant than the inevitable comments after a cyclist is killed about "ooh...these cyclists are always riding through red light! He probably wasn't wearing a helmet! They all ride too fast and don't obey the rules of the road." There's just no reason the jump the gun and say (or imply) that the driver was texting or driving using their forehead or anything. Until you have actual proof that they WERE texting (or speeding, or running a red) the bad behavior of other drivers (or cyclists or pedestrians) is unfair and irrelevant.

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I apologize for assuming that the woman was on the phone, now that it's clear that she was just completely unable to see but making too good time to slow down

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I feel horrible for the woman and their families. This video (which apparently won't embed) sums things up nicely.

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but this intersection is quite unsafe. The light there is very unfriendly to pedestrians.

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What light? It's an unsignaled crosswalk.

https://goo.gl/maps/Jjt6SYDpPyH2

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Not traffic light.

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That road can be painful to drive down at certain times of the day/year. There are crosswalks nearly every block and they're all frequently used. Add in all the double parking, the 4 lane width, and occasional patches of valet... It can be crazy driving through there at times.

That doesn't excuse someone from striking pedestrians in a crosswalk with their car. Road conditions are something drivers should be compensating for. They don't need to stop dead in the road (the double parking is bad enough on Tremont without having more of it), but they do need to drive safely.

Cityhenges aren't unique to Tremont or Boston.

http://sztanko.github.io/solsticestreets/cities/boston.html

Tremont is less than a degree from the exact sun's path in the evenings right now.

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Tremont St in the South End is in desperate need of a road diet. The two lanes each direction setup is one of the most dangerous you can have. You have the "dual threat" where the car in one travel lanes stops for pedestrians crossing at unsignalized crosswalks but a car in the adjacent travel lane does not. Left turning cars must cross two lanes of oncoming traffic AND end up blocking their lane in the meantime, which leads to lots of dangerous weaving and merging by cars behind them. And having multiple lanes in each direction generally invites speeding and dangerous passing.

The City should restripe it as one lane each direction, with left turn pockets in the middle, and bike lanes on the outside (either traditional bike lanes or parking protected ones.) This would make the street much safer and easier to navigate for everyone.

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you know, put up traffic lights so that the traffic flows, the pedestrians cross safely, and it's not a free-for-all.

Road diets are a completely wrong-headed way to handle traffic flow. People need to get from A to B. Slowing them down by reducing the available car lanes doesn't help them do it faster. You know, taxis, car shares, and city buses use those lanes too...

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On a four-lane undivided road, vehicle speeds can vary between travel lanes, and drivers frequently slow or change lanes due to slower vehicles or vehicles stopped in the left lane waiting to turn left. On three-lane roads with TWLTLs [two-way left-turn lanes], left-turning vehicles are separated from through vehicles, and the vehicle speed differential is limited by the speed of the lead vehicle in the through lane. This reduces the vehicle-to-vehicle conflicts that contribute to crashes.

Studies indicate a 19 to 47 percent reduction in overall crashes when a Road Diet is installed on a previously four-lane undivided facility.

https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/innovation/everydaycounts/edc-3/roaddiets.cfm

Going faster isn't the point.

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That's what MassDOT engineers call your TWLTLs ever since there was some notorious clusters of head-on fatal collisions on them some decades back. Ever since, MassDOT has not wanted to use them in road designs, so sorry about your road diet theories which often don't work out as promised.

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Does that mean that now that a person died from getting hit by a car here, they're going to not do roads that cars are allowed on anymore?

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It doesn't have to be a TWLTL. It can also be a striped median with left turn pockets in the appropriate direction at intersections, which doesn't have the head-on collision risk.

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The idea is not to make the total trip slower for a car. The idea is to smooth speeds out so there are fewer starts and stops while the average speed is the same. Plus, as long as you have traffic lights at all, any speed difference is going to easily be lost due to waiting at the eventual red light.

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