Data will point police to dangerous crosswalks, intersections
LEICESTER — Local police will have a bit more money to ensure a greater focus on traffic safety, specifically for pedestrians and bicyclists.
The Leicester Police Department was recently awarded a grant from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, Office of Grants and Research Highway Safety Division to improve traffic safety on local roads for pedestrians and bicyclists. In total, nearly $700,000 was awarded to 93 police departments across the Commonwealth, with funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
With close to 6,000 pedestrians killed in 2016 across the country, pedestrians now account for a larger proportion (16 percent) of traffic fatalities than they have in the past 33 years. In Massachusetts, that rate is even higher, with pedestrians representing more than 20 percent of all traffic fatalities. Bicyclists are dying at higher rates nationally as well — the 840 killed in traffic crashes in 2016 are the most since 1991.
“Bicyclists and pedestrians are at risk from the motoring public because they may not be immediately visible to drivers and unlike those in vehicles, nothing protects them in a crash,” said Leicester Police Chief Kenneth M. Antanavica. “We’ll analyze crash data to identify crosswalks, intersections, and roadways where our enforcement efforts can yield the largest impact on pedestrian and bicyclist safety.”
Under the grant, departments will pay for overtime enforcement to increase compliance with traffic laws by all road users. Departments are also eligible to purchase educational materials, bicycle helmets, and safety items to help enhance pedestrian and bicyclist visibility at night.”