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Boston streets safer since city launched effort to curb accidents, but work remains: Group

Number of fatalities down sharply since 2016, but crashes involving an emergency response common

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The number of fatal crashes on Boston streets has dropped significantly since Mayor Marty Walsh enlisted the city in the Vision Zero roadway safety movement in 2015.

That is according to a recent report from a group called the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition, which used city data to show that the number of fatal crashes on Boston streets involving cars, bikes, or pedestrians declined to 10 in 2018 from 21 in 2016. (The report did not track such crashes on state roadways in Boston.)

But the same report found that the number of crashes requiring an emergency response increased over the same period, with more than 4,367 in 2018—or nearly a dozen a day. That figure included 680 nonfatal incidents involving pedestrians and 425 involving bikers.

The coalition and its allies, then, offered measured praise for the city’s clearly successful efforts to curb fatal accidents, but called for initiatives such as better enforcement of the city’s default 25 miles per hour speed limit and safety improvements along particularly busy corridors. “[A]dding one crosswalk does not address safety on a four-lane road like Malcolm X Boulevard.”

The Vision Zero Coalition also wants to see the city better engage residents in understanding safety measures—including that the default speed limit is indeed 25 mph— in a city that has some of the worst traffic in the nation world and that can be particularly unfriendly to bicyclists. Just wait until e-scooters arrive.