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2022 Was Another Record-Breaking Year For Bloodshed on Massachusetts Roadways

A freshly-painted green bike lane runs alongside a row of white flexible-post bollards and the sidewalk, where a white bicycle leaning against a traffic light pole memorializes George Clemmer, a bicyclist who was killed at this intersection in July 2022.

A ghost bike memorializes George Clemmer on Huntington Avenue near Symphony Hall in Boston. After a truck driver killed Clemmer at this intersection, City of Boston officials installed new bike lane markings and flexible post bollards (pictured in the foreground) to improve safety. Photo courtesy of Peter Cheung.

Editor's note: the statistics cited in this article reflected the state of the MassDOT crash database at the time of its publication on Jan. 3, 2023. The death count has been revised upwards since then as additional crash reports are processed and updated.

At least 430 people died on public roadways in Massachusetts during 2022, which marks the second consecutive year that the Commonwealth has broken a new record for traffic fatalities, according to MassDOT crash records.

Previously, 2021 had been the deadliest year on Massachusetts roadways in over a decade, with 408 traffic deaths (this number was later revised upward to 418 deaths in MassDOT's crash database).

In 2022, one in four victims of roadway violence were either pedestrians or bicycle users – a significantly higher ratio compared with previous years, when victims were relatively more likely to be drivers or passengers in motor vehicles.

Drivers killed at least 99 people who were on foot or in a wheelchair and an additional 10 people who were riding bicycles over the course of the past year.

MassDOT does not record victims’ names, but from other news reports, we know that the lives lost include Chafang Wu, a 50 year-old Brockton resident, killed by an unidentified driver in May on a city street that lacks adequate crosswalks or sidewalks, and Elena Lucore, a 19-year-old UMass student, who died in a crosswalk when another student failed to stop his car for her on the hazardous multi-lane highway that cuts the campus in two.

In addition to hundreds of crashes that ended peoples' lives, MassDOT's crash database also records 2,361 crashes that caused serious injuries, plus 16,307 crashes that caused less serious injuries to their victims, during 2022.

In Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville – the three Massachusetts cities that have adopted "Vision Zero" policies aimed at eliminating deadly crashes – drivers killed 26 people in 2022. The majority of those victims (16) were pedestrians.

About 13 percent of the state's population lives in these three cities, and the 26 traffic deaths in their borders in 2022 represent 6 percent of the state's fatal crash victims for the year.

A few of those fatal crashes resulted in quick action from city officials. For instance, after a truck driver killed George Clemmer, a Cambridge resident, in the bike lane of Huntington Avenue this summer, Boston officials added new pavement markings and flexible-post bollards (pictured above).

And in Somerville, Mayor Ballantyne adjusted the design for a paving project to create protected bike lanes on Holland Street between Davis and Teele Squares after a driver killed Stephen Conley, 70, in an unprotected, paint-only bike lane in the same neighborhood.

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