ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Advocates and local leaders gathered Friday to remember the victims of traffic violence. It happened ahead of World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, which is typically commemorated on the third Sunday of November.
The names of 19 victims from the last 10 years were read at the vigil Friday. Among them was Roger Sawyer. His mother Patricia Sawyer attended the vigil in his honor and said he was riding his bike over Washington Extension, near Crossgates, when he was hit by an unlicensed driver at 5:00 A.M. on his way into work.
“No parent should have to bury their child before them,” said Sawyer. She said it’s frustrating but you learn how to live without them. “Well it did make a difference in my family because I had four sons and he is the missing link. It is a big difference. He was a good boy. He had a lot going for him.”
Ed Brennan is the president of the Albany Bicycle Coalition and said they looked at data from the New York State Traffic Safety Statistical Repository to compare crashes from 2019 to 2022. They found the number of crashes had decreased but the number of fatalities and serious injuries had increased.
“There’s more serious injuries, so the crashes that we’re having are more violent and there’s only two things that go into the violence of a crash, the mass of the vehicle and velocity that it’s going at,” said Brennan.
The coalition and other organizations have been unified in their demands for the city of Albany to focus on solutions in the upcoming year. Brennan said this year they are focused on three solutions.
First, they want to reduce speed limits to 25 mph on all non-limited access roads. Second, they want to ensure speed cameras are installed in all school zones and want assurance cameras won’t be removed if there’s public backlash. And third, they want the city to carry out the recommendations made in the Washington Park study.
“We wanted to make sure that we had requests that were doable in the next year. I know the city has really been working on the first two,” said Brennan.
Brennan said he also wants improvements made on Central Avenue, which has been identified as a “consistently challenging area”.