CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Crashes involving pedestrians are becoming more and more common in western Massachusetts.

Chicopee Police Chief Patrick Major and Mayor John Vieau held a news conference on Friday about the increase in deadly crashes and reckless driving within Chicopee. They discussed different plans to help reduce reckless driving in Chicopee. They plan on putting more police cars on the roads to monitor the streets and placing strict enforcements on moving violations.

One Chicopee resident telling 22News everyday they worry another tragedy will strike.

“They are going faster in areas that you should not be and why all of a sudden we have this going on God only knows,” Johnathan Evans, owner of Herbarium in Chicopee said.

There have been 11 people that died from 10 crashes in Chicopee this year, and back in 2021, there were 7 deadly crashes. Just in November, there were 148 crashes in Chicopee. The most recent accident was Thursday, where a bicyclist died in an accident on Meadow Street.

During the news conference, Chicopee Police Chief Patrick Major announced a few ways that they are going to try and prevent crashes and accidents in Chicopee. One of the ways is that Chicopee Police will be offering overtime to their officers to have more traffic cars on the roads during the holiday season.

“The roads are for everybody’s use, the operators, the pedestrians… so we all have to work together out there and the operators of the vehicles, be mindful of the bicyclists, pedestrians and motorcycles out there. Pedestrians, we are asking you to be careful when you cross the road,” said Chief Major.

Chicopee Police Chief Patrick Major also noted that they will be doing more social and public service announcements to remind everyone about safe driving. The Chicopee Police will also be putting more speed trailers out on the road to warn drivers of their speed, as well as for the Chicopee Police to collect data on driving habits.

Chicopee Police Chief Patrick Major announced that they issued 6,000 speeding tickets this year, which is more tickets than in past years.

Mayor Vieau said the police department has been understaffed but the ranks will be filling out as eight more officers have been hired, who will help tackle this problem.

“Our goal is to keep people safe and it always has been. We want people to feel safe and comfortable in Chicopee. We want to make sure they feel safe and comfortable on every road in every building and we’re going to continue to do what we can,” said Mayor Vieau.

Mayor John Vieau announced that there will be a flashing/hawk pedestrian light in front of City Hall to make the crosswalk brighter to ensure pedestrian safety. There is also several speed bumps on Front Street in Chicopee to minimize speeding on that road, and he is hoping that more streets will have speed bumps.

Chicopee Police Chief Patrick Major and Mayor John Vieau reminded everyone of what it means to be safe on the road:

  • It is always 25 miles an hour on a street if the speed is not posted
  • Distance, velocity, and time are the main factors in an accident
  • Obey the speed limit
  • Put down any electronics while driving
  • Do not drive under the influence
  • Look both ways before crossing the street
  • If walking, wear reflective and make eye contact with the driver before crossing
  • Speak to your children about safety tips
  • Follow instructions

People who live and work in the city say speeding has been an ongoing problem and additional patrols will help.

Evans told 22News, “To see the number of fatalities and serious injuries in such a short period of time is insane. Have the guys patrolling more or park an empty car someplace that is a known speed trap, may not catch anybody but it will slow a few of them down.”

The mayor identified this issue as one of the top problems that the city is facing right now. He added that he encourages residents to contact his office if they notice any problem areas in the city.