The Bangor pedestrian who died Wednesday after being hit by a car last week was the fourth pedestrian to die in a crash in Bangor since 2015.
However, Peter McIntosh’s death is the first pedestrian death in the city since 2018, according to Bangor Police Department data.
The number of car-pedestrian crashes in Bangor last year was almost 35 percent higher than in 2018. There were 35 car-pedestrian crashes in the city last year, compared with 26 each in 2017 and 2018. In the past five years, the city recorded the highest number of car-pedestrian crashes in 2016, according to the police department data, when there were 42 such crashes.
The crashes were largely clustered around downtown, according to a map provided by Bangor police.
Car-pedestrian crashes are much more likely to happen in the winter months, with 47 percent in the past five years happening between November and February, according to Maine Department of Transportation data.
Pedestrians were also much more likely to be hit by vehicles between 4 and 7 p.m. — peak commute hours that are dark during the winter months. Thirty-seven percent of car-pedestrian crashes in the past five years happened within these three hours, according to the Department of Transportation database.
In addition to car-pedestrian crashes, there were 57 car-bicycle crashes in Bangor from 2015 through 2019, according to the Maine Department of Transportation database. Most happened in the summer months.
Statewide, there were 75 pedestrian fatalities from 2015 through 2019.
The state Department of Transportation identified a number of infrastructure changes aimed at improving pedestrian safety in its Strategic Highway Safety Plan released in 2017. They include installing blinking lights at crosswalks, high-visibility pavement treatments so it’s more evident where pedestrians are crossing, and bicycle and pedestrian safety signs.
Some of these strategies were incorporated in the Bangor area last year, including temporary bollards at two downtown crosswalks that narrowed the street slightly and made crosswalk locations more obvious to drivers.