IT'S tough to be a pedestrian in West Virginia these days.
Early Thursday morning, an elderly woman was killed in Charleston when she was hit by a car while crossing Greenbrier Street. Even though she was crossing where Virginia Street intersects, there is no crosswalk there.
One witness, who tried to resuscitate the woman, told WCHS-TV, "People come off the interstate, flying like a speedway and they don't have control of their car. By the time they get down here it's too late. If you're crossing, either you're going to get hit or you're just going to have to jump out of the way."
On Oct. 1, a couple from United Kingdom, both aged 67, were killed when they were struck by a car while crossing U.S. 60 near Outback Steakhouse in the mismash of roads that lead to the Huntington Mall in Barboursville.
On Sept. 26, a 60-year-old woman died after being struck by a car while crossing Hal Greer Boulevard in Huntington, when she went out from visiting her husband, a patient at Cabell-Huntington Hospital, to get him a drink from a fast food restaurant.
Said one witness: "There's a lot of pedestrian traffic here on Hal Greer with the hospital and the employees. There's not a lot of light out here. It's really, really hard to see people walking up and down at night. We see a lot of almost traffic accidents every day."
On Aug. 19, a 79-year-old man was killed after being hit by a car while crossing South High Street in Morgantown.
Notice a pattern?
Today's urban roads are great for handling high-speed vehicle traffic. But they are deadly for pedestrians, particularly anyone who no longer possesses quick reflexes and breakneck running speed to dodge fast-moving cars in a real life-or-death version of Frogger.
Pedestrians and bicyclists have been neglected in traffic planning for too long. The state Department of Highways, cities and counties need to improve safety by adding crosswalks on existing roads and planning for safe pedestrian crossings when designing new roadways.