Serious motorcycle accident triggers calls for safety

By Kristen Ray
Posted 7/11/19

For many of the residents living near the intersection of Mount Hope and Fox Hill avenues, the day was looking to be like any other sunny Fourth of July celebration. It was around 2:30 p.m. The …

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Serious motorcycle accident triggers calls for safety

Posted

For many of the residents living near the intersection of Mount Hope and Fox Hill avenues, the day was looking to be like any other sunny Fourth of July celebration. It was around 2:30 p.m. The parade was over, but there was still an afternoon filled with family, friends and food stretched before them. MaryAnne Donato was out in her backyard; Doreen DaSilva had just shut the hood of her grill.

Then they heard the crash, and everything changed.

An SUV and motorcycle collided, with the motorcyclist lying critically injured in the street. The horrific scene was suddenly unfolding right in front of them. They and others ran into the street to help the injured man, while also trying to direct the heavy flow of post-parade traffic.

Rescuers and police officers arrived within minutes and took command of the scene, but the harrowing incident has stayed with them, long after the victim, a Bristol man, was rushed to the hospital, where he remains to this day.

Ms. Donato and DaSilva say they have finally had enough. After spending years dealing with the repercussions resulting from that dangerous intersection, the two women are fighting back, calling on the town to help them assure safer roadways for both travelers and residents of their neighborhood.

A history of trouble

According to Ms. Donato and DaSilva — both longtime residents of Mount Hope Avenue — the events of July 4 add to what already was an extensive list of other incidents that have occurred at the troubled intersection. Situated at a point where Mount Hope Avenue bottoms out between two hills, the intersection has long posed a threat to both pedestrians and motorists alike as all day long, vehicles are whipping through. Cars have hit other cars, telephone poles — even houses.

“You name it, they’ve done it,” said Ms. Donato.

Though police officers have routinely stationed themselves in the area in order to catch speeding vehicles, little else has been done to try to improve the safety in their neighborhood. After two cars had, on separate occasions, gone sailing through his yard, a past neighbor of Ms. Donato and DaSilva’s fought the town to have a guardrail put in place. A different neighbor worked to have the speed limit reduced to 25.

While both were positive changes, the two women say they alone are not enough, and they are frustrated that more initiative has not come from the town itself.

“We’re just shaking our heads in disbelief,” said Ms. Donato. “What else does it take for them to do something?”

A call for change

Ms. Donato and DaSilva are planning to circulate a petition, asking the town for two things.

First, in an effort to slow down traffic, the women want to see four-way stop signs put in place — currently, there are stop signs on Fox Hill Avenue. Considering the large number of school-age children living in the area, Ms. Donato and DaSilva want a crosswalk added as well, painted across Mount Hope Avenue at the point where the bus stop is located.

The women have made Town Administrator Steven Contente aware of their plans and hope to be added to a council agenda soon. Neither intends to give up fighting until they have successfully changed things.

“I don’t ever want to see this again in my lifetime,” said Ms. Donato. “I can’t live long enough to forget it.”

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