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Hundreds of Accidents on Bear Mountain Parkway in Last 10 Years

The New York State Department of Transportation provided DMV information on all reported accidents on the Cortlandt stretch of the BMP from March, 2001 to March 2011.

Three fatal accidents have occurred on the Bear Mountain Parkway (BMP) near Locust Avenue in the since 2001, according to documents provided by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. One of those accidents was earlier this month when after the driver of a car traveling westbound swerved into the eastbound lane and collided with the car Barnes was in. The other fatal accidents occurred in 2001 and 2005.

Based on information obtained from the DMV by the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT), there have been 201 accidents on the same section (approximately between Route 202 and just past Route 6) of the BMP in which 55 people were injured, between March 2001 and March 2011. That represents about a one-mile stretch of the approximately four-mile-long parkway.

Most of the accidents (127 of them) happened during the day, 50 occurred at night and 8 occurred during dawn or dusk. The DMV reports that the “apparent factor” in about 20 of the accidents was improper turning, although many more of the accidents involved turns.

Other “apparent factors” in the accidents were following too closely, failure to yield, improper lane changes, animals in the road, cell phone use, snow/ice and alcohol.

The Town of Cortlandt has asked the state to install a median barrier on the BMP to make it safer for drivers. While the state for the parkway, it canceled the project once the economic crisis occurred in 2008. That project would have started in 2012. Now, it seems unlikely that the state will install a barrier, as it says it lacks the manpower, equipment and funding to do so.

The New York State Police are still investigating the accident in which LaMarr Barnes was killed on Dec. 9, 2011.

The DOT investigated the accident right after it occured, said Michael Cotton, the NYSDOT's Regional Traffic Engineer. If the police conclude that road geometrics contributed to the Dec. 9 accident, the DOT will investigate whether or not there is something they could do to make the road safer. Road geometrics would be something like a blind hill, poor sight distance or sharp curve on the roadway. None of the 201 accidents in the DMV list that reported an "apparent factor" mentioned road geometrics. They were largely human error. (Some accidents' "apparent factors" were not available).

"We do investigations all the time," Cotton said. He explained that if residents complain or the town passes a resolution asking the DOT to add a stop sign, change the speed limit or make some other change, the DOT will investigate and make the change if they agree it can make a road safer.Cotton says the DOT often makes small safety adjustments when it deems it necessary. 

A median barrier is a much bigger project, as it would require the road to be changed to one lane on both sides or to be widened. Since the state funding for the $60 million project fell through, BMP has been bumped off the state's Prioirty Investigation List (PIL), by roads with higher rates of accidents and fatalities.

"The way a road gets on the list is statisitcal," Cotton says. "It is dynamic so it can always change."

This means that hundreds other roads would take priority for DOT investigation and monitoring for such a large project.

The other two BMP fatal accidents occurred on Oct. 18, 2001 and June 9, 2005. The DMV reports that excessive speed was the factor in the 2005 fatality and improper turning was involved in the 2001 fatality.

Patch will report the state police findings once they close their investigations and release the information.

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RGD32162 December 27, 2011 at 02:23 PM
I had a head on collision at around 5:30 PM Dec 26,1996 at the intersection of the Bera Mountain and North Division St. I was hit by a drunk driver driving on the wrong side of the road. I saw him coming but because of heavy traffic in both directions had no where to go. Fortunatelt I wasn't injured because I was driving a Ford Bronco and he was driving a Toyota Corolla. The Corolla went underneath the Bronco. Three of the four people in the Toyota had to be stat flighted to the hospital. Since then I try to avoid the Bear Mountain as much as possible. How many people need to be seriously injured or killed before someone does something to make the Bear Mountain safe to drive on??? This road was designed for Model A Fords driving 30 MPH it was never meant for huge SUVs, Corvettes and trucks driving 70 MPH.
Liz Giegerich December 27, 2011 at 02:51 PM
Thanks for your comment. I am glad you were ok and hope the others were too. The chance of a major change is unlikely since the BMP accidents are often blamed on the drivers. I will keep you updated on the conclusions on this fatal accident.
Renata Diaz December 27, 2011 at 03:10 PM
something really needs to be done its so sad that the state dont wna do nothing ive lost two loved ones since 2005 and i think its time for a change maybe this can help save peoples life especially innocent people
Laura Belfiore December 27, 2011 at 03:45 PM
I so often see drivers in the opposite lane of the BMP driving over the double yellow line that I refuse to drive in the center most lane anymore. Every time I travel the road I question why there is not a barrier installed. If the state cannot afford the project maybe they should consider a more economical solution like lowering the speed limit. Something needs to be done because the road is dangerous as is.
C Gajowski December 27, 2011 at 04:53 PM
If someone is driving too fast or driving under the influence it isn't the road. And a lot of folks drive very poorly over all. Perhaps setting up random periods of extreme enforcement - tickets for not staying right, maybe; using cell phones; tailgating, and regular DUI road checks would slow some and eliminate others? Also, it is time to prohibit left turns into the overlook ( from west bound traffic), which would get rid of one dangerous issue with absolutely no expense beyond signage. Didn't grasp the comment about the middle lane - there isn't any, everyone should stay right - far right. One of my own pet peeves is that a lot of the road hogs are in SUVs and do not seem to grasp the concept of driving in a single lane. This is a mountain road; whatever changes can be made will not eliminate that
C Gajowski December 27, 2011 at 04:56 PM
Reread - Never mind, I was thinking about the other side - not the Cortlandt part of the BMP. I still think some random enforcement might slow some of the speeders and drinkers.
Alex December 27, 2011 at 06:13 PM
Why is it always the government's fault that the road is faulty? RGD32162 is right when he states that the road wasn't designed for 70+ mph traffic. That's why it's speed limit is no where even near that. If people slowed down to below the posted speed limit ( remember, it's the LIMIT, not recommended speed to travel), didn't drink and drive, and just drove safer overall and paid attention to the road instead of other distractions, accidents would drop sharply. Stop blaming parties that have no responsibility at all.
RGD32162 December 27, 2011 at 06:48 PM
Alex, Good point but I still have an issue with the road itself. I WAS driving at a safe speed and driving in my lane. The guy who was drunk and crossed into my lane leaving me nothing I could do except brace for the collision. I was lucky I was driving my Bronco and not my wife's Pontiac Sunfire. If I had been in that car I may well have been injured or even killed. The police can't possibly stop all the accidents no matter how many tickets they write (there actually was a Peekskill Police car driving 2 cars behind me. The only thing that could have prevented my accident would have been a guard rail. There are rails on the Taconic,and Saw Mill parkways as well as the Bronx River and Hutch. This road is a death trap and absolutely needs a center rail.
Liz Giegerich December 27, 2011 at 06:53 PM
No problem C Gajowski. You are not the first to make that mistake. I will try to clarify further in the article. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Francis T McVetty January 02, 2012 at 09:41 PM
The question I ask is the BMP any different than any other two way road in Westchester? Many , many roads do not have dividers and there are not that many accidents on them. I can point to the "goat trail",, it is far more dangerous to drive on than the BMP and I would be willing to bet that there are not the number of accidents the BMP has. Anyone have the answer? Is this particular roadway cursed?
carole June 30, 2012 at 04:56 AM
I have no idea how many more people have to be killed or injured on this dangerous NY State road before something is done. I do however, hope the State hears our plea and does something about it before another mother loses her precious son.
carole June 30, 2012 at 05:02 AM
Just so you are completely aware of this conversation, My son was a passenger in a head on collision, in which the car from the oncoming lane crossed the double yellow line and killed my 27 year old son. So if you don't know the entire situation please don't comment. I am only trying to save lives.
carole June 30, 2012 at 05:03 AM
Oh and BTW no one was speeding nor drinking. Just so you have the facts.
carole June 30, 2012 at 05:05 AM
I hear you sweetie RIP Arnold! How many more do we have to lose?
carole June 30, 2012 at 05:16 AM
Yes they can if they put up barriers!!!!!! If they had done it years ago, I would still have a son, my grandson would still have a father, my daughter would still have a brother and I could go on for day, I'm sure you get my point. I feel for the family that lost lives on the Bronx River Pkwy. but how is it that barriers were put up 6 days after that accident? What about my son? Does he mean nothing? Linda Puglisi, town of Cortlandt Supervisor has been trying to get barriers-medians on the Bear Mountain State Pkwy for years, and had it been done my son would still be alive.
Snake Plisken February 14, 2013 at 02:36 AM
One of THE main reasons there aren't accidents on the goat trail, should be pretty obvious to anyone who's had to traverse it..you can't drive most of the turns on that road...at 60-70-80 MPH...like half the people who travel the BM do...also.. I thought there isn't supposed to be commercial truck-traffic on the BM PARKWAY..yet I see huge box-trucks...and semi's..every day (and night!). I use that road every day, and never see a cop pull any of these guy's over...especially semi's, which typically are wider than a lane..I've seen cars go over the double-yelo.. to get past the slow-moving behemoths..totally nuts..but nobody seems to GAF....
Teleman February 14, 2013 at 02:45 AM
It is silly to compare the BMP to the goat trail- 2 totally different roadways- the BMP is a 55 MPH, 4 lane road with no dividing median- that, added with multiple entrances and exits, none of which have turn lanes, makes for much more hazardous roadway- people continually make illegal left turns at the locust avenue intersections, and the dangerous left with a blind hill at highland avenue is extremely dangerous.
Walden Macnair February 14, 2013 at 01:06 PM
The Bear Mountain Parkway is just plain dangerous. To those of you that think, that's blaming the government' it is!. They built it, they maintain it and they have a foreseeable hazard that will result in serious injury or death and they fail to do anything about it. If this was your business, you'd be in jail by now and your company would be bankrupt. Sure I'd like to see a divider but if they can't do that then at least reduce the number of travel lanes to one in each direction and replace the double yellow line with a zebra striped no travel zone. Then you'd only have to build the divider north to Division Street where it gets wider. Whatever the plan they need to move on it and move on it quickly before we lose another life.

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