Interim Chief Todd Fitzgerald reports that the Manchester Police Department is participating in a statewide effort to improve traffic safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.
The department has been awarded a $6,264 grant by the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) to fund overtime hours for officers to target pedestrian and bicycle safety violations, with a focus on educating pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists about the importance of being safe and sharing the roadways.
The pedestrian and bicycle safety campaign will run through the spring and summer, and end in mid-September.
“Sharing the road and understanding the law is crucial as we move forward into the spring and summer months,” Chief Fitzgerald said. “Driving, biking, and walking attentively and following the rules of the road will help everyone get where they’re going, safely.”
Manchester police will be working with members of the Town’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee in the coming weeks to identify crosswalks, intersections, and roadways where pedestrian and bicycle safety enforcement is most needed.
Manchester Police would like to remind cyclists that Massachusetts traffic laws require that they follow the same rules as vehicles, with a few exceptions, when riding on the roads. This includes:
- Stopping at stop signs and red lights.
- Yielding when entering the roadway or turning left and yielding to pedestrians.
- Communicating by using proper hand signals when turning or altering your course.
- Always wearing a helmet and increasing visibility by wearing reflective vests or light colors. Children under the age of 16 are required by law to wear an approved helmet.Chief Fitzgerald also wishes to share general bicyclist, pedestrian, and motorist safety tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
Bicyclist Safety Tips:
- Additionally, cyclists have the ability to pass other cyclists on the right and ride two abreast. However, they must allow vehicles the opportunity for overtaking them and move over when it is safe to do so to allow vehicles to pass.
- Wear a helmet that properly fits and adjust your bicycle properly to your height.
- Inflate tires and check your brakes.
- Make yourself visible to drivers regardless of the time of day by wearing neon, fluorescent or bright colors. Wear reflective tape or markings, or flashing lights.
- Keep both hands on the handlebars, unless signaling a turn.
- Watch out for potholes, broken glass, gravel, dogs, puddles and other potential road hazards.
- Make eye contact with drivers.
- Use proper turn signals.
- Point to road hazards for bicyclists behind you.
- State “passing on your left” or “on your left” when passing a pedestrian or other bicyclist.
- Avoid riding at night.
- Ride on the right, in the same direction as other vehicles.
- Obey traffic laws, including all signs, signals, and lane markings.
- Yield to traffic.
- Yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk.
- Ride in a straight line.
- Look before turning.
- Be cautious of parked cars that may have passengers opening doors, or that may attempt to pull into the road.
- Ride in bike lanes or on bike paths when possible.
Pedestrian Safety Tips:
- Follow the rules of the road. Obey traffic signs and signals.
- Walk on sidewalks whenever possible.
- If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic, as far from traffic as possible.
- Remain alert. Do not become distracted by electronic devices.
- Cross streets at crosswalk or intersections when possible.
- When crossing the street when a crosswalk or intersection is not available, cross in a well-lit spot during a gap in traffic that will provide enough time to cross safely. Continue watching for traffic while crossing.
- Look left and right before crossing the street, and look for vehicles that may be turning left or right as well.
- Do not assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach.
- Dress in highly visible, bright and reflective clothing and/or use a flashlight at night.
- Be cautious of cars entering or exiting driveways, or backing up in a parking lot.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs when walking.
Driving Safety Tips:
- Watch for pedestrians everywhere, at all times of day.
- Yield to bicyclists as you would to a motor vehicle. Do not under estimate their speed, especially when making a turn that crosses their path.
- Be cautious at parking lots, stop signs, when backing up, and when parking. Watch for other vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists at these times.
- Be cautious at night and during inclement weather, when visibility may be poor.
- Slow down and prepare to stop when turning or nearing a crosswalk.
- Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Stop a safe distance away from the cross walk to give other vehicles ample time to see the pedestrians that are crossing so that they can also stop.
- Do not pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk.
- Do not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Drive within the speed limit.
- Follow slower speed limits in school zones and neighborhoods with signage that children are present.
- Drivers turning right on red need to look to the right and behind to avoid hitting a bicyclist that may be approaching from the right rear. Stop completely, look left-right-left and behind, and then turn right on red.
- Drive defensively.
- Give cyclists extra space. Do not pass them too closely.
- Approximately $700,000 in grant funding has been awarded to 93 Massachusetts police departments by EOPSS and the NHTSA to support the 2019 pedestrian and bicyclist safety campaign.