GLOUCESTER — Public Health Director Karin Carroll and Cape Ann Mass in Motion Grant Coordinator Jennifer Donnelly wish to share road safety tips as part of a broader effort to promote pedestrian, cycling and motor vehicle safety.
Efforts to promote road safety coincide with a $1,000 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) recently awarded to Cape Ann Mass in Motion, a coalition overseen by the Gloucester Health Department.
The funds, managed by MassBike, will support the creation of an online community survey and remote forums to determine the level of community interest for a regional bicycling master plan. MassBike is a DPH technical advisor for Mass in Motion communities across the state, and is a statewide advocacy group promoting a bicycle friendly environment and encouraging bicycling for recreation, fitness and transportation. To learn more, click here.
The survey will be issued online to residents of Gloucester, Rockport, Essex and Manchester-by-the-Sea later this fall. In the survey, residents will be asked about their reasons for bicycling and level of interest, as well as how infrastructure could be implemented and improved upon to better support local bicycling.
Online forums will also be held in the coming months to support a local conversation on bicycling, safety, infrastructure and how bicycling opportunities could be expanded in the area.
Earlier this summer, Cape Ann Mass in Motion also launched a social media campaign featuring infographics bearing guidance such as “Drive slow because you never know. Watch for people walking and biking” and “Times have changed. Speed limits haven’t. Please drive safely.” Cape Ann Mass in Motion partnered with local police departments including Gloucester, Manchester-by-the-Sea and Rockport Police, to share safety tips for bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists. The infographics were created by WalkBoston, an organization that provides technical assistance to Mass in Motion Communities.
Bicyclists are reminded to take safety precautions. The National Safety Council offers the following safety tips:
- Always inspect your bike prior to riding.
- The seat should be adjusted to the proper height and locked in place.
- Make certain all parts are secure and working properly.
- Check that the tires are inflated properly.
- Make sure the bike is equipped with reflectors on the rear, front, pedals and spokes.
- A horn or bell, a rear-view mirror and a bright headlight are also recommended.
- Make certain drivers can see you.
- Wear neon, fluorescent or other bright clothing.
- Whenever possible, ride during the day.
- If you must ride at night, wear reflective clothing and use flashing lights.
- Always wear a helmet.
- Helmets appropriate for bicycling should be worn by everyone – adults and children – on every bike ride regardless of length of the ride.
- Make certain the helmet is certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
- Follow the rules of the road.
- Get acquainted with traffic laws; bicyclists must follow the same rules as motorists.
- Ride single-file in the direction of traffic.
- Remain alert, keep your head up and look around; watch for opening car doors and other hazards.
- Use hand signals when turning and use extra care at intersections.
- Never hitch onto cars.
- Before entering traffic, stop and look left, right, left again and over your shoulder.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers the following safety tips for pedestrians while walking in public places:
- Be predictable; follow the rules of the road and obey signs and signals.
- Remain alert at all times; don’t be distracted by electronic devices that take your eyes (and ears) off the road.
- Whenever possible, cross streets at crosswalks or intersections, where drivers expect pedestrians. Look for cars in all directions, including those turning left or right.
- If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, locate a well-lit area where you have the best view of traffic. Wait for a gap in traffic that allows enough time to cross safely; continue watching for traffic as you cross.
- Never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach to make sure you are seen.
- Be visible at all times. Wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night.
- Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways, or backing up in parking lots.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs when walking; they impair your abilities and your judgment.
Additionally, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, pedestrians are reminded to practice aggressive social distancing by keeping a 6 foot distance between others, and wearing an appropriate face covering whenever possible if walking outdoors.
The NHTSA also has several tips for motorists as the school year begins:
- Look for children walking or bicycling when backing out of a driveway or garage.
- Be vigilant and watch for children who may be walking or bicycling to school in neighborhoods with school zones.
- Watch out for children who may be crossing the street.
- Be mindful of children who may be standing in a group or playing near a bus stop.
- Slow down.
- Remember: yellow flashing lights signify that a bus is slowing down to either pick up or drop off children. Prepare to stop your vehicle.
- Remember: red flashing lights and extended stop arms signify that a bus has stopped to pick up or drop off children. Drivers traveling in both directions are required to stop their vehicles and wait until the lights stop flashing, the extended stop arm is withdrawn and the bus continues driving.
About Cape Ann Mass in Motion
Overseen by the City of Gloucester Health Department and funded by Mass in Motion and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Cape Ann Mass in Motion Coalition represents the communities of Gloucester, Rockport, Essex and Manchester-by-the-Sea. Those involved in the coalition work to advance policy, systems, and environmental change as it relates to healthy food access and active living for all members of our community. For more information or to get involved in the coalition, contact Cape Ann Mass in Motion Grant Coordinator Jennifer Donnelly at firstname.lastname@example.org.