MERRIMAC — Chief Eric Shears and the Merrimac Police Department wish to remind residents of important safety tips for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcycle drivers.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers the following safety tips for pedestrians when walking in public places:
- Be predictable; follow the rules of the road and obey signs and signals.
- Keep 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.
Bicycle and Motorcycle Safety
For Bicycle Riders
- 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.
For Motorcycle Riders:
- Always wear a helmet, and look for the DOT sticker (which guarantees the helmet meets safety standards required by law). Never buy a used helmet.
- Choose a bike that fits you; “supersport bikes” have driver death rates about four times that of cruisers or standard bikes, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
- Invest in anti-lock brakes.
- New riders should take a motorcycle safety course, and experienced riders should take refresher courses after being off their bikes for a while.
- Know the rules of the road.
- Be aware that riding with a passenger requires considerably more skill.
- Never drink and ride.
- Drive defensively, especially at intersections, where half of all collisions occur.
- Watch for hazards like potholes, manhole covers, oil slicks, puddles, debris, railroad tracks and gravel.
- Assume you are invisible to other motorists and position yourself to be seen.
- Use headlights during the day and night.
- Be courteous; don’t weave in and out of lanes, or ride on the shoulder or between lanes.
- Don’t speed.
- Wear bright and/or reflective clothing that is durable and boots that cover the ankles.
- Wear goggles, glasses or use a face shield that is ventilated to prevent fogging, and make sure it’s clear if riding at night.