Pioneer Valley Chapter President here reporting on a recent meeting I had with the new Northwestern District Attorney a couple of weeks back. Joined by Executive Director David Watson and Mike Hempstead (another MassBike PV Board Member and President of Northampton Cycling Club), I met with DA David Sullivan and Deputy DA Janice Healy regarding biking in the Pioneer Valley. Given that Sullivan was sworn in only earlier this year, we hope this will be the start of a positive and productive working relationship.
We received a warm welcome from Sullivan and Healy, who were very open and encouraging. We explained MassBike’s mission, programs, and accomplishments, focusing especially on our law enforcement work. We described our successful efforts to work with police departments around the region; we gave them copies of MassBike’s new Bicycle Law Guide for Police Departments, MassBike’s yellow “Same Roads, Same Rules” spoke cards, and the new “Go By Bike” brochure, as well as a copy of Bob Mionske’s book, “Bicycling and the Law”.
Sullivan and Healy both agreed that traffic laws need to be applied equitably, and were interested in taking a proactive stance towards educating both cyclists and motorists about the relevant laws. They even offered to make a new bike safety page on their website, with links to MassBike’s Go By Bike brochure!
We hope that the visit will lay the foundation for open communication in the future, so that when a crisis hits — like the “Lady in the Red Truck” who two years ago ran more than a dozen cyclists off the road, yet escaped with no charges filed by the police — we won’t have to start from square one.