On Monday, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) announced the details of the new Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Awareness and Enforcement Program. In it’s first year, the program will launch a statewide safety awareness campaign, work intensively in 12 communities statewide, and engage partnerships with Regional Planning Agencies, local leaders, and law enforcement officials. This initiative marks the first time Massachusetts has targeted federal highway safety funding specifically for bicyclist and pedestrian safety.
MassBike is excited to be a partner in this important project. Together with MassDOT, the Department of Public Health (DPH), and WalkBoston, we will work to increase roadway safety through a comprehensive awareness campaign targeted towards motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. MassBike’s role in the new safety program will be multifaceted, and will include:
- Contributing to a new safety pamphlet, the first step in a larger public outreach campaign
- Training police officers on the laws related to bicyclists and motorist interactions with bicyclists so that they can perform more effective enforcement
- Updating training for truck drivers to include bicyclist and pedestrian safety
The core of our work in the first phase of the program will be targeted assessments and interventions in the 12 target communities to address their specific safety issues.
“There are two important things we need to do to both enhance bicyclist and pedestrian safety, and encourage more people to bike and walk,” said MassBike Executive Director David Watson. “The first thing is improving our infrastructure to provide safer and more convenient options for people who bike and walk. The second is shifting the way people think about biking and walking and their role in the transportation system. This new program is a big step in the right direction on both fronts.”
The 12 communities included in the initial phase of the program are Brockton, Cambridge, Fall River, Haverhill, Lynn, New Bedford, Newton, Pittsfield, Quincy, Salem, Somerville, and Watertown.