Enforcing bicycle and pedestrian safety laws

Amherst police step up enforcement of pedestrian and bicycle safety laws

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) - One college town is trying to make it’s streets safer. Amherst police say the problem is drivers are not paying attention to safety laws and now they’re stepping up their enforcement of them.

If you’re driving in Amherst, heads up! Police may be giving out more tickets in the next few weeks.  Amherst police are trying to make it safer for people to cross the street and ride their bikes.

“I think Amherst is very astute to that, it’s a very courteous town for that type of stuff,” said Greenfield’s Bobby Kay.

From July 2013 through June 2014, Amherst police dealt with nine crashes between cars and bicyclists and another seven between cars and pedestrians.

“I think it’s on the driver, they should watch out for the pedestrians. Pedestrians should have the right of way,” said Sunderland’s Don Wysocki.

Amherst has some cross walks in its town’s center that aren’t at street lights, so drivers have to really pay attention to yield to people crossing the street.  They also have bike lanes so drivers have to share the road with cyclists.

Some of the laws to protect bicyclists include failing to yield to oncoming bicyclists when turning left and “Dooring.”  That’s when someone opens a car door into the oncoming traffic. With school almost back in session. there will be thousands of students walking and bicycling across the street.

“Folks do use the crosswalks really well here, I think what happens also is the drivers all of a sudden this town gets flushed with students and all of a sudden it catches them off guard,” said Ann St. Jean who has works in Amherst.

If you get caught for “Dooring”  you could get a $100 fine, but also could be found liable for anyone’s injuries.

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