Southampton police to give away free bike safety gear

  • A group of Norris Elementary School students and their parents wave as a parade of cars driven by their teachers pass Thursday, Mar. 26, 2020 at the corner of Madeline Way and Strong Road in Southampton. The teachers organized the parade as a way of staying in touch with their students since classes have been canceled due to the coronavirus. About 50 cars drove through neighborhoods throughout the town and were greeted by small groups of their students. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 6/12/2020 1:54:24 PM

SOUTHAMPTON — The town’s police force has received a grant to help keep cyclists safe, and as part of this effort, it will be giving away free helmets and bicycle lights.

“The whole purpose is to increase the safety of pedestrians and cyclists,” said Southampton Police Chief Ian Illingsworth.

The $5,896 reimbursement grant was awarded by the state and funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Most of the funding will go toward staffing officers in areas of high bicycle use for the purpose of calming motor vehicle traffic.

“Our goal is to diminish the traffic speed in those areas,” Illingsworth said.

One of these areas will be Coleman Road, the chief said, which is the access point to the Manhan Rail Trail in Southampton and has no bike lanes.

After buying a supply of  bicycle helmets and lights, “We’ll distribute it on a first-come-first-serve basis,” Illingsworth said..

The chief said riders, particularly young people, are encouraged to wear helmets. Under Massachusetts law, bicyclists 16 years of age and younger must wear them.

The department also hopes to have a bike safety rodeo where some of the equipment would be distributed, Illingsworth said.

The chief said Southampton’s numbers for bicycle accidents are statistically low.

“And we want to keep it that way,” he said.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.

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