"Berkshire Streets for All" new bicycling safety campaign

September is Bay State Bike Month – the perfect time for the Berkshire Bike Path Council (BBPC) to kick off its new bike safety campaign: Berkshire Streets for All.

In addition to the Berkshire Bike Path Council, the campaign committee also includes representatives from MassBike, MassDOT, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC), and the City of Pittsfield. Along with consultation from AAA, the committee developed materials to help users understand signage, basic cycling safety and best ways to share the road. 

“During the pandemic, we know that bike sales were up and old models got tuned up as so many new cyclists hit the roads. This campaign is directed toward new and experienced bicyclists, as well as those who use public byways in an effort to achieve mutual respect and a peaceful coexistence,” said Marjorie Cohan, president of the Berkshire Bike Path Council. “When we say ‘peaceful coexistence,’ we’re referring to the respectful shared use of roads and paths, understanding that everyone has shared responsibility for safety.

The campaign will include a two-sided colorful tract focused on safety that will be distributed to local bike shops, group rides, and at community events.

On the front, safety guidance for those riding bicycles includes four main points: Be visible and predictable, ride with traffic, obey the rules of the road, and respect shared spaces.  On the back, it features an image of a street with a breakdown of road markings.

A discussion on bike safety will be held at 7:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 16 on PCTV. A public service announcement reinforcing the campaign message will also be featured on PCTV.

In celebration of the new bike lanes in Pittsfield, the group will lead a ride up North Street on Sept. 16. Riders will meet at Park Square at 4:30 p.m. and ride to the Wahconah Street intersection. 

“We are absolutely thrilled about these new bike lanes in downtown Pittsfield. They are a major safety improvement and will help to provide a measure of security for those of us who bike,” Cohan said.

While the campaign will begin in Pittsfield, the plan is to extend through the county. The council’s long-term goal is to develop maps that will help cyclists find the safest roads to ride throughout Berkshire County.

For more information, please contact Cohan at 413-212-7998 or email momimarge@msn.com.