Mattapoisett Bike Path

To the Editor:

Mattapoisett Selectmen made a big splash when they expressed their frustration about bicyclists who don’t stop at stop signs. Some of the conversation was about whose responsibility it is to slow down or stop, though the consensus is that everyone wants to avert a tragic collision. The intersections of Mattapoisett Neck Road and Brandt Island Road with the bike path are of particular concern because of the sight lines and the speeds involved. Everyone should approach all intersections cautiously. Making eye-contact and stopping are critical factors for avoiding collisions. Everyone, I am sure, will welcome a well-thought-out infrastructure improvement, but the problem of sharing our public ways safely exists in all our neighborhoods and on Route 6, and infrastructure alone cannot create foolproof road conditions.

In a June 8 article at the WGBH “Curiosity Desk,” Edgar Herwick III reported on his research into the issue of right-of-way and on his conversation with a personal injury lawyer who said that the laws are more about safety and courtesy, than who “has” the right of way. Herwick said, “…You don’t take the right of way, you give it … consider the right of way is not something you are entitled to, but something you have a responsibility to give … So be good to each other out there on the roads. When you give the right of way, being safe also means you get to be generous.” You can get a link to the article on the Friends of the Mattapoisett Rail Trail Facebook page.

As summer gets into full swing, please talk with your family, guests and neighbors about caution, the rules of the road, and most especially about what it takes to keep you, them and everybody else out of harm’s way. Whether you go by foot, scooter, skateboard, motorized or self-propelled wheelchair, horseback, bike, motorcycle, ATV or car, please use caution and courtesy. Turn the music down, slow down, put down the phone and the slurpee, unplug the earphones and enjoy your ride.

Bonne DeSousa

Friends of the Mattapoisett Bike Path


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