Op-Ed: How to Ride (and Walk and Drive) in Newport



The following was submitted and written by Bari Freeman, Executive Director of Bike Newport.

It seems to happen about this time every year, without rhyme or reason, or good sense. Partially impatience, partially ignorance, but wholly dangerous, there is an increase in foolishness on our roads.

 

- Advertisement -

Whether we are in cars, walking, or riding bikes, we all need to be safe, predictable, and courteous.

 

Bike Newport is taking extra steps to ensure that people on bicycles follow the rules. And local business PDQ is helping make it happen. A new poster, printed by PDQ, is appearing all over town. Featuring the famous Giant Squid of Narragansett Bay on his bike, the poster reminds folks “How to Ride in Newport”:

–       Ride in the same direction as traffic.

–       Obey all traffic signs and signals.

–       Use hand signals.

–       Do not ride on the sidewalk if you’re older than 13.

–       Wear a helmet.

–       Use front and rear lights at night.

–       Enjoy your ride!

The poster further directs people to the website bikenewportri.org/safety for the full list of Newport’s laws and safe cycling recommendations.

 

The community is encouraged to come to Bike Newport, 29 Spring Street, to pick up posters to hang all over town, wherever people who ride bikes, tourists and residents alike, will see them. Businesses are encouraged to hang the poster in their shops, restaurants, restrooms, and more.

 

While we’re reminding people on bikes to ride the right way on one ways, stay off sidewalks, and stop at red lights, we also need to talk to people walking and driving cars. We’ve got some seriously cranky and selfish people putting others in harm’s way.

 

Our roads are busy and congested, there’s simply no place for DISTRACTION or IMPATIENCE. Let’s all behave in the best interest of everyone’s safety on the roads:

 

PEDESTRIANS:

–       Put your device away and pay attention. Pokemon will not disappear! For goodness sake, look where you are going!

–       Signal to cars before you enter the roadway – wait for a signal back. Don’t depend on them seeing you – be sure – do the Newport Wave!

 

PEOPLE DRIVING CARS:

–       Don’t be in a hurry. Take your time when there are people in the roads. If you touch a person with your car, they will be injured, you won’t.

–       Obey the traffic signals. Stop means stop. And if you are driving and have a green light, please don’t stop and signal a pedestrian or bicyclist to go. Even though you mean well, other drivers won’t know what you’re doing and you put everyone in danger.

–       Wave to let someone know you see them. The more communication among road users, the better!

–       Leave room for people on bikes when you pass them. The law requires enough room for the person to fall sideways and not touch your car. If there is not enough room, just wait.

–       Respect the right of people on bicycles to be on the road. They do not have to ride all the way to the right. And they cannot be forced to ride next to parked cars or in shoulders with debris. Let them decide where they are safest and respect them.

 

Newport is so small.  We can walk or bike just about anywhere – and enjoy the journey. People walking and biking avoid the stresses of traffic congestion and the hassles of parking. We can arrive happier, healthier, and with more money in our pockets.

 

And if you don’t want to walk or bike, REMEMBER, every person walking and biking is one less car on the road, and one more open parking space for you. So now you can THANK that pedestrian or bicyclist when you safely pass them on the road.

 

It’s a beautiful season in our beautiful city. Let’s all enjoy it together, safely.

What’s Up Newp is free to read, and always will be, but we need your support to keep it that way.