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Posted on: March 23, 2018

Westfield Police Department Awarded Grant to Enhance Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety

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To help make sharing the road in Westfield a safer place for pedestrians and bicyclists, the Westfield Police Department was recently awarded a $5,584.80 grant by the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) Highway Safety Division from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The funding comes from money specifically provided to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety in the Commonwealth. Westfield is one of numerous police departments to receive part of this funding.

In 2015, pedestrian fatalities in Massachusetts increased 8% to 80 from 74 in 2014. Males accounted for 65% of all pedestrian fatalities in 2015. When looking at age statistics, those over 55 years of age or older represented more than 50% of the fatalities during 2015. Pedestrian fatalities tend to occur more often during evening hours (6pm - midnight) and highest over the last quarter of the calendar year (October - December). In Westfield, as a result of this grant and other educational initiatives, we have actually been able to reduce the number of cycling and pedestrian accidents from 36 in 2013 to 14 in 2016. Of these accidents there were 34 reported injuries in 2012 and only 10 in 2016.

“Bicyclists and pedestrians are particularly vulnerable to the motoring public because they may not be immediately visible to drivers and unlike those in vehicles, nothing protects them from impact,” said Captain Michael McCabe. “All users need to learn to share the road safely and be mindful of one another and the law. We’ll use the grant for education, enforcement and outreach we believe will help protect our pedestrians and cyclists from injuries and fatalities.”

Grantees will pay for enforcement and decoy patrols, as well as breakaway pedestrian signs and helmets for local youth. The combination of enforcement techniques and equipment will help the department analyze and crack down on drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists who do not share the road appropriately, so no one puts themselves or others in harm’s way.

The Westfield Police Department, in partnership with EOPSS, recognizes that traffic crashes are preventable and is committed to using this grant to reduce the number of motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries involving pedestrians and bicyclists in Westfield because any death or injury on our roadways is one too many.

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