| In My Opinion – Anne Maurice |
I walk in my New Gloucester neighborhood often and it can be scary some days. I live on a 35 mph road, yet cars, trucks, and commercial vehicles travel 50-60 mph a lot. Many people I talk with in town have the same observations. Results from a recent town-wide survey indicate that 81% of the respondents want wider shoulders on the road to keep cyclists and pedestrians out of the traffic.
An article from the Bangor Daily News in April 2022 states, “Maine has seen a higher yearly increase in people being hit and killed by cars than almost every other state.” On March 6, one more pedestrian was struck by a car and died at the scene in Naples. On March 10, a 15-year-old girl was struck by a car in Sanford and helicoptered to Maine Med in Portland. I just don’t want to read a headline like that for New Gloucester.
With just a little research, I can find many road designs for safer pedestrian travel than we have in New Gloucester. Maybe someday with time and money, we will have some better-designed roads. In the meantime, though, we all can do things now to improve New Gloucester’s outdoor access in our local neighborhoods by working together. Roads are for everyone, and we all have a big responsibility when we use them, whether we are driving, walking, running, pushing a baby carriage, riding a bike or something else.
All I’m asking is that everyone do their part:
- Drivers stick to the posted speed limits, obey distracted driving laws, and stay alert for people on the road.
- Walkers and runners stay on the left side of the road – facing traffic and wear bright clothing, especially at night and in poor light conditions.
- Cyclists ride on the right side of the road with traffic and use the shoulder whenever possible. Bike lights, front and back, are a big help.
New Gloucester is a great, rural place to live. No matter our age, many of us like to be outside in our neighborhoods and need to feel safe while using our roads. With everyone working together, we can make a difference now.
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