AMHERST, Mass. (WGGB) — The Amherst Police Department has been awarded $5,000 in grant money to help reduce the number of motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries involving pedestrians and bicyclists.
They are one of 48 police departments nationwide to receive the grant from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. The funding is part of $192,000 provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
On May 26 a Newton woman who was bicycling in Amherst was killed after she collided with a truck near the intersection of College and Dickinson Streets. While that incident remains under investigation, police say this grant money will go to good use.
“Bicyclists and pedestrians are particularly vulnerable road users because they may not be immediately visible to drivers and unlike those in vehicles, nothing protects them from impact,” says Amherst Police Chief Scott Livingstone who notes, “We’ll use the grant for education, enforcement and outreach we believe will help protect our pedestrians and cyclists from injuries and fatalities.”
The Amherst Police Department, in partnership with EOPSS, recognizes that traffic crashes are preventable and say they are committed to using this grant because any death or injury on our roadways is one too many.
The grant money can be used to target enforcement and decoy patrols, breakaway signs and crosswalk reflective tape for example.
A 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, putting themselves or others in danger.
According to the Massachusetts Traffic Records Analysis Center, from 2006 to 2011, 1544 pedestrians were injured in crashes and of those 375 sustained fatal injuries.
During that same time frame, 586 bicyclists were injured in crashes with 45 resulting in death. In 2012, there were 9 crashes involving pedestrians and 5 involving cyclists. That year Amherst did not experience any fatalities in these types of crashes.