The bicycle/car collision that occurred in downtown Hallowell a couple of weeks ago was tragic, but it could have been so much worse. This is the time of year when we are all outside: people in cars, people on bicycles, and people walking on sidewalks and crossing the street.

The following factoids will serve us well.

According to state law, because parts of Water Street are too narrow to accommodate a bike lane, for a quarter of a mile downtown (signs delineate the beginning and ending), bicyclists may take the full lane. This means that bicyclists may ride in the same travel area as vehicles. Passing is not allowed. Cyclists do not then ride next to parked cars where they can be “doored” by a driver getting out of their car.

Admittedly, biking on Water Street is not a good route for families or inexperienced cyclists. An alternative route is being proposed.

According to a city ordinance, bicyclists may not ride their bikes on the sidewalk in Hallowell. Bicycles must be walked on the sidewalk. I witnessed a sidewalk bicycle/pedestrian accident, and the pedestrian was injured.

Jaywalking is allowed. A motorist may stop for a pedestrian anywhere on Water Street but, of course, must stop at the designated crosswalks.

The motorist involved in the recent collision stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the street, and it was not at a crosswalk. The cyclist who crashed into the back of the car was not on high alert.

It’s a busy street with lots going on, as it is in so many towns and cities in America. We must all practice looking around, listening for sounds, anticipating situations, being predictable, and looking out for each other.

Be safe. Be on high alert.

Maggie Warren

Chairperson, Hallowell Bicycle/Pedestrian Committee


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