Yarmouth Police PAC conducts 54 bicycle safety stops in three hours

Editor’s note: Although presented by Yarmouth Police, the advice offered in this release is valid across the Cape. Please ride safely!

YARMOUTH – The town of Yarmouth, as well as every other town on Cape Cod, is in the midst of a beautiful summer season and the surge of bicyclists can often lead to an increase in bicycle crashes and near crashes as well as serious injuries and even loss of life. As part of their ongoing strategic community policing plan, members of the Yarmouth Police Department Proactive Anti-Crime Community Policing Unit conducted a specialized Bicycle Safety patrol Tuesday night on Route 28 in West Yarmouth and handed out sets of free bicycle lights and educational information.

Between the hours of 8:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m., four members of the special community policing unit observed 54 bicyclists traveling east and west on Route 28 committing a variety of bicycle law violations. All were first-time violators and no citations or arrests were made. All bicyclists were given educational warnings and free bicycle safety light kits until there were none left.

Officers waved each of the violators off to the side of the road near Parkers River Bridge and identified the rider and gave out the remainder of the bicycle safety lights received from the Barnstable County Commissioners. When time permitted, officers even helped install the lights.

The Yarmouth Police Department is currently working with the Barnstable County Commissioners and the Yarmouth Restaurant Association to obtain additional lights kits and will repeat this type of event when additional lights are obtained.

The event was very successful and everyone was cooperative.  All of the bicyclists were returning from a variety of jobs in the community and all were from a foreign country and unfamiliar with the laws.

The common infractions observed Tuesday night were:
•             Riding at night without head or taillights
•             Riding in the wrong direction
•             Riding while carrying objects

Some of the countries that the bicyclists were from were  Bulgaria, China, Turkey, Macedonia, Thailand, Jamaica, Ireland, Serbia and Kazakhstan

Massachusetts law allows police officers to stop bicyclists for violations, issue citations and even arrest violators who fail to give their name. Please take a moment to review the below bicycle safety rules of Massachusetts and be extra vigilant as a bicyclist and a motorist as you enjoy your summer in the town of Yarmouth as well as across the Cape.

Must have a white light in front, red light or reflector on the rear, side reflectors on the bike or rider.

Any person 16 years of age or younger operating a bicycle or being carried as a passenger on a bicycle on a public way, bicycle path or on any other public right-of-way shall wear a helmet.

Must have a seat for the rider and passenger.  No riding a passenger without a seat.

Cannot ride on a sidewalk in a business district.

Bike must ride on the right side of the road with traffic flow and obey all traffic laws such as stopping at red lights and stop signs and yielding at crosswalks.

Packages may only be carried in a basket, rack or trailer designed for such purpose.

At least one hand is required on handlebar.

Hand signal must be given when turning.  Either hand is okay.

Bikes cannot be towed by a vehicle nor may they tow a person on skates or skateboards.

Must give complete and true name and address to police officer when stopped for a traffic violation.

Violations shall be punished by a fine of not more than $20. The parent or guardian of any person under age 18 shall not authorize or knowingly permit any such person to violate any of the provisions of this section.
Media release furnished by Yarmouth Police

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