Editor's note: The ride is on! We have bike riders riding in from New Haven and many local residents are planning to attend as well. For the latest updates, visit our Facebook event page! See you there!
The Madison Police Department Bicycle Safety Awareness Ride will be Sunday, October 28th @ 11 a.m., Madison Police Department spokesman Joseph Race says.
The ride will begin and end at Memorial Town Hall / Town Green. The ride will be a moderately paced (12-15mph), police escorted, group ride. The purpose of the ride is to increase awareness for bicycle rights and safety.
"We have a community that has a lot of bikers. Our roads have a lot of bikes on them and we want to encourage increased awareness that cyclists have all the same rights as cars. And we want to make sure bikers know that they have the same obligations as motor vehicles to follow traffic laws, stop signs, and stop lights," Race said.
It's not just one or the other, it's both
"It's not just one or the other. It's two-fold."
Race said the department plans to organize another ride in December, that will be specifically focused on children, and bike safety as it relates to children.
He said the department hopes to get the word out about the need and importance of bike helmets for children, among other messages they hope to reinforce.
Madison Police Department working with a group of citizens
Race said the department is working with a group of citizens, including Colleen Kelly Alexander, who on Oct. 8 one year ago was run over by a freight truck while she was riding her bike at the intersection of Boston Post Road and Neck Road in Madison.
She almost died twice, was resuscitated and has since made a painful and difficult but remarkable recovery. Kelly Alexander, as her recovery allows and in between operations to rebuild the parts of her body that were destroyed during the accident, has been engaged in
"She's helping us too," Race said. "She met with the [Madison Police] Chief [Jack Drumm] and myself and [Madison Director of Public Works & Town Engineer] Mike Ott and a couple of other residents. We all want Madison to become more of a bike-friendly community overall," he said.
Other initiatives include reminders about three-foot law
Among other initiatives, the Chief Drumm and the Madison police are working with Ott and others in the town to place signage along major roads to remind people about the three-foot law, which requires motorists to give bikers and walkers a three-foot buffer of space while passing them.
Ott and the town's traffic commission, which is the town's Police Commission, also have worked with the state Department of Transportation to improve the visibility of the lines and markings at the intersection of Boston Post Road and Neck Road.
The route for the Oct. 28 police-escorted ride in Madison will be almost entirely on Boston Post Road heading east to Madison’s newest park, Constitution Park, then heading west to the Guilford/Madison line before returning to Memorial Town Hall.
No t-shirts, medals, prizes or snacks; Just the opportunity to improve awareness and help people in need at the same time
There are no t-shirts, medals, prizes or snacks.
"We do ask that participants bring non-perishable food items and/or unwrapped toys to donate," Race said.
"These donations benefit the Madison Police Food & Toy drive which ultimately benefit local families, food pantries and the Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital Toy Closet Program."