Community discusses bicycle safety measures

by Rohini Mandal | 11/10/17 2:15am

by Divya Kopalle / The Dartmouth

On Oct. 22, Lucile Bailey was struck by a bicyclist and died the next day at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, according to Hanover Police Department lieutenant Scott Rathburn. She was 91. Safety and Security interim director Keysi Montás said that his department plans on implementing new programs addressing biker and pedestrian safety.

Rathburn said that at 4:09 p.m., Hanover’s police and fire departments responded to a medical call from Lyme Road. Upon their arrival, officers found that an elderly female pedestrian — later identified as Bailey — had been struck by a bicyclist. Each of the parties involved had injuries, he said.

Hanover town manager Julia Griffin released a statement after the incident reminding citizens that bicycles are not allowed on public sidewalks unless one is 12 years of age or under.

Rathburn said that pedestrians must keep in mind that while they have the right of way within a crosswalk, they don’t have the right of way when walking on paved portions of roadway.

Montás said that upholding pedestrian and bicycle safety is an ongoing effort because Hanover is a college town with a steady stream of new arrivals to the student body.

“What happens every September is that we get a brand-new set of constituents who may not necessarily be familiar with the programs that we have established,” Montás said. “So it’s a constant reeducating of the rules in place and the rules of the road if you will, and where the points of caution should be.”

Montás said the College must also deal with space constraints.

“The issue comes around when you have pedestrians running around on streets, which are for bikes and vehicles, and when you have bikes running on sidewalks, which are for pedestrians, so it’s having to negotiate that,” Montás said. “Because we don’t have great distances, we could very easily be more mindful of spaces that are for each kind of mode of transportation, whether by foot or bicycle or vehicle, then that would be more helpful.”

The bike registration program is one way to enforce biker safety, Montás said.

“One side of it is to make sure that we know that people lose their bikes, or if it gets stolen, we have a way to track it,” he said. “It’s also deterrence for ill-doers. If they see that a bike is registered, they might not want to get involved with that.”

Student outreach is an important component of biker safety at Dartmouth, he added.

“We do a little bit of outreach at Orientation, as we have a table,” he said. “We have an officer present, you’ve probably seen our officer in reflective uniform riding his bike there.”

Montás said that the Hanover Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee meets once a month to discuss bicycle safety. The committee offers Bike Skills 101, a course taught by Safety and Security officers, he added.

Montás said that there are plans for new programs regarding biker and pedestrian safety.

“One thing I plan on requesting is a Safety and Security officer and a Hanover Police stand on an intersection that is quite busy and tend to be walked on during class changes, when people ride their bikes on the sidewalks, and stopping them and talking to them,” Montás said. “I don’t want them to be cited, but I want officers to be talking to them. I think that would be a great approach, talking to them about the safety concerns and why they should not be riding on the sidewalk.”

Montás said that pedestrians and cyclists must be especially cautious about using cell phones while traveling on sidewalks.

Ultimately, Montás said, the burden of ensuring a safe campus rests on students.

“We need to ultimately take responsibility for individual actions and inactions,” Montás said. “I will always put the honor on the individual. You need to be aware.”

Janet Hollocher, Bailey’s daughter, fondly recalled her mother’s memory.

“She was really kind to people, and generous to others,” Hollocher said.

Bailey was an avid cyclist, she said.

“Back in the early 60s, she and my father started bicycling and bringing the family along,” Hollocher said. “We’d go on trips together. Often my dad would have two kids on his bike — two little children — and she’d have one, and then the rest of us would ride our own. My mother and father loved riding in Vermont on the country roads, and they did a lot of bike rides in France, where my mom would pull out maps and figure out routes based on the types of roads there were.”

Nov. 10: The Dartmouth incorrectly stated that Bailey's daughter was named Janet Hulloch. Her name is Janet Hollocher. The Dartmouth regrets this error.

Correction Appended (Nov. 22, 2017):

The Nov. 10 article "Community discusses bicycle safety measures" was updated to correct a misspelling in a quote by Montás.