Let’s all think safety first this holiday weekend

One of the great traditions this area has to offer is the collection of celebrations that transpire throughout our community to commemorate Independence Day (see page A33 for descriptions). From parades to fireworks, we embrace July 4, and people plan these activities for months.

Unfortunately, another tradition we are all-too familiar with around here is the number of accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists each summer.

“Our biggest problem is just pedestrians and bicyclists not following the rules,” explained Fenwick Island Police Chief William Boyden. “It’s a big problem with the foreign students because the rules in Europe and former Soviet republics are totally different than they are in the United States.”

We have seen local police departments, the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce and ResortQuest all undertake efforts to offer education to bicyclists and pedestrians on safety, and police have gone so far as to offer helmets and flashlights to people to try to save lives. In that vein, the Fenwick Island Police Department, the Office of Highway Safety and the Delaware Bicycle Safety Council are holding a bicycle checkpoint in Fenwick on July 15, from 8 to 11 a.m.

These efforts are not bourne from boredom or organizations with unrestricted budgets. They are from need. We have had several fatal accidents over the past few years, and another bicyclist was struck by a car on Route 1 just a few weeks ago. That bicyclist escaped relatively unharmed, but others have not been as fortunate.

This is a beautiful area to bicycle, and the State has embraced bicycling as Delaware’s “official sport.” We have water views for bicyclists to enjoy, as well as rural streets that wind through gorgeous landscapes. Please do bicycle when you are here if that’s your activity — just please do it safely and by the letter of the law.

Of course, many of these accidents have been blamed on the drivers of vehicles, as well. Such was the case with the recent accident on Route 1. With that being said, we ask motorists to be extra vigilant while navigating our roads. Sometimes it’s difficult to see bicyclists behind hedges or other vehicles as you make turns. Take that extra second to look around before moving.

Let’s all have a great Fourth of July, and be safe.