Safety on the Roads

A bicyclist was struck and seriously injured Saturday evening in East Hampton Village. According to someone who was nearby, the bike had been weaving unsteadily before it came into contact with a passing vehicle, and the cyclist was thrown to the pavement. This is just one of the recent incidents here in which someone was hurt. And, as we hurtle headlong into the Fourth of July weekend, it is important to think for a moment about how all of us can help make the roads a little safer and saner. Bicyclists and pedestrians are especially vulnerable.

One South Fork police department sent out a message this week reminding drivers to be on the watch for bikers and people on foot. Staying within speed limits is key, it said, as sudden stops are sometimes necessary. It also pointed out that lush roadside vegetation can create blind spots.

Responsibility for staying safe is shared by bikers and pedestrians, too. Police have advised crossing streets at crosswalks or, in the case of bicycles, at proper intersections. Bright or reflective clothing is a good idea, as is avoiding the distractions of electronic devices.

On the subject of bicycles, it needs to be said that it is outrageous that many local motels and rental properties provide them to guests but do not also supply helmets. Encouraging people who might be unfamiliar with the area — or with how to ride a bike altogether — to potentially get in harm’s way is a very bad idea. It is stunning that anyone could welcome visitors and then so blithely put them at risk.