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BELMONT EDUCATIONAL EFFORTS
I am pleased to see that the Belmont Police Department and Belmont Wheelworks cooperate in an annual bicycle safety event, now in its sixth year. On April 10, 2001, I rode over to Belmont to observe this spring's event, had a pleasant discussion with the Chief of Police, and was pleased to see many helmets sold and fitted. There was an obstacle course in a parking lot, but it didn't seem to be getting much use.
Educational and helmet promotion campaigns have the greatest potential to decrease the number of injuries from bicycle crashes. No significant decrease in bicycle crash numbers will result from installation of a few new facilities. New facilities can, however, increase community attention to bicycling issues, resulting in educational opportunities.
Major decreases in crashes result from changes in attitudes, and from educational and law-enforcement efforts. In order to have any beneficial effect on safety, construction of new facilities must be coordinated with such efforts. If it is not, the most likely effect is an increase in crashes due to increased popularity of bicycling, but without a corresponding improvement in skills and attitudes.
Belmont has the beginnings of an educational effort, but it needs much strengthening to be truly effective.