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bike-safetyThe beautiful summer weather allows us to take advantage of many enjoyable outdoor activities, including bicycling. Bicycling can be fun and care-free, however, there are potential dangers when motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians share the road. MassDOT, along with the help of MAPFRE Insurance, want to ensure that both those on bikes and in vehicles maintain a safe road environment for everyone.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 818 bicyclists were killed in 2015 alone, a 12.2% increase from 2014. While it’s important to remember that it is primarily the responsibility of drivers to prevent these accidents, cyclists must also ride with safety in mind. NHTSA also notes that from 2000 to 2012, there was a 64% increase in the amount of people bicycling as their form of transportation to and from work. With more bicyclists on the road, avoiding crashes has never been more imperative.

MassDOT and MAPRE Insurance offer some friendly reminders on how you can keep the roads of Massachusetts bike-friendly: Remember to ride your bike responsibly, following the same rules as motorists. Make sure your bike fits you properly, especially adjusting for proper seat height; if the bike is too big or too small, it’s harder to control. Before hopping on your bicycle, make sure that all items of clothing are tucked properly so they don’t get caught in your bike chain. Small checks like this can ensure your safety while riding. It also a good idea to always wear a helmet.

As a driver, it’s important to always drive defensively. Stay alert and focused on your surroundings by scanning the road to locate any cyclists before your car approaches them. Always assume the bicyclist doesn’t see you; it’s better to be safe rather than sorry.

Even the safest of drivers need a little help sometimes, which is why the MassDOT Highway Assistance Program sponsored by MAPFRE Insurance is here to help with fixing minor mechanical problems, flat tires, fuel shortages, and emergency situations. MAPFRE Insurance is also a sponsor for the upcoming Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC), the nation’s original fundraising bike-a-thon that raises money for treatment and research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The event will take place August 4th through August 5th, beginning with an opening ceremony that will be broadcast live on WBZ-TV, another PMC sponsor.

The Highway Assistance Program, sponsored by MAPFRE, monitors the state’s busiest highways and turnpikes around Metro Boston, Worcester, Springfield & Cape Cod (seasonal) Monday through Friday during the peak hours of 6:00AM- 10:00AM and 3:00PM-7:00PM. MAPFRE cares about the safety of state residents and vacationing visitors, which is why we continue to sponsor such a helpful program in hopes of providing a little more piece of mind for motorists in the summer and throughout the year.

 Written By Patrick McDonald, CPCU, CEO, Northeast Region, MAPFRE Insurance

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