If you’ve been on the bikeway in Lexington in the past few days, you may have seen a DPW truck and town staff installing new signs along the path. These signs, approved by the Select Board, are the result of a collaborative effort between the Town, the Bicycle Advisory
Committee, and the Friends of Lexington Bikeways, with the aim of enhancing safety and
promoting considerate behavior among bikeway users.
The project was initiated in 2019 in response to the tragic death of a cyclist on the bikeway in March of that year. The existing blue signs, installed in 2014, were deemed insufficiently visible to users and failed to address the full range of safety and courtesy concerns faced by bikeway users.
Designed by Lexington graphic artist Maureen Meyer, the new signs consist of pairs of safety messages with illustrations depicting bikeway users walking with dogs, with children, in groups, riding in congested areas, among others. A significant focus of this project was to address issues related to passing behavior, such as signaling audibly when passing, passing only when safe to do so, and giving ample space to those being passed.
Additionally, the signs aim to tackle other concerns, such as users failing to slow down when the bike path is congested, walking pets in ways that pose risks to others, stopping in the path instead of moving to the side, displaying thoughtlessness around less abled users, or riding with children inexperienced in navigating a busy path.
The key themes of the new signs are:
- Pass only when safe to do so and give an audible signal;
- Slow down when around other bikeway users;
- Prioritize the safety of other users;
- Keep to the right side when walking or riding;
- Be mindful and considerate toward other bikeway users.
One of the new signs, a yellow caution sign, addresses speed on the bike path. It reads “15
MPH” but should not be interpreted as a “speed limit.” Betty Gau, Chair of the Bicycle Advisory Committee, explains that her committee believes a message about speed — including that of the ever-increasing number of e-assist vehicles — “sets an expectation of courtesy and speed awareness. As bike riders ourselves, we know that sometimes 15 mph is too fast and at other times, it is perfectly safe. It all depends on the conditions on the bike path. When the bikeway is congested, we hope this sign – as well as others – remind bicyclists to keep their speed down when around other users and to be thoughtful about passing.”
Let’s appreciate and cherish this wonderful resource we are fortunate to have, and enjoy the bikeway while keeping the safety and enjoyment of others in mind!
Peggy Enders is the Chair of Friends of Lexington Bikeways/Bike Lexington