Tragedy, Celebration for Bicycle Riders, Walkers

On May 20, a mini-van gravely injured a woman who was riding her bicycle in Granby at about 5:30 p.m. It was a “hit and run” crime. Police are trying to find the driver. Granby borders Amherst. A police spokesperson said that the impact sent the woman flying off her bicycle and into a telephone pole. The bicycle rider was taken by ambulance to a hospital. Police are asking anyone with information about the vehicle or its driver to the Granby Police at (413) 467-9222.

There is also good news for local bicycle riders and walkers.

On May 22, in Northampton bicycle riders will celebrate the opening of the new Manhan Rail Trail bridge over Route 10, which will allow for a continuous, 2.7 mile long bicycle path between Easthampton and Northampton.

At 10 a.m. at Millside Park in Easthampton, the public is invited for refreshments and live music. People will then walk and bike to the new, 180 foot long bridge, from which cars are trucks are banned. At noon, there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the bridge, followed by lunch at Veterans’ Field in Northampton. More information is at www.ManhanRailTrail.org

In related news, in Keene, at its meeting on May 19, the city council discussed raises taxes on the wealthy and using the money to build new sidewalks and improve existing ones.

In Amherst, on May 25, 2009, Misty Bassi, age 33, was killed by a car while riding her bicycle at around 10:30 a.m. Bassi was a janitor at UMass. The motorist fled the scene, but police caught them.

Annually, almost 700 people are killed by cars while riding their bikes nationwide. Many more are seriously injured.

David Watson is director of www.massbike.org He told The Valley Post after Misty Bassi’s death, "It's a tragedy whenever a cyclist is hit. We support raising the gas tax to pay for better public transit and bike lanes, like they have in Europe. We call on the mayors of Northampton, Boston, and other cities to do what New York City mayor Bloomberg just did and close major downtown streets to cars."

For more info: In Massachusetts www.massbike.org
In Vermont www.vtbikeped.org
In New Hampshire www.bwanh.org

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