Lebanon cares about the safety of all residents needing to get around for work and recreation alike. With short days, long nights, freezing temperatures and roads, and COVID-19 wreaking havoc on our transportation needs and schedules, it's the perfect time to recommit to safe driving, bicycling, and walking.
What are Sharrows?
Lebanon has made some safety improvements, and more are on the horizon. Sharrows or “shared lane markings” (bicycle symbols in the traffic lane) on commonly traveled roads such as Route 4 and Route 120 remind drivers that bicycles share these roads. For an intro to sharrows, here is a helpful primer.
Miracle Mile Crosswalk and Downtown Tunnel
The Miracle Mile has a new crosswalk (see photos below) to calm traffic and provide a safe way for transit riders and others to cross between the Listen Center and the Price Chopper plaza. The new crossing was installed in part due to safety concerns originally identified by the 2010 Lebanon Bus Stop Design Study. Advance Transit (AT) is relocating its current Miracle Mile bus stops to pads provided by the City, and AT will fund and maintain new shelters. Construction is also underway on the Downtown Ped/Bike Tunnel that will help pedestrians and cyclists get safely from the Northern Rail Trail to the Mascoma River Greenway.
Doing Your Part
These improvements are a part of Lebanon's "complete streets" efforts. But even with the best infrastructure, individuals need to do their part to be safe. Your actions, your attire, and more - all contribute to your safety and the safety of others.
The Lebanon Police Department offers some helpful pedestrian safety tips for this time of year and the Lebanon Pedestrian and Bicyclist Advisory Committee has additional advice and educational videos for car and bike drivers and pedestrians. In particular:
- Avoid wearing dark clothing. Drivers cannot avoid what they can't see. When walking at night, wear retro-reflective outdoor clothing or shoes or lights to make yourself more visible.
- Learn to safely open your car door using the “Dutch Reach” and similarly, don’t just rely on mirrors when backing up!
- Share the Road - “same road, same rules” apply to vehicle and bike drivers alike
- Respect the speed limit and drive as if you live here. Oh, wait, most of us do! Go extra slow when turning, watch for kids and pets, and whether walking or driving, don’t assume everyone sees each other.
- Be weather-wise and night-aware as snow, glare, and rain, and even high-power headlights often obscure visibility, making it hard to see other moving objects and road striping—not to add the challenges of icy conditions
- Yield to pedestrians, whether you’re driving a car or bike, road or trail, as it’s the law and it’s also a reality that people often cross where they need to, in lieu of crossing facilities.
- Kids on sidewalks only. By law, adults (age 12+) are not allowed to ride bikes/e-bikes on sidewalks or crosswalks
- Also, by law, bicyclists must wear at least one item of reflective outerwear apparel, such as a reflective vest, jacket, or helmet strip, during the period from 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise
- And for everyone: eliminate distractions by keeping your heads up and hands-free, whether it’s concerning phones, headphones, pets, or other impairments to being fully alert.
Most of the above tips are also enforceable but we trust that you can see the common street-sense behind them!