Next month is specifically for bike riders in Massachusetts. It's true. September is actually Bay State Bike Month. What better way to celebrate than to have the Berkshire Bike Path Council kick off a new bicycle safety campaign?

Berkshire Streets For All is the name for the new safety campaign. Many of us know the health benefits of cycling, but just in case you don't, here are a few:

  • Cycling improves your mental well-being
  • Cycling increases cardiovascular fitness
  • It decreases body fat
  • It strengthens your immune system
  • Cycling builds muscle
  • It improves your joint mobility
  • Riding a bike relieves tension and stress
  • Cycling strengthens your bones, and
  • It cuts your risk of developing heart disease and cancer
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Plus, what's better than getting some exercise while you're enjoying the scenery? You can even ride your bike along different routes every day so the scenery is always changing. And thanks to this new campaign, you can keep yourself even safer while doing it.

In addition to the Berkshire Bike Path Council, the campaign committee also includes representatives from MassBike, MassDOT, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC), and the City of Pittsfield.

Along with consultation from AAA, the committee developed materials to help users understand signage, basic cycling safety, and the best ways to share the road. President of the Berkshire Bike Path Council, Marjorie Cohan, had this to say in a statement to the media:

“During the pandemic, we know that bike sales were up and old models got tuned up as so many new cyclists hit the roads. This campaign is directed toward new and experienced bicyclists, as well as those who use public byways in an effort to achieve mutual respect and a peaceful coexistence. When we say ‘peaceful coexistence,’ we’re referring to the respectful shared use of roads and paths, understanding that everyone has shared responsibility for safety.

The safety campaign will include a two-sided tract that will focus on safety. The tract will be distributed to group rides, local bike shops, and at community events. Also, a discussion on bike safety will be held at 7:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 16 on PCTV. A public service announcement reinforcing the campaign message will be featured on PCTV, as well.

While the campaign will begin in Pittsfield, the plan is to extend through the county. The council’s long-term goal is to develop maps that will help cyclists find the safest roads to ride throughout Berkshire County.

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