With summer finally here, Chief Robert Bongiorno and the Bedford Police Department wish to share tips to help residents and visitors stay safe this summer, whether they’re walking, biking, or driving on town roads, or swimming in backyard pools.
Stay Safe in the Water
The American Red Cross reports that more than 200 children drown in swimming pools each year. Additionally, drowning is the number one cause of accidental death for children between the ages of 1 and 4, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Bedford Police Department considers pool safety to be a top priority, and reminds residents to follow these safety regulations and recommended precautions:
- Per Massachusetts regulation, pools should be surrounded by a 4-foot-high barrier that encloses the pool and has an access gate that self-closes, locks and opens outward from the swimming area (even if you don’t have children).
- Fasten a safety cover over the pool when it is not in use, and remove ladders to further prevent access into the pool. Pool alarms are required whenever a house door leads directly to a pool deck.
- Never leave children unattended while they are in or near a pool, and make sure they have an adult to accompany them into the water. Young or inexperienced swimmers should always wear a life jacket or inflatable arm flotation devices.
- Make sure children stay away from pool drains, pipes or any other openings to avoid getting trapped or hurt.
- Set safety instructions and share them with family, friends, neighbors and anyone else who is near or uses the pool. Advise children to stay away from pool deep ends, and to always walk, never run near the pool.
- Never use the pool if the chemical levels are not correct, or if the water is cloudy and you can’t see the bottom.
- Take a CPR course for adults and children to be prepared if an emergency situation occurs. Update skills regularly.
- Watch the local weather reports and do not swim if thunderstorms are in the forecast.
- Those who are 21 and older should drink responsibly if they choose to consume alcoholic beverages when by the pool. Overindulging increases the risk for injuries or accidental drowning.
- Avoid using glass containers by the pool. They could break and leave glass around the pool or in the water.
For a complete listing of Massachusetts building code regulations regarding swimming pools, click here.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 9,025 fatal crashes on American roadways from June through August 2019, with over 3,000 occurring in August alone.
NHTSA offers the following safety tips for pedestrians when walking in public places:
- Be predictable; follow the rules of the road and obey signs and signals.
- Keep alert at all times; don’t be distracted by electronic devices that take your eyes (and ears) off the road.
- Whenever possible, cross streets at crosswalks or intersections, where drivers expect pedestrians. Look for cars in all directions, including those turning left or right.
- If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, locate a well-lit area where you have the best view of traffic. Wait for a gap in traffic that allows enough time to cross safely; continue watching for traffic as you cross.
- Never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach to make sure you are seen.
- Be visible at all times. Wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night.
- Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways, or backing up in parking lots.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs when walking; they impair your abilities and your judgment.
Bicycle and Motorcycle Safety
For Bicycle Riders
- Always inspect your bike prior to riding.
- The seat should be adjusted to the proper height and locked in place.
- Make certain all parts are secure and working properly.
- Check that the tires are inflated properly.
- Make sure the bike is equipped with reflectors on the rear, front, pedals and spokes.
- A horn or bell, a rear-view mirror and a bright headlight are also recommended.
- Make certain drivers can see you.
- Wear neon, fluorescent or other bright clothing.
- Whenever possible, ride during the day.
- If you must ride at night, wear reflective clothing and use flashing lights.
- Always wear a helmet.
- Helmets appropriate for bicycling should be worn by everyone – adults and children – on every bike ride regardless of length of the ride.
- Make certain the helmet is certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
- Follow the rules of the road.
- Get acquainted with traffic laws; bicyclists must follow the same rules as motorists.
- Ride single-file in the direction of traffic.
- Remain alert, keep your head up and look around; watch for opening car doors and other hazards.
- Use hand signals when turning and use extra care at intersections.
- Never hitch onto cars.
- Before entering traffic, stop and look left, right, left again and over your shoulder.
For Motorcycle Riders
- Always wear a helmet, and look for the DOT sticker (which guarantees the helmet meets safety standards required by law). Never buy a used helmet.
- Choose a bike that fits you; “supersport bikes” have driver death rates about four times that of cruisers or standard bikes, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
- Invest in anti-lock brakes.
- New riders should take a motorcycle safety course, and experienced riders should take refresher courses after being off their bikes for a while.
- Know the rules of the road.
- Be aware that riding with a passenger requires considerably more skill.
- Never drink and ride.
- Drive defensively, especially at intersections, where half of all collisions occur.
- Watch for hazards like potholes, manhole covers, oil slicks, puddles, debris, railroad tracks and gravel.
- Assume you are invisible to other motorists and position yourself to be seen.
- Use headlights during the day and night.
- Be courteous; don’t weave in and out of lanes, or ride on the shoulder or between lanes.
- Don’t speed.
- Wear bright and/or reflective clothing that is durable and boots that cover the ankles.
- Wear goggles, glasses or use a face shield that is ventilated to prevent fogging, and make sure it’s clear if riding at night.
As always, the Bedford Police Department wishes everyone a safe and healthy summer.