HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – MassDOT is raising awareness of bicyclists with Bay State Bike Week.

Many communities in western Massachusetts have been adding bike lanes to their roads to ensure a safer ride for both bicyclists and drivers. MassDOT wants to make drivers are aware of people who may commute on bikes by making this week Bay State Bike Week. 

In honor of Baystate Bike Week..a free community breakfast was held at veterans park in Holyoke Monday morning to inform residents about bike safety and the physical and environmental benefits of riding a bike.

Bike week is a way to promote healthier living across the state and especially here in Hampden County.

It’s been almost a year since The Valley Bike Share Program launched in western Massachusetts. The electric-assist bikes have made it easier for residents to enjoy time outdoors and get around different communities.

“Having electric assist has been so important to let people use Valley Bike Share who otherwise may not want to. More importantly, it’s increasing the popularity of biking. Holyoke and other communities around the pioneer valley are going to see a lot more biking in the near future,” Price Armstrong of The Holyoke Pedestrian and Bike Committee said.

But sharing the road isn’t always easy and there are some safety tips to make it safer. 

74-year-old Holyoke resident Dan Fitzgerald used to ride his bike every day when he worked at Holyoke Community College.

He told 22News why other senior citizens should commute on two wheels when they can no longer travel on four. 

“It’s not only a good form of exercise to ride a bicycle but it’s also a traumatic experience for senior citizens to give up their drivers license. You’re more independent when you have the ability to get around on a bike,” Fitzgerald said.

Drivers are allowed to enter a bike lane in order to make a turn, but remember to keep an eye out for bikes before moving into the lane. And always use signals, whether that’s your hand or a blinker.

It’s important to treat both forms of transportation the same when it comes to the rules of the road.

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