The will be working to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety in town, thanks to a new $3,000 grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Needham was one of 19 area police departments to receive a total of $100,000 in grand funding through the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. Awards ranged from $3,000 to $7,5000 and were based on each community's population.
More than 1,600 bicyclists and pedestrians were injured in crashes between 2006 and 2010—and more than 360 of those incidents resulted in at least one death, according to statistics from the Massachusetts Traffic Records Analysis Center.
"Bicyclists and pedestrians are particularly vulnerable road users because unlike those in vehicles, there is nothing to protect them from the impact," officials stated in a press release sent out Monday.
Statistically, more than 70 percent of bicycle and pedestrian crashes involve an injury, as opposed to 25 percent for all motor vehicle crashes.
“There are many tools available to protect pedestrians and cyclists, including education, enforcement and outreach, and this grant provides much needed funding, which will help us reduce pedestrian and bicyclist injuries and fatalities,” Needham Police Lt. John Kraemer said.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration grant will be used for various activities including targeted enforcement and decoy patrols and the use of equipment such as breakaway signs and crosswalk reflective tape, according to the press release.
"A combination of techniques and devices will help departments analyze and crack down on both pedestrians and cyclists who put themselves in danger as well as drivers who do not share the road appropriately," the press release states.
"The Needham Police Department, in partnership with EOPSS, recognizes that traffic crashes are preventable and is committed to using this grant to reduce the number of motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries relating to pedestrians and bicyclists in Needham," Lt. Kraemer said. "Any death or injury on our roadways is one too many."
Other police departments receiving the grants include: Brookline, Chelmsford, Danvers, Fall River, Fitchburg, Hudson, Lowell, Lynn, Marlborough, New Bedford, Pittsfield, Quincy, Revere, Somerville, Taunton, Westfield and Woburn.