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Slow down behind the wheel

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine would like to take the opportunity to thank Eesha Pendharkar for the article published on Dec. 13: “Fatal crashes have increased as traffic declines in Maine during the pandemic.” It is an unfortunate fact in Maine and across the country that driver behavior has become more reckless throughout the pandemic, which has led to a greater number of crashes and fatalities. This type of driving behavior not only endangers other drivers, but also more vulnerable road users like cyclists and pedestrians.

The pandemic has affected all of our lives. Over the course of the year, people seeking to maintain their physical and mental health have turned to Maine’s streets to walk, run and ride bikes in greater numbers than we have seen in decades. Poor driving habits put these people at greater risk.

So far this year, Maine has lost nine pedestrians and two cyclists to crashes with motor vehicles. In response to concerns about road safety, the Bicycle Coalition launched the Slow ME Down campaign, a statewide effort intended to help change people’s attitudes about speeding in cars. The goal is to create a new social norm for drivers in Maine that makes it acceptable to drive at or below the speed limit to protect all road users, especially in residential and business contexts.

We are inviting all roadway users who share our concern about speeding to sign a letter of support for change.

Bicyclists and pedestrians have the right to use Maine’s roads and all road users deserve to do so safely. As part of their New Years’ resolution, we encourage people to slow down. By driving at or below the speed limit, they could save a life.

Eliza Cress

Outreach and design manager

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine


Safe and happy holidays

The Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office has much to be thankful for this year. While it would be easy to talk about negativity given all that has gone on — we want to turn ourselves to what we are thankful for.

We are thankful first for the people of Aroostook County. They have been resilient in this pandemic and we see it every day in the interactions we have with them.

The office of sheriff, which also is charged with operating the jail, is thankful to its employees as we are fully staffed. We are thankful to our dispatchers who are important participants of the elderly caller program. The program is a daily lifeline to some of our seniors who voluntarily participate in calling to let us know they are OK — and when they don’t, we reach out to them. Seniors are an important part of our community.

We are thankful for our two drug dogs – Kimber and Jazz — one of whom was donated to us by a local kennel.

I am so grateful to our patrol division who keep our streets safe every day.

It’s easy to look for the bad; it’s equally important to look for the good. We have a lot of good in the county and we wish everyone safe, happy, healthy holidays. We are here if people need us.

Shawn Gillen

Aroostook County sheriff


A party that has lost its way

To say your candidate won and the election was wrong is simply nuts. We appear to have a Republican Party that appears to have lost its mind.

It is way past time for responsible Republicans to speak up with corrective messages to their fellow members, to their state’s residents and to the nation. To do otherwise is evidence of a party that has lost its way. Thus, what is also at stake here is the further existence of a viable Republican Party.

Suzanna Myers

Old Town