I am endorsing Scott Katz because he is and will continue to be an excellent champion for bike and pedestrian safety.
I was fortunate to meet Scott this summer while attending meetings related to the Westfield Master Plan Re-Examination. I was happy to discover that, among his motivations to run for Town Council in Ward 4, included a genuine concern for pedestrian and cyclist safety.
I’m an avid cyclist and learned Scott is too. Knowing this is personal for him, as it is for me, is important. We have first-hand experience with the challenges of trying to navigate Westfield on two wheels, and this experience will inform his leadership.
As a Professional Engineer I am very mindful of process, and I operate by analyzing facts, reviewing lessons learned, and welcoming peer review of the conclusions reached, and solutions presented. When I saw Scott was organizing group rides in Tamaques Park to meet residents, I attended several to evaluate his experience and gauge his seriousness on this issue. These are my observations and conclusions:
- I was glad to see in the event invitations that helmets were required to participate. And sure enough, only those with helmets could participate. Scott had the foresight to bring several extra helmets knowing some individuals do not practice this basic safety precaution. He also discussed some basic difference between bike helmets.
- I noticed Scott’s use of safety lights on his own bike; these lights are important because they make cyclists more visible to motorists, pedestrians, and wildlife. He discussed that he uses his lights whenever he is riding no matter the visibility conditions.
- It feels ancient, but Scott uses hand signals to communicate his direction changes for other cyclists, motorists and pedestrians (wildlife doesn’t understand this one yet!).
- Many cyclists use smartphone “apps” as GPS, and to monitor their health/performance stats. Scott has his phone securely attached to the center of his bike using a sturdy mounting system; a crucial hands-free safety measure.
- Scott told all of us about the Town’s information on bike safety: westfieldnj.gov/safety.
These seem basic, but they often go unpracticed, and often make the difference in remaining safe. New members join the cycling community every day, and it’s clear to me there’s a need for awareness and continued public education on the fundamentals of bike and pedestrian safety.
Scott showed me that he leads by example, has essential experience, uses a thoughtful process in approaching problems, and I believe he’ll be the positive force we need in Ward 4 as our next Councilman. To contact or learn more, email email@example.com or visit katzforward4.com.