From spring through fall around Pound Ridge and Lewisboros country highways and back roads, bicyclists are as ubiquitous as whitetail deer.
They are commonly seen pedaling down the shoulder of the road, often within inches of speeding cars a scary proposition for both motorist and cyclist.
We get a lot of complaints [about cyclists], said Pound Ridge Police Chief David Ryan, but they have just as much right to the road [as a car]. They are a vehicle .
South Salem resident Dylan Pidgeon was killed last week while biking along Route 35 near the Spring Street intersection. However, area officials say such tragedies involving bicycles are fortunately not a common event.
In the 11 years since Ive been here, theres been no [bicycle] fatalities in Pound Ridge, Ryan said. We get about a dozen injuries a year. Some are bumps and bruises, and some have to be taken to the trauma center.
Lewisboro Supervisor Charles Duffy said bike safety is a difficult issue in his town because of the way the municipality is spread out and the nature of its roads.
The town board has been pursuing options, including grants for bike paths in Goldens Bridge and evaluating the complete streets program, he said. Unfortunately there are practical and legal issues involved in all of this. I would love to see our kids able to bike safely to destinations like Town Park and schools. But even our neighbors like Pound Ridge are in the pilot phase.
Duffy said the planning board is aware of this and the need to provide pathways and trails.
The roads that cause the most problems are unfortunately state, not town roads, such as Routes 121/35 in Cross River, Route 35 at Town Park, Route 123 in Vista and Route 138 in Goldens Bridge, he said. This takes the right of ways out of our jurisdiction and adds an extra layer of bureaucracy."
Last weeks fatality was the first of its kind in Lewisboro this year, said Lewisboro Police Officer J.C. Faye.
Most of the people who do [bike] are enthusiastic and have the proper equipment and do it correctly, he said. They stay to the right and they respect the traffic. They wear reflective clothing because you want the car to be able to see you from far enough way so they can make adjustments.
The problem, Ryan said, is not usually individual riders but groups that clump together and cause traffic to swerve out of the lane.
Its the cluster of bikes that can be the problem, he said. It can be difficult because these are winding roads and it can be frustrating for everyone. They need to ride single file.
Lewisboro Police Chief Frank Secret was once the towns safety officer and went to the area schools to preach bike safety.
I would ask the kids what was the most important thing about biking, he said. You are trying to get them to say helmet.
Budget cuts have done away with the safety officer position. However Duffy said he hopes to have bike safety program up and running soon.
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