The village of Mamaroneck has recently taken two actions that suggests cyclists are not welcome on their streets and their commercial district. First was a letter of warning to cyclists riding in their village and next is a proposed ordinance with heavy fines for not parking your bike properly in the commercial district. A village board meeting to discuss this will be held Monday July 19th at 7:30.
This letter was sent to the Westchester Cycle Club’s president , David Wilson.
GOOD AFTERNOON MR. WILSON,
MY NAME IS POLICE OFFICER MARK BALLANTYNE. I AM A POLICE OFFICER WITH THE VILLAGE OF MAMARONECK POLICE DEPARTMENT. I AM WRITING TO YOU TODAY AS A COURTESY TO ADVISE THAT EFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, THE VILLAGE OF MAMARONECK POLICE DEPARTMENT WILL BE UNDERGOING A CAMPAIGN TO STRINGENTLY ENFORCE THE VEHICLE AND TRAFFIC LAWS ASSOCIATED WITH CYCLISTS THAT TRAVEL THROUGH OUR JURISDICTION, PRIMARILY VTL SECTION 1234 WHICH I HAVE LISTED FOR YOU BELOW.
§ 1234. Riding on roadways, shoulders, bicycle or in-line skate lanes and bicycle or in-line skate paths. (a) Upon all roadways, any bicycle or in-line skate shall be driven either on a usable bicycle or in-line skate lane or, if a usable bicycle or in-line skate lane has not been provided, near the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway or upon a usable right-hand shoulder in such a manner as to prevent undue interference with the flow of traffic except when preparing for a left turn or when reasonably necessary to avoid conditions that would make it unsafe to continue along near the right-hand curb or edge. Conditions to be taken into consideration include, but are not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, in-line skates, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards or traffic lanes too narrow for a bicycle or person on in-line skates and a vehicle to travel safely side-by-side within the lane. (b) Persons riding bicycles or skating or gliding on in-line skates upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast. Persons riding bicycles or skating or gliding on in-line skates upon a shoulder, bicycle or in-line skate lane, or bicycle or in-line skates path, intended for the use of bicycles or in-line skates may ride two or more abreast if sufficient space is available, except that when passing a vehicle, bicycle or person on in-line skates, or pedestrian, standing or proceeding along such shoulder, lane or path, persons riding bicycles or skating or gliding on in-line skates shall ride, skate, or glide single file. Persons riding bicycles or skating or gliding on in-line skates upon a roadway shall ride, skate, or glide single file when being overtaken by a vehicle. (c) Any person operating a bicycle or skating or gliding on in-line skates who is entering the roadway from a private road, driveway, alley or over a curb shall come to a full stop before entering the roadway
WE HAVE RECENTLY RECEIVED NUMEROUS COMPLAINANTS REGARDING CYCLISTS OPERATING IN OUR JURISDICTION AND ARE TAKING A PROACTIVE APPROACH TO ENSURE THAT ALL MOTORISTS, PEDESTRIANS, AND CYCLISTS ARE ACTING IN A SAFE FASHION. PLEASE UNDERSTAND, THAT THIS EMAIL IS ONLY A COURTESY AND AT THE PRESENT TIME, MEMBERS OF YOUR ORGANIZATION HAVE NOT VIOLATED THE ABOVE STATUTE. WE ASK THAT YOU PLEASE RELAY THIS IMPORTANT INFORMATION TO THE MEMBERS OF YOUR ORGANIZATION. SHOULD YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE FREE TO CONTACT MYSELF OR AT THE ABOVE STATED EMAIL ADDRESS OR VIA PHONE AT THE VILLAGE OF MAMARONECK POLICE DEPARTMENT AT 914-777-1122
POLICE OFFICER MARK BALLANTYNE
A member of the WCC pointed out in an email conversation in the club’s forums that typing in all caps is the equivalent of screaming?
When officer Ballantyne was contacted he declined to answer any questions and put me in touch with Lt. James Gaffney. I asked them a number of questions including if there’s bike lanes or paths in the village, have tickets been given to any cyclists in the past year, have there been many bike vs car accidents, and could he elaborate on the type of complaints?
Lt. Gaffney said, “ This department does not have any complaints on file about any one group by name. The department’s sole intent is to update the bicycling community. As I mentioned previously, if traffic infractions are not committed within this community then summonses need not be issued.
To the best of my knowledge the Village does not have the bike paths in place you have inquired about.
The remaining questions I need not answer at this time; however I will forward your email for further review.”
I again asked a few follow up questions about riders not having a driver’s license or if they are not of age to drive a car. “The department’s sole intent is to update the bicycling community. As I mentioned previously, if traffic infractions are not committed within this community then summonses need not be issued.”
One other question that went unanswered by Lt. Gaffney was if the Village has ever done a similar campaign against motorists or pedestrians.
This next letter to the Westchester Cycle Club from it’s president, David Wilson was even more surprising and telling. The Village of Mamaroneck is seeking to restrict cyclists in their commercial district through a proposed ordinance.
In the letter, Wilson said, “There are two elements I oppose. One would limit parking in commercial areas to bike racks or “designated areas.” I believe this would discourage biking in the village. Under the current wording, doesn’t seem like you could lean your bike against a storefront to pop in to have a cup of coffee. And it seems like the village would have to install lots of hitching posts to make it viable for the ordinance to encourage people to ride to the commercial area to do errands.
The penalties are overly stiff. Violating the ordinance could bring a fine of up to $250 and imprisonment not exceeding 15 days. For not parking my bike in the right spot? Give me a break. The police chief could also impound your bike.”
The proposed ordinance would also stop children from riding on sidewalks in their neighborhood unless adults supervise them.
But maybe this ordinance is better then the one it could replace which Wilson pointed it requires all bikes in the village to be registered with the local police including out of town cyclists who must have their bikes registered in their own communities, this 1971 law gives the police the right to impound your bike for 15 days.
There will be a village board meeting Monday, July 19 at 7:30pm at 169 Mt. Pleasant Ave. This will give interested parties a chance to learn more about the proposed ordinance.