Tag Archives: bicycle riders

Police Step Up Bike Traffic Enforcement. Resident Sees A Larger Issue.

It’s not quite Times Square. But certain parts of Westport — Hillspoint Road and South Compo from Elvira Mae’s to the Minute Man, say — attract a wide variety of folks.

Walkers, joggers, people with strollers and/or dogs, bicyclists, motorcyclists, drivers — all enjoy the beautiful, relaxing scenery.

And all battle for limited territory: roads, shoulders, sidewalks.

Beautiful — and not much room.

On Friday, the Westport Police Department — acting on “a number of complaints related to cyclists using town roads recklessly, with little to no regard for posted traffic control signage and other rules of the road” — announced a bicycle traffic enforcement campaign.

Officers — concentrated in and around Compo Beach — will be on the lookout for cyclists who blow through stop signs, fail to ride single file in the direction of traffic, or don’t use hand signals.

The scene yesterday, at Soundview Avenue by Hillspoint Road.

The stepped-up enforcement is not anti-biker, the department says. Rather, it’s to “educate and ensure the safety of cyclists, motorists and pedestrians alike while all must share our roads.”

A Compo Beach resident applauded the campaign. He’s tired of trying to enjoy the beauty of the area, only to have “a 10-person bike torpedo zoom through at twice the speed limit, not stopping at signs and crosswalks.”

Not Westport. But to some people, it feels like this.

However, he adds, cyclists should not bear all the blame.

“The bigger and sadder issue is the underlying anger and hate. Bikers are afraid of cars. Walkers are afraid of bikers. And on it goes,” he says.

“Everyone comes from fear and anger, rather than the gratefulness of walking or riding near our spectacular beach. In the short term, the town will address the danger that exists. But in the longer term, how do we as a society address the fear and anger that this issue is simply a symptom of?”

After being on the receiving end of rudeness from cyclists — and scared by them — he says he tried to put himself in their shoes.

He realized how much they fear biking next to an SUV driver preoccupied with his or her cellphone (which the Police Department also addresses).

His own sons love to ride. “I can’t default to the easy ‘bikers are wrong,'” the Compo area resident says. “So I see this as, short term, let’s enforce the road rules to make people safe.

“Longer term, let’s figure out how we can become more tolerant and accepting of others. Let’s be more grateful, and less grumpy.”

Be Courteous Out There!

A Westport mother of 3 — soon to be 4 — writes:

We live by the beach for the reason so many others do: the ability to walk and bike to Compo, the close-knit neighborhood, and the freedom all this allows our children at a young age.

However, what should be enjoyable bike rides with my 3 boys — ages 9, 7 and 4 — is constantly ruined by the rude adults we encounter on our rote.

I have had “serious” bikers yell at my children that they aren’t allowed in the bike lane because it wasn’t on the right hand side of the road.

These bikers are wrong. Yes, one should stay to the right of the road — biking with the flow of traffic — but a review of our state biking laws shows there are more than a few exceptions.

One includes “riding on parts of a roadway separated for the exclusive use of bicycles.”

When it comes to biking, no one will confuse Westport with the Netherlands.

I’ve been reprimanded by adults walking on the sidewalk for my boys not having bells on their bikes to warn that they are approaching.

Connecticut law demands “an audible signal within a reasonable distance before overtaking and passing a pedestrian.” Apparently my boys saying “excuse me” repeatedly before cautiously passing a walker is not sufficient.

I’ve seen adults be extremely rude to my 4-year-old when he passes them a little too closely. Shouldn’t we applaud a young child riding without training wheels, not make nasty comments? How will he ever learn to bike courteously like his older brothers if I don’t take him out there with me, and teach proper etiquette?

The beach, the sidewalk and roads around it are for all to enjoy. You’d think the adults of this town would be happy to see a pack of little boys enjoying their bikes, rather than sitting home with their heads stuck in iPads.

Lance Armstrong Wannabes, Part 2

Last month’s “06880” story on Lance Armstrong wannabes generated over 65 responses.  Most sided with the post’s premise:  many Westport bicyclists are rude, disobey traffic rules, and look pretty dorky too.

Here’s a dissenting view, from a Compo Beach resident:

If you bike from Elvira’s around to Bradley Street, the bushes and trees stick out or hang into the road so much, a biker has to be in the middle of the lane just to avoid the greenery.

And that’s not the only place.  It’s like that on Bradley to Compo Beach Road too.

Yeah, the bikers (have their issues).  But the bike lanes are strewn with litter, leaves and sticks.  Add the foliage, and it’s no wonder folks are upset.

Westporters love our trees and leaves.  Sometimes though, they fall on power lines and cut our power.  They clog drains and cause floods.

Now they’re forcing bike riders into the middle of the road.

The solution is obvious:  Limit bicycle riding to between December 1 and March 1 only.

C’mon, Westport.  If we can ban plastic bags and bring nightlife back downtown, we can certainly solve our bikers-in-the-road problem.

What do you say?

So You Think You’re Lance Armstrong

Jimmy Izzo sees and hears everything.

Whether holding court at Crossroads Hardware (which he owns) or driving around town (which he also owns), he’s got his eyes and ears opened.

The other day Jimmy posted this on Facebook:

Almost hit another 2 “Lance Armstrong wannabes” this morning on their bikes.  These arrogant idiots who seem to make up their own rules of the road are without a doubt on a suicide mission.

Cyclists blowing through red lights and stop signs is a practice that needs to be stopped.  Tickets and fines should be given, just as they are to motor vehicles.

Jimmy didn’t hit any cyclists — but he struck a chord.

Comments poured in:

  • I totally agree…riding in the middle of the road…not looking crossing intersections.
  • By law, they are supposed to obey the same laws of the road.  I was avoiding 2 octogenarians on bikes one day.  They rolled through a stop sign.  I was working NOT to pass them.  And who gets the $124 ticket?
  • I actually had a biker hit ME at Minute Men Cleaners.  My baby was sleeping in the back seat, my mom was with me.  And he started yelling at ME about his $3K bike and how I would have to replace it.
  • Weston concurs!  Stay to the side; ride single file!
  • There really should be a campaign about it, because Westport has made the effort to put in bike lanes around a lot of the town.  Single file is right!  Ride with traffic!
  • I ride all the time, and stay as far to the edge of the road as possible.  I never ride side by side with anyone.  The police need to start ticketing the riders who obstruct the roadways.
  • Saugatuck Avenue is loaded with these pains-in-the-asses.  Every Sunday morning they are out there yelling their messages to each other, waking the rest of us up.
  • Sounds like someone should bring this up at a Westport town meeting.  I don’t know what this would fall under, but I bet it would pass unanimously.

And if it does — though nothing, not even a request for world peace, would pass unanimously here — I’ve got the next issue:

The logo-plastered Spandex that bicyclists feel compelled to wear.  If they really want to pretend they’re Lance Armstrong, do it the right way.

Take performance-enhancing drugs.

I'm cool. And I'll mow you down.