Bicycle battle continues in Lloyd

A segment of the Hudson Valley Rail Trail in the town of Lloyd

A suggestion made at a prior Lloyd Town Board meeting that police officers monitor the Hudson Valley Rail Trail for unruly cyclists created considerable uproar online among members of the cyclist community. Cyclists consider the suggestion to unfairly target their behavior, when pedestrians and pets who wander from side to side on the trail pose at least as much danger in their eyes. However frustrating a pooch on a long leash might be, Fido’s behavior isn’t regulated in town law in the same way a cyclist’s is.

Town code §74-3, governing activity and behavior on multi-use trails, had an entire list of bicycle rules added to it in 2013. §74-3 L(3) reads, “When overtaking pedestrians on any multi-use trail, cyclists must give ample reasonable warning and must pass said pedestrians in single file at a prudent and responsible speed. When coming from the opposite direction, cyclists must pass pedestrians in single file at a prudent and responsible speed.” According to Larry Scarborough, advising cyclists about the law doesn’t always go well.


Scarborough showed council members the t-shirt he wears on his daily rail-trail walks with Mary Phillips, who’s legally blind: it’s the same neon yellow used for some road signs; on the back on large black letters is the message, “warn when passing.” That hasn’t solved the problem, and Scarborough found calls to the police to be unhelpful. That’s probably why he decided to tell one cyclist who shouted, “out of my way!” to them just before passing that the law is on the pedestrian’s side. As Scarborough tells it, the cyclist circled back, dismounted, and pushed the senior citizen.

He urged board members to get a police presence on the trail at least on weekends. “Somebody’s gonna get hurt,” he said, adding that most cyclists are indeed respectful of pedestrians and town law, but “a few guys in spandex” don’t seem willing to slow down.

Adding stripes to the narrow trail would only cause more conflicts, Bellizzi believes, and widening it to accommodate them would be cost-prohibitive. Passing out literature has limited effect because of the number of users on the trail, yet several people believed news of warnings or tickets would spread quickly. Town supervisor Paul Hansut, a former police officer, said that it may also result in no tickets or warnings, just like when an officer sets a speed trap.


There are 4 comments

  1. Rafael Diaz

    Good article regarding the issues revolving around cyclists and pedestrians including the description of the harrowing experience of a senior citizen, who in essence was assaulted by a cyclist.

    But a point of correction to your statement regarding four-legged creatures and their owners in which you say: “However frustrating a pooch on a long leash might be, Fido’s behavior isn’t regulated in town law in the same way a cyclist’s is.” The dog situation is regulated under Article 74-3E quoted below:

    “Control of pets. Any dog or pet taken onto a multi-use trail shall be on a non-retractable leash which shall be no longer than six feet. The leash in use shall be of a length so as to not interfere with the safety and enjoyment of other users of the trail. Pet owners shall curb their dogs off the trail and shall prevent their pets from littering the trail. Owners and keepers are responsible for cleanup in the event that a pet leaves any residue which could be harmful or dangerous to other users of the trail.”

    The issuing of fines and other penalties under this law would be the same as those for cyclists in violation of the section regulating their behavior.

    Not withstanding whether the laws ever get enforced, all users need to be mindful that the trail is only 12 feet wide. We all need to respect the right of others especially more vulnerable users such as families and senior citizens. For them it is a linear park not a speedway. I fear that speeding cyclists who give insufficient warning and don’t moderate their speed around other users will scare them off from using the trail. As it would also drive away anyone who has been advised by doctors to walk more for its health benefits.

  2. Jane Eyre's Cat

    Seems the two sides are taking past each other. I wonder if a disinterested person or persons could be found who could talk to folks who regularly use the trail and observe for him or herself the extent of the issue of cyclists speeding and/or not warning pedestrians of their approach?

    Surely there will be some level of friction when people use a common resource differently and in ways that are bound to sometimes inhibit one another. The question is whether it’s necessary to use police resources. Always better if different groups in a community can resolve differences without taxpayer funds being spent or fines levied.

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