Saugerties police chief would like the parents to help curb youthful bicyclists

Saugerties police have received numerous complaints recently regarding youths riding bicycles erratically, police chief Joseph Sinagra said. The police chief, along with several board members, named Washington Avenue, Main Street, Partition Street and Route 9W in Barclay Heights as locations where problems were taking place.

 “Anyone who is on Neighbors, the social-media site, knows that it was blowing up this weekend with people complaining,” Sinagra said at the meeting of the village board. “Maybe the papers can print this. I don’t want to be the Gestapo of bicycles.”

“There’s one group of six kids, and I know them,” said mayor William Murphy. “They’re not bad kids.”


Sinagra asked whether Murphy could talk to them. “I did, they cut in front of a car in front of me,” the mayor replied. “He cut right in front of me, and his friends yelled, ‘That’s the mayor, you idiot.’”

Sinagra identified two problems. “Someone is going to be seriously injured, and the other part is the adults are getting very frustrated. I don’t want somebody getting hurt,” he said. Sinagra estimated that about a dozen youths were the major contributors to the problem.

Several people at the meeting mentioned skateboards, as well.

“Remember, in the village — the business district particularly — you have to walk your bicycle,” the police chief said. “That’s according to local law, and the use of skateboards. I know we’ve become quite lax on that, but if we have to then we’re going to start taking bicycles away from people and issuing summonses. I don’t want to have to do that, but if I have to …

Sinagra said the rule against riding bicycles applies to both sidewalks and roadways. Bicycles must be walked on the sidewalks, he said. He said he would check with the village attorney for an interpretation. He defined the business district as Main Street from Market Street to Washington Avenue, and along Partition Street to Russell Street.

Murphy said bicycle riders in general were not the problem, “It’s the kids showing off.” One questioner recalled that a few years ago the chief announced a strict enforcement of jaywalking rules, and the incidence of jaywalking was sharply reduced. Couldn’t this be done with bicyclists as well?

“We could, but I’d rather see cooperation,” Sinagra said. “Parents need to talk to their kids. You can tell by these numbers I’m giving you that we’ve had an increase this year in calls for service. We’re busy, and now we could be sidetracked handling bicycle complaints.”

The brief period of strict enforcement of jaywalking rules had led to a dramatic decrease in violations, Sinagra conceded. “This year we’ve only had one pedestrian struck by a car.”

There are 4 comments

  1. Mary Ann Mays

    In regard to uncompliant bicyclists, it was noted that it was children disrespecting the rules of the road and of the Village. The mayor is correct in asking for parental cooperation and then confiscating the bike if the cyclist continues the behavior. Some adults and unknowing visitors might also transgress, but an across the board prohibition throughout the Village would be draconian. Many adults ride…I do…and I stick to the right, stop at stop signs, etc., and use the bike as easy transport within the Village, rather than a car. At 76 years of age, I don’t want to be lumped with others who still have alot to learn. If they don’t learn through word of mouth, then let experience speak.

  2. Anonymous

    I’ve had a few kids ride their bikes dangerously in front of me a few times, but I can’t imagine calling the “police” for that. When I was a kid, we didn’t have all this traffic, and I was one of the lucky ones who grew up riding my bike all through town up and down sidewalks as well. As a child, I felt safer on the sidewalk. I can understand that with the increase in tourism that I also did not grow up with, that it’s no longer possible to ride bikes on the sidewalks. But I don’t agree with giving kids records or pumping their parents for money with tickets.

    There should be some other way. As for the pedestrians, it’s great that only one pedestrian was struck, but I can tell you that jaywalking has not decreased. every time I come down Partition, especially on a Friday or Saturday, but any day really, I go extra slow because there will be people crossing all up the street from Stella’s up to the light, on both sides. I miss the town I grew up in.

  3. Tom Frost

    This better be a joke, deeming me to be a lawbreaker just for having been on a bicycle when I included your town on one of my in-compliance-with-the-rules-of-the-road, itineraries a couple of years ago. If it’s not, I will be taking my tourism dollars ELSEWHERE with ALL of my vehicles on all future trips.

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