The Suffolk County Legislature has approved legislation to address the issues surrounding reckless biking in Suffolk County.
A Local Law to Prevent Reckless Biking in Suffolk County was approved at the Feb. 2 general meeting of the Legislature. It was sponsored by Legislator Rudy Sunderman.
“This legislation, which reflects similar bills in other communities, seeks to give law enforcement another tool to combat the issues of reckless biking which has been a concern in many communities,” he said.
A resolution attempting to address the issue of reckless biking in Suffolk County was first introduced by the late Legislator Thomas Muratore, who met with residents and members of the Suffolk County Police Department to draft a bill to give law enforcement the tools they need to combat this difficult issue.
After Legislator Muratore passed away in September 2020, the bill would have expired if another legislator did not sign on as sponsor. To help address this important safety issue and to ensure that Legislator Muratore’s final resolution was seen through to the end, Legislator Sunderman took on the resolution and became its new sponsor.
“I am proud to have carried this legislation in honor of Legislator Tom Muratore,” said Sunderman. “This was the last resolution introduced by Legislator Muratore, and I am happy to see it through to the end.”
This legislation was proposed in response to community concerns regarding a large number of bicyclists who ride in a dangerous manner that threatens the safety of cars, pedestrians and themselves.
Reckless bicycling has become an issue in Suffolk County, with some bicyclists weaving in and out of traffic, approaching traffic head on, and riding in ways that are dangerous to all those on the road. There have even been instances of minors being seriously injured or killed in accidents associated with reckless bicycling here in Suffolk County in recent years.
Legislator Tom Donnelly, the representative for the 17th Legislative District, and Legislator Nick Caracappa, who succeeded Legislator Muratore as the representative for the Fourth Legislative District, co-sponsored the legislation.
“Public safety is our first priority as elected officials,” said Legislator Caracappa. “As a co-sponsor to this legislation, I am pleased to have the support of my colleagues on this important issue. Reckless bicycle behavior cannot and should not be tolerated. This legislation will send a clear message to those who engage in this dangerous activity, and more importantly, it will aid in the protection of motorists, pedestrians and potential offenders themselves by giving police the ability to act.”
Legislator Donnelly added: “Keeping our roads safe must always remain a top priority. While the vast majority of us respect and appropriately share the streets, the late Legislator Tom Muratore was concerned about an alarming growing problem of reckless bicycling on our roadways creating hazardous situations that were endangering motorists, pedestrians and other bicyclists. As a bicyclist myself, I personally have witnessed it. This resolution will protect riders and motorists alike and I am proud to co-sponsor it, both in honor and memory of Legislator Tom Muratore and as Chair of the Legislature’s Public Safety Committee.”
Minor amendments were made to the original version of the bill, including the addition of an educational component that Legislator Sunderman saw as an important factor when addressing this serious issue.
As some residents may not be well versed in the current laws surrounding bicycle equipment requirements, the issuance of a warning and providing educational information to the violator was worked into the bill as a way to promote fairness in enforcement of the law.
“This legislation also seeks to educate residents on bicycle safety laws and provide education awareness and safety for all those on the road,” said Legislator Sunderman. “If you are bicycling safely and legally, there will be no concerns.”