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Lindenhurst votes to OK prosecution of bicyclists who block traffic, antagonize drivers

Lindenhurst village officials followed neighboring Babylon Village's lead

Lindenhurst village officials followed neighboring Babylon Village's lead and will now also prosecute those who purposely block traffic, drive toward oncoming vehicles, make unsafe maneuvers and antagonize drivers.   Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

Lindenhurst Village became the latest municipality to crack down on reckless bicyclists after trustees voted to confiscate bikes from dangerous riders.

The village board held a public hearing before voting to follow neighboring Babylon Village in prosecuting those who purposely block traffic, drive toward oncoming vehicles, make unsafe maneuvers and antagonize drivers.

“What’s going to happen is unfortunately someone’s going to get hurt,” Mayor Mike Lavorata said during the public hearing on Tuesday. “We don’t want to see a fatality. I think we’re trying to get ahead of the curve on this one.”

Under the law, either Suffolk County Police or a village public safety officer could seize the bike, and if the rider is a minor, call the parents and later release the bike.

Those of legal age found to have violated traffic law could be subject to a fine up to $250.

Inspector Kevin Kane, commanding officer of the Suffolk County Police Department’s First Precinct in West Babylon, said this has been going on throughout the county. He said police can already arrest and charge someone with reckless endangerment, including juveniles.

Lindenhurst resident Herbert Jaklitsch said he experienced youth riding recklessly near his vehicle.

“It’s a very, very frightening thing that happens,” he said. “It’s a situation that these kids are creating. Why? Because they’re kids.”

Jaklitsch questioned whether the village’s law is the best way to go.

“Can we legislate common sense? I don’t know if we can,” he said.

Lavorata, who said he also has encountered youths riding recklessly toward his vehicle, said the village can’t sit on its hands while the issue persists.

“No action is dangerous,” he said. “Whether this is the right action, time will tell.”

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