Suburban New York is no place for bicyclists, lawmaker tells teenager seeking bike lanes

Sandra Mu, Getty Images

Don't ask New York legislator Thomas Barraga to consider installing bicycle lanes in New York's Suffolk County.

He doesn't think people should be riding bicycles there at all, reports Alex Silverman of WCBS 880 radio.

"I have lived in West Islip most of my life and my personal feeling is that no one who lives in our hamlet or for that matter in Suffolk County should ever ride a bicycle or motorcycle,” Barraga wrote to a teenager whose mother had been injured in a bicycle accident.

“I cannot tell you how many constituents over the year have told me that they are taking up bicycling for pleasure and exercise," the lawmaker continued.  "I have told them not to do so but they usually do not listen – 90 percent of those people eventually were hit by an automobile, many like your mother with serious physical injuries."

Matthew Cutrone, 17, wrote to Barraga after his mother was struck by a van while riding her bicycle in September and broke her scapula.

“My mom made sure she was doing everything right, she was wearing her helmet, and she was following the proper bike laws of the road,” Matthew Cutrone wrote to Barraga in December.

But Barrage not only discounted bike lanes and signs warning drivers to be alert to bicyclists but called Suffolk County  "a suburban automobile community," where drivers expect to see other cars.

"Reality at time can be difficult for some to come to grips with but giving false hope would be inappropriate," he wrote in his Jan. 29 letter.