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[PHOTOS] Cyclists Take Over Rye Streets; Ignore Traffic Rules

Weekend cyclists are treating Rye streets like their personal velodrome: ignoring traffic rules, scaring pedestrians and drivers... What do you think?

Weekend cycling enthusiasts are turning Rye streets into their own version of a velodrome: they speed, hog lanes, tear through traffic lights and do whatever else they please.

Every Saturday and Sunday morning as few as 20 and as many as 60 riders take over Rye streets as they finish "Gimbel's Race"- a more than 30 year-old outing that starts at Cross County Mall in Yonkers and ends, inconveniently enough, at the Rye/Mamaroneck border. The riders swarm together through town between 11 a.m. and noon blocking traffic on Theodore Fremd, Old Post Road and Boston Post Road.

Blogger Jay Sears unearthed the history and route of the riders on his blog MyRye.com a couple of years ago, but the pedallers are still going strong.

Rye Patch reader Jim Amico has certainly had enough of the rude riders. "These animals nearly killed me in the Purdy/Theo crosswalk at exactly 11 a.m. this morning!" he wrote in an email last Saturday to Steve Cadenhead of the Rye City Shared Roadways committee and members of the local press.

Amico, a cyclist himself, wants someone to make sure the bike riders are obeying traffic laws and to prevent someone from getting hurt. "If it were a car turning with me in the crosswalk it would stop, the driver wouldn't yell out his window as he does 30 miles per hour "lookout" and just keep coming, which is exactly what these animals did! Don't they have to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk just as a car does? I had to RUN out of the crosswalk to keep from being killed!"

Have you seen the cyclists? Are they a menace on wheels? What is the best way for Rye residents and the "Gimbel Racers" to co-exist?

David Huntsman May 01, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Sure Peter, I'm sure you got a chuckle. But that doesn't mean it's not true. It just means you see the road as a place you can drive unsafely. And yes, as suggested above, apply the law evenly. I don't know about "or not at all" though. I would rather see only cyclists get ticketed for illegal actions than neither cyclists nor drivers. But, as I suggested above, it's hard to ticket a cyclist for running a STOP sign and look the other way at the parade of motorists doing the same thing.
David Huntsman May 01, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Yet cars follow each other too closely, making it near impossible for a lead car to stop at a crosswalk without getting rear-ended (at least that's what motorists say when they get tickets for failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks...) Just for conversation, why do our cars have the ability to go faster than the speed limit? Is there any valid reason for that?
Average Citizen May 02, 2012 at 12:57 AM
[Part 1] David, as a fellow cyclist, I am surprised at your responses. While I am all for maintaining tradition (ask my kids – they are sick of hearing me pine for the old days), it should never trump safety. You seem to feel that since cars also disregard traffic laws, bicyclists can also. I am not sure if you are from Rye or not, but I can guarantee you that the Rye PD will take action.
Average Citizen May 02, 2012 at 12:57 AM
[Part 2] Here is how I see this playing out: RPD will be out either this Sunday or next Sunday. They will stop the peloton and explain to the group their safety concerns. They will explain that all V&T laws need to be enforced when traveling thru Rye. Once the group is notified of this, they will be allowed to resume their ride. Then the ride will be observed the following week. If the riders to do not ride in a responsible manner (as defined by NYS V&T laws – not tradition), there will be consequences. The same techniques used by the Westchester County Police to work with the many Sunday motorcyclists travelling up the Hutch to Marcus Dairy will be utilized by RPD. To wit: either stay within the law and travel is a safe manner, or the entire group will be stopped and citations issued for any V&T violations. I can guarantee that the majority of the bikes do not have a bell and that your $1,500 carbon wheelsets do not have an amber reflector on the front wheel nor a red one on the rear (the downside of being a weight weenie!). And if you only ride with Road ID, that won’t pass muster and your bike can be impounded.
Average Citizen May 02, 2012 at 12:58 AM
[Part 3] Draconian? Perhaps, but as I stated before, safety will always be given priority over anything else. As you know, a few towns on the 9W route are notorious for enforcing the NJ single file law and will write you up for blowing stopsigns/red lights. Either the group complies with (basically) whatever the RPD proposes or there may be a lot of disappointed riders on Sundays.
Peter Clerkin May 02, 2012 at 01:15 AM
WHAT ? "It just means you see the road as a place you can drive unsafely. " as quoted from David h . Clearly you misinterpited my commet but how did you ever get to that I find the road a place to to drive unsafley is beyond me . My chuckle was the ironary of your position that passing a bike is rude if going more then the speed of a trotting horse yet you and your co-riders have no problem "buzzing" a car stoped at a red light. Just how fast does the average horse trot anyway ? ( just to save you the trouble the answer is 8 to 10 mph) the average road race bike goes between 15 to 20 mph on average. So please do not scare he horses when you buzz by them ! As far a enforcing the law evenly that is only the right thing to do. It applies to all or none.
Peter Clerkin May 02, 2012 at 01:35 AM
david h your affiliation with that bike riders group has clearly tainted you posting as being one sided and biased. you and your group are unwilling to see any other point of view except the one that benifits you. Since this is a training ride you all take part in please tell us what rides you are training for ? are these other rides under similar condition (with cars and people to avoid ?) So and just to change the conversation why does it matter how fast a car can go, it does not change the fact that you and the riders are out of control ! !
Peter Clerkin May 02, 2012 at 02:08 AM
Mr Black, Some traditions are not good and I would offer this one needs to change. I lived on the gimbels route for over 20 years and I witnessed many near accidents because of it. I recall both confrotations with cars vs bikes and even remember several riders falling trying to avoid hitting otheres because a car did not yield to the "pack" who was running a stop sign. As far a making it a "fun" part of living in Rye not a problem but every Saturday and Sunday every week ? Really what is fun about that ? Annual parades are fun, fairs and carnivals are fun but really a reoccuring twice weekly bike ride that abuses the community and its residents is NOT fun !
David Huntsman May 02, 2012 at 02:21 AM
I certainly said nothing like that, nor do I feel that way. I even suggested that it would be better for cyclists to get singled out than for no enforcement at all to take place.
David Huntsman May 02, 2012 at 03:27 AM
No affiliation. Nor do I support illegal riding. I am merely pointing out that there is a background of dangerous motoring and that from a cyclist's point of view, motorists could do a lot - an awful lot - better before they start asking the police to single out cyclist behavior. Tell me you don't see almost constant texting and cell phone use by motorists.
David Huntsman May 02, 2012 at 04:20 AM
OK then canter. But we're being pedantic.
Peter Clerkin May 02, 2012 at 11:26 AM
About David...bikeNewportBeach.org No affiliation ? Just click on you name and this is what it shows (along with your picture) So someone one put that there if it was not you maybe someone stole your idenity ! May want to check that out. I was giving you credit that it was Newport Beach R. I. and maybe you might have ridden in this race but after checking your newport beach it is the one in California.. So really David I have to be suspect of anything you write. Have you ever been to Rye or riden in the gimbles ride ? Do you even know who or what "GIMBEL" is ? ( I would be glad to give you the background if you don't want to look it up )Why is it that in ever post you write you alway try to change the subject (i.e. how fast does a car go or don't you see people texting and driving) Please try and stay to the topic ,by the way just in case you forgot the topic is the out of control riders who abuse the community and residents of Rye.
Peter Clerkin May 02, 2012 at 11:55 AM
Daivd H ...........no affiliation with bikenewportbeach.org ??? Is the article posted on April 19 not the same Daivd Huntsman ?(titled writer) cleary if you, you have an affiliation as a posting member . Sorry but now your credibality and truthfullness are in question.
Jim Amico May 02, 2012 at 12:19 PM
David H., Those that know me know that I am huge on pushing enforcement from our PD, ask any Rye Cop or Avg.Citizen and they will all tell you my background on this. I am in no way suggesting favortisim or "singling out", I am simply askin that the laws be enforced! Yes, motorists break the law every day, there are many areas where this takes place and should be addressed, god knows I have brought all these areas to the attention of our RPD numerous times as I will this until the LAW IS ENFORCED! I am not against bicyclists of any kind, sport,race, or pleasure, I am a SAFETY ADVOCATE, one who knows all too well the pain of buring a child and if you think I am gonna sit back and watch the Gimbels Riders kill someone or a child - you my friend need a SHRINK!!
David Huntsman May 02, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Pardon me, Peter.Your post suggested an affiliation with the GIMBEL Ride ("that ride") The topics raised here are not unique. Regarding the topic: please read each of my posts: I have written about the hypocrisy of asking police to crack down on a ride like the Gimbel's Ride when motorists already behave equally as bad - and worse - than its participants.
David Huntsman May 02, 2012 at 02:28 PM
OK Jim - I appreciate your concern and support your effort. But you might consider the inflammatory nature of your comments. Animals? Take a look at the first several posts to this article about "spike strips" and you will see what I mean. Is that the result you want?
Jim Amico May 02, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Dave, Good lord my man, I have already stated that I was wrong in using that term but also stated that was what first came to my mind as I was nearly killed, what should I have done...bowed and said thank you? As for the "spike strips", I happen to know that was sarcasm and no one actually wishes that upon anyone, it was some ones way of expressing their disgust for the nature of disrespect towards the safety of Pedestrians and our CHILDREN! Nothing personal here David, just about SAFETY! The Gimbels Riders probably don't agree with us but the reality of it is they are taking their safety for granted and know better, they all know they are not exempt from tragedy when riding at those speeds with that type of disregard, can you really with 100% HONESTY sit here and tell me that it will never happen? Even the best go down sooner or later David, do you watch or follow Nascar!!!
Peter Clerkin May 03, 2012 at 01:29 AM
David H...........Let me use a southern good old boy expression to voice my thoughts ." you ain't got a dog in this fight ......time for you to go !"
Lori Olbrys May 03, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Like anyone on the road, the bicyclists need to consider other people, and for the most part have unfortunately become quite self-involved and uncaring about the cars and frankly, their right of way. And the unfortunate issue is that if a car were to accidentally hit a bicyclist, it would be the car's fault.
old time cyclist May 04, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Jim, I can't imagine the pain you have felt, and how it conditioned your life. Let me make my own observations as a cyclist (who has done the Gimbels ride) - 1) I have never had problems with cars/pedestrians while doing the ride. All my bad encounters came while riding alone or in small groups 2) Our sense of self preservation is quite strong. It has to be to survive 30 years of dealing with careless, inattentive or malicious drivers. Equally, we have interest in running into pedestrians 3) I'd be thrilled to be able to ride 30-40 mph anywhere. Group speed in the section you are talking about? 15-18 mph tops. 4) there are bad apples in any group setting. But most of us seem quite intent on avoiding cars and pedestrians. There have been times when liberties were taken, but what did that cost the driver? 30 seconds of their time? And as for pedestrians, I'd assume they work on the same assumption I do - that which is not there cannot hit you i.e. situational awareness. And Lori, the unfortunate issue is NOT that it would be the car's fault. The unfortunate issue is that no matter whose fault, it's the cyclist that ends up on the losing end. Which is why I try to control my interactions with them.
Jim Amico May 05, 2012 at 02:19 PM
@Old Time, Thank You for your response, my only concern with the speed is the devastating injuries it would present, thank you for the accuracy, even at that speed the injuries would be devastating, to the cyclists as well as the pedestrian! I am not comparing drivers with cyclists and how both user groups obey or disobey the law. This is about that group disobeying the laws and putting everyone in harms way. I shouldn't have to be on the lookout for a group of rogue cyclists while I am in a crosswalk, especially not a pack of 30!!! I have witnessed them pass cars as a group from both sides of cars sitting at the red lights, what does the driver have to do with this.....NOTHING!!! This group damn nearly killed me because they were breaking the law....THAT IS THE ISSUE!!! Children use crosswalks as well as adults, how many children do you know that would have been as lucky as me....I can't think of many!!! As far as who would be at fault....1. NY is a no fault state. 2. because cyclists have to obey NYS Traffic Laws they can be found at fault if they ran a red, ran a stop sign, passed on the wrong side, made an illegal turn on red, DID NOT YIELD TO A PEDESTRIAN IN A CROSSWALK!!! Just because this group is intent on avoiding pedestrians and cars doesn't mean you get a free pass to break every NYS TRAFFIC LAW written and by doing so putting peoples lives in danger!!!
Deborah Ramsey May 05, 2012 at 04:52 PM
It's cyclists like these that give cycling in general a bad name. As president of the Westchester Cycle Club, my focus has always been on safety and respect, both with automobiles and pedestrians. We all share these roads and must do so in harmony.
JapaRider May 05, 2012 at 07:17 PM
It would be valuable to consider the laws that have worked for Holland (and I believe Belgium too) for so many years. When sharing the road, a car must always yield to and is liable for a cyclist and a cyclist must always yeild to and is liable for a pdestrian. This is just common sense and results in a much safer way of life. Now that cycling has become so much more popular in the U.S., I think it would be a great idea to consider this simple and logical solution.
Bob Zahm May 05, 2012 at 08:27 PM
@DaveDuCille - riding in a pack, drafting behind each other is not a valid reason for running red lights. What they're doing is dangerous - to themselves and to innocent pedestrians. It is also against the law. Period. It has to stop.
Bob Zahm May 05, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Maybe, but do the laws in Holland allow for bicyclists to ignore stop signs, red lights, and to not yield to pedestrians in cross walks? I believe those are the primary complaint in the original article.
Ed Y May 05, 2012 at 09:46 PM
15-18 mph-seriously!! I have been on Purchase street in Purchase not Rye riding many times over the last 25 years. I can't speak to the speed in the early years but certainly in the last 3-5 I have tried to go with the pack. I was dropped at speeds well over 20 mph. The Gimbals ride gives all cyclists a bad name. Watch them come thru Purchase taking up the entire lane,4 or more abreast, and even going over the double yellow when there are too a,ny abreast. there is a feeling amongst the riders that they are entitled to ignore the rules of the road when doing Gimbals. it is wrong and it is dangerous! As for accidents they happen all too frequently. just go to the Gimbals web site and read about past accidents. the only police dept. That regularly stops riders and enforces traffic laws to my knowledge is Bedford. They are universally disliked by riders,just ask Westchester cycle club members,but it is effective.
Chris Starace May 06, 2012 at 03:33 PM
I am an avid cyclist and I would not do the Gimble's ride due to the aforementioned safety issues related to the group mentality of not following traffic rules. I think since this ride is in essence, an informal race, why not require to have it sanctioned by an organization and have the riders pay a fee as they must do for all sanctioned races? For the fee they pay, the money will go to liability insurance for the organizer and a police escort. Sanctioned bike races also rely on volunteers from the organizer to help marshal traffic at intersections as riders pass. Why not have members of the Gimble's group be required to volunteer to do the marshaling a few times a year? Traffic will only be stopped for the lead pack and people off the back will be required to follow traffic laws. It will remain a small, local informal race as long as no prizes or official places are offered to the riders.
JapaRider May 07, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Bob Z- The point I was making is that the cyclist is responsible for stopping for the pedestrian and if the pedestrian gets injured by the cyclist, the cyclist is automaticaly the one at fault. No excuses.
Jim Amico May 08, 2012 at 06:35 PM
THANK YOU TO ALL THAT SUPPORT MY CONCERNS ON THIS AND RESPECT THE LAWS, REFRESHING TO SAY THE LEAST!!! SOMETHING TELLS ME THE GIMBELS RIDERS ARE IN FOR A VERY RUDE AWAKENING VERY SOON!!!
joBiker May 10, 2012 at 12:21 PM
Don't tell me the Rye police are finally going to do something! I hope Harrison joins them if they do.

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