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Big Event Bicycle Ban On Long Island’s North Fork Met With Mixed Opinions

Officials: Permits For For-Profit Popular Events Will No Longer Be Issued

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SOUTHOLD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A bicycle ban is drawing the ire of some Long Islanders.

But many who live on the North Fork say they are sick of swarms of riders clogging their scenic East End roads, CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Friday.

Patrick Carey said he can’t imagine life without big biking events, drawing hundreds. They come for healthy exercise, and the charm and character of scenic farms and, vineyards, as they peddle through rural country life.

“There’s nothing like biking 50 miles to Montauk Point and then going to Orient Point for another 50,” Carey said.

“They come out and are awe-stricken, and they are enjoying the wineries, the vineyards,” added Mattituck homeowner Milta Annunziata.

But other locals said they fear permitting so many big bike events will turn the quaint North Fork into the frenetic Hamptons.

“We have a growing list of requests for these events. I have 32 applications pending,” Southold Supervisor Scott Russell said.

That is why Southold town — all 53 square miles on the North Fork – from Riverhead east to Orient — will now deny permits to for-profit companies’ bicycle events, saying they sap police resources and disrupt daily lives.

Perry Brandston was among those calling it unfair to cancel this summer’s popular North Fork Century Ride.

“I probably wouldn’t end up riding 75-100 miles if there wasn’t one of these group rides. It is good for me,” Brandston said.

What’s good for riders may be unsafe for motorists.

“That many people on bikes, with that many cars, in the middle of the summer, is a recipe for disaster,” homeowner Mark Ghuneim said.

And business owners said for all the inconvenience of road closures, the cyclists rarely stop to buy.

“They mainly have a destination in mind. It’s about the cycling. It’s not about shopping. It’s about the event,” said Rosemary Batcheller of The Village Cheese Shop in Mattituck.

Officials said from now on permits will be saved for local charity and not-for-profit events.

The popular Mighty North Fork Triathlon will go on. It received its permit for this summer’s event before the new policy took effect.

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