HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Teens on bikes have been taking over busy Long Island roads, weaving in and out of traffic.
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported exclusively Thursday, parents say it is a terrifying new trend that has moved east from the city to the suburbs.
The teens do unimaginable stunts on bikes, and residents complain that it is happening in the middle of traffic.
“They are intentionally riding in front of cars,” said Susan Kavanagh.
Kavanagh was still shaken after nearly being hit by teens on bikes on busy Main Street in East Islip.
“Intentionally laughing and riding into oncoming traffic, and playing like chicken where they don’t want to move,” she said.
The mother of two said it is a regular and terrifying sight.
“They were popping wheelies to an oncoming public bus,” Kavanagh said.
Merchants throughout Suffolk County are also alarmed.
“I see them darting out in front of cars, cutting them off,” said Islip store owner Lori Zegal. “Every day, someone has encountered it.”
The kids are imitating what they see on social media with the hashtag #oneway. The trend started in New York and Philadelphia.
Just last week, a teen was seen deliberately swerving between two city buses on Staten Island. The teen was arrested.
In Suffolk County, some teens demonstrated their skills for CBS2. They said they are not doing anything dangerous, but they are too young to have learned the rules of the road.
When asked if he rides in the middle of the road, one teen said, “I mean, if there’s no cars coming, then yeah.”
As to safety, another teen boy said: “Some of us are in the middle of the road going in and out. Not everybody does that though.”
“If we are on the sidewalk, the cops yell at us and tell us not to. If we ride on the road, we get yelled at,” a third teen said.
A bike shop owner agreed that a lack of places to ride is a problem.
“They’re just great kids. They just have no place to ride. They can’t ride in the street. They can’t ride on the sidewalk. They can’t ride in the parks,’ said Bike Depot owner Richard Gutowitz.
Suffolk County Legislator Tom Cilmi (R-East Islip), who has filed hundreds of complaints, said the potential for tragedy is immense.
“There are many places that kids can go to ride bicycles and do the acrobatics and tricks they want to do,” Cilmi said. “They don’t have to do it in the middle of the street in to oncoming traffic.”
Cilmi said he has asked Suffolk County police to talk to kids about the dangers, which they have. He is also appealing to parents to do their jobs – tell their kids the bike antics are not harmless fun and games.