Babylon Village board voted on Tuesday to pass a reckless biking law which will allow Village code enforcement officers to confiscate the bikes of youths observed riding recklessly on Village streets.
The law, Local Law 6, would allow riders over 16 to be charged with a violation of village code and be subject to a fine of $250. Those under 16 would have bikes confiscated. Young riders would have to have their parents meet with Village officials to reclaim them.
Village residents have been complaining about these so-called “ride outs” for a while. There have been many posts, pictures and videos documenting young riders doing wheelies on busy streets, playing “chicken” with cars, blocking the flow of traffic and preforming other unsafe acts. Earlier in the week a resident complained that young riders doing wheelies on the sidewalk nearly hit her and responded to her and her husband’s complaints with insults and profanity.
It’s not clear what, if any, effect this new law will have on the situation. Even if residents spot this behavior and call Code Enforcement and they respond in time to see them in the act, it’s unlikely that they would be able to catch them. Chasing them down on foot would be futile and doing so in a vehicle would be dangerous and possibly illegal.
Residents have spotted SCPD cruisers simply driving by groups of kids riding in the street even though what they are doing violates state law.
Village attorney Gerard Glass pretty much said that he doesn’t expect code enforcement to aggressively prosecute the new law and hopes that it will “cause a discussion at the dinner table”.
Update – 8/15/2019 – 6:00 pm
Mayor Scordino issued this statement today on the Babylon Village Facebook page with respect to the new law, its enforcement and the issues surrounding it.
On Tuesday, August 13, 2019, the Village Board of Trustees unanimously passed Local Law #6, an addition to Chapter 93 of the Village Code pertaining to operating bicycles in the Village of Babylon.
As we are all aware,neighborhoods and communities throughout our country have been experiencing youths scheduling “ride outs” on bicycles to victimize pedestrians, terrorize children and place everyone whether driving or walking, including themselves in “harm’s way” that is not only extremely dangerous, it can be potentially deadly. This is unacceptable in the Village of Babylon.
Local Law #6 allows our Code Enforcement officers to seize and impound the bicycles as well as SCPD, to issue a fine of $250.00 if in violation of New York State Penal Law, and if convicted, punishable jail time of up to 15 days.
In Newsday today (Thursday, August 15th, 2019), there is an article regarding the adoption of Local Law #6. I would like to assure all our Babylon Village residents and guests, this is not a game of “playing chicken.” The incidents with these youths on bicycles is dangerous and when it comes to the safety of our Village residents, children and guests, it is a matter that I and the Village Board of Trustees take very seriously. There have been incidents of pedestrians being harassed, some knocked down onto the streets, obscenities being shouted and people being spit on. High risk accidents have almost occurred, weaving in and out of the roads, banging on car windows and yelling at drivers. Again, this is unacceptable in the Village of Babylon.
With Local Law #6, our Code Enforcement officers as well as our Village Court will do everything in its legal power and jurisdiction to move forward on ANYONE that violates the Village code and law. This is not “a discussion at the dinner table, and here’s your bicycle back.” This is about safety and with safety there are no options.
The seriousness of this situation was expressed by many at Tuesday’s Village Board meeting and with some residents and non-residents sharing their stories of being victimized and the dangerous and terrorizing situation they were placed in by these youths.
Local Law #6 will not be utilized as an “education” tool. Education begins at home. The safety and welfare of our Village residents, children and guests is our priority and again, we will take those measures allowable by law and in our jurisdiction to enforce and ensure that safety remains.
We were fortunate to have Inspector Kane from the SCPD 1st Precinct at our last “Coffee and Conversation with the Mayor,” and Suffolk County officer from the 1st Precinct Jeff Blaskewicz at Tuesday’s Village Board meeting.
Inspector Kane reminded everyone NOT to take matters in their own hands when confronted with these youths of bicycles. If possible, get a video or photographs, deliver immediately to the 1st Precinct and file a report. Through photos and videos, SCPD will work with the schools and other measures on identifying the youths. As frustrating, upsetting and the emotional stress this dangerous situation has placed on many of us who have been subjected to or have seen, I encourage everyone to heed the advice of Inspector Kane. Taking “matters into your own hands” is not the answer and could be a costly one at that. The same is true with social media. Stating you wish to “bash in their skulls” and in writing is not a wise choice.
In closing, I would like to thank in advance our Village Code Enforcement for their efforts and in being aggressive in moving forward with enacting Local Law #6 to the best of their ability and within the jurisdiction of the law. Thanks to SCPD for working with the Village of Babylon on handling this serious situation and once again, all those residents and non-residents who did take the time to attend the Village Board meeting and express their concerns.
I can assure everyone the Village of Babylon will be diligent, aggressive and steadfast in the handling of this dangerous situation and WILL pursue to the fullest extent of the law and that which is in our jurisdiction ANYONE who violates the law and the Village Code while protecting as always, our Village residents, children and guests. Enjoy you Thursday, Babylon Village.