After receiving complaints from the Bradley Beach Chamber of Commerce, an organization comprised of a number of businesses located in the borough, Bradley Beach officials said they will begin to crack down on bicyclists riding on sidewalks.
At a recent chamber meeting many business olwners who attended voiced their concerns about bicycle riding on Main Street. John Esposito, vice president of the Chamber of Commerce and owner of Beach Cinema, said that Bloom owner, Kelly Gambella, brought the situation to the chamber’s attention.
“She said she spent a lot of time in front of her store making people aware that they’re not supposed to be riding on the sidewalks,” Esposito said. “She brought it to our attention to see if there was anything we could do to correct problem. On my end, we’ve had the same problem in front of the theater.”
“We have a good problem,” said Mayor Gary Engelstad. “More businesses are open on Main Street and that means more pedestrians.”
Engelstad and Police Chief Leonard Guida said they have been consistently monitoring the situation. With the increased pedestrian traffic, however, safety is becoming a larger issue. Engelstad said there’s been some “close calls” between walkers and bike riders.
Kelly Gambella, owner and operate of Bloom located at 712 Main St. said she has witnessed a few close calls. Her sign was knocked over by two girls and one of her older woman customers was almost hit walking out of her store. Both times, the bikers did not stop.
“I’m hoping they can display more signs and let people know more effectively about using the bike paths on the street, not the sidewalk,” Gambella said.
“We’ve been addressing the issue for quite a while,” Chief Guida said. “Because of the complaints we’ll be increasing our efforts.”
Guida said there would be additional patrol officers on foot walking the sidewalks. The borough is looking to first educate the cycling public before issuing summons, which could result in a $55 fine.
“Education is more important than any penalizing of the public,” Guida said.
The borough worked with the Department of Safety to install signs featuring diagrams of bike riders along Main Street as a visual reminder for bikers to use the street and not the sidewalk.
“The safety of pedestrians on sidewalks is paramount to us,” the police chief said. “We’ll make every effort to make sure that the safety of those individuals is protected.”
“I’m happy it’s being brought out in the public, to educate people,” Esposito said. “Nobody is looking for people to get tickets; we just want to correct the problem.”