Saturday was a great day for the Pedal Greenwich Community Bike Party in Old Greenwich.
Held at Living Hope Community Church, a crowd of bike enthusiasts and local officials gathered for camaraderie and to express their hope that Greenwich will find a way to make the roads safer for cyclists and create designated lanes.
Community health experts at Greenwich Hospital ran a free bike safety clinic with free hourly raffles and essential safety gear. Greenwich Police were present with their new e-bike unit. The Greenwich High School Environmental Action Club discussed their work to reduce our environmental impact in our community and beyond. Staff at local bike shops allow participants to browse bikes, e-bikes and cycling equipment
US Congressman (D-4) Jim Himes, an avid cyclist, said he had taken a bike ride three weeks earlier from Long Island Sound to Compo Beach in Westport to Massachusetts.
âI have realized that we have some of the most beautiful bikes in the world, including some nice hills, but we are not making it as accessible as we should be,â he said.
Himes said ideally there should be designated bike lanes for a safe cycling experience.
Cos Cob resident Himes said during his three-mile drive to the event, trucks were speeding by.
âIt just seems dangerous and it can easily be fixed,â he continued. âAnd then people are healthier. They have no more cars. They feel better. This is something really exciting for me.
Greenwich Fred Camillo said he took part in a trial run to find a starting point for safe cycling.
âWe tried to look for a few streets in Byram – even if we could group a few together, it would show we could move around safely. The key word is to do it safely, âhe said. âWe wanted to first indicate an area and move it around the city. “
Event host Anthony Moor said the group was looking for enthusiastic cycling enthusiasts to view their election season open letter on the PedalGreenwich.org website.
âIf there’s something on the website that doesn’t look like a mom and apple pie, it’s probably not about the bike,â Moor said. âNo one has ever regretted a cycle path or a cycle path when they saw it. No one ever said, “It was a bad idea.”
âThe hardest part is figuring out how to find something that matches our need in Greenwich to be profitable, to manage the unique qualities of our roads and to allow our riders to be less confused at intersections when bikes are in. all over them, and also show the right way for riders and pedestrians.
Officer Rob Smurlo, of the Greenwich Police Electric Bicycle Unit, said when police on bicycles stopped a car, drivers were sometimes surprised when the officer knocked on their window.
âFor the most part, people are grateful that we keep pedestrians and the city safe,â he said. âIn addition, we are maintaining traffic, including double-parked cars on Greenwich Avenue. “
âWe get places much faster. Since we started the unit in February crime has dropped dramatically on Greenwich Ave shoplifting is on the decline check fraud because they see us driving around and not just standing in a corner to lead traffic at an intersection. They know that when the officer is directing traffic, he will not answer a call. With these bikes we get there much faster.
He said recently that the bike units responded to a CPR rescue on Steamboat Rd of a 74-year-old man with no heartbeat or pulse.
When it snows or rains, they pivot to a patrol car, but any day they are on their e-bikes. âWe are diehards. We’re still on the bikes. I posted on Instagram last year when it was 10 Â°.
The great thing about e-bikes is that when you get a call you’re not out of breath, you’re not tired. If you are using electric, you are not using your pedals. You are not using your energy. Then you are good to go.
He said the bike unit had made numerous arrests of large Newark and Bronx shoplifting groups.
âNow they’re basically saying don’t go to Greenwich,â Smurlo said.
Pedal Greenwich’s mission is to bring together drivers, cyclists and pedestrians in Greenwich to advocate for improvements in pedestrian and bicycle safety, as Greenwich deserves better signage, street infrastructure and educational programs to that everyone can share the road.