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Jul 24, 2012 5:33 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

In East Hampton And Southampton, Trying To Share The Roads Safely

Jul 26, 2012 1:10 PM

According to Mr. Gregor, wide and straight roads are a recipe for vehicles traveling too fast, which is one reason engineers recommend curbing and medians, to slow the traffic. On some of the side streets, Mr. Gregor said, “we hope that the pavement width is wide, and that people would walk on the shoulder ... against traffic.”

In East Hampton Town, many roads have neither sidewalks nor shoulders. “All of the small ... [and] most of the side roads really don’t have a shoulder,” said East Hampton Town Police Chief Eddie Ecker. “That’s the rural character that we’re in.”

Between January 1 and July 12 of 2012, there were 405 reported accidents involving motor vehicles, not all involving injuries, in Chief Ecker’s jurisdiction. Of four people who died in those accidents, one was a pedestrian.

During the same period in 2011, there were 383 accidents and one fatality involving a motor vehicle occupant. During the same time period in 2010, there were 394 reported accidents, with four fatalities, all involving only motor vehicle occupants, with two of them motorcycles.

The numbers have been “pretty consistent,” the chief said. He also pointed out that traffic in East Hampton Town becomes much more manageable after a surge in July and August.

When asked which roads could be most problematic, Chief Ecker mentioned Old Montauk Highway, a thoroughfare to and from Montauk with limited visibility, limited road shoulders, and only a partial sidewalk or jogging path along its south side. “It’s really not made for bikers,” the chief said.

Another relatively major thoroughfare is Second House Road, also in Montauk, with little room on the shoulder and a sidewalk that extends only “up to a point,” Chief Ecker said.

In the Springs-Amagansett area, he said, some of the problematic roads might include Old Stone Highway, where Jeffrey Ahn was struck, as well as Neck Path, Albert’s Landing Road and Little Albert’s Landing Road and Accabonac Highway. Among those in Wainscott are Town Line Road, Wainscott Stone Road and Wainscott Northwest Road. In East Hampton, the chief mentioned Cedar Street.

“They’re great roads, but there’s no shoulder,” Chief Ecker said, “and I don’t think anybody wants a shoulder.” Sidewalks would help in places, he said, but added, “I just don’t know if it’s feasible.”

As for bike lanes, he said, “They’re great on bigger roads,” but added that there’s no place to put them on narrower roads. “How do you put a bike lane on East Lake Drive?” he asked of one narrow Montauk road popular with bicyclists.

“The complaints that we see a lot of from the motoring public is that bicyclists and walkers ... think they own the streets,” the chief said. His advice? “Let everyone have the right of way. It’s our burden in the summer.”

According to Mr. Neely, although sidewalks and shoulders can make roads safer, more than 90 percent of all accidents involve driver error of some kind. The hard part, he said, is getting people to change the way they drive.

In Southampton Town, Mr. Gregor said, “We need to have serious traffic enforcement with speeding,” alluding to Mr. Neely’s third “E.” The highway superintendent said authorities should post signs announcing targeted enforcement, and then “write tickets until we run out of paper.”

“Everyone’s so aggressive behind the wheel,” Mr. Gregor said, adding that drivers speed even where signs and paint on the road itself post the legal limit, and that they pass on a double-yellow line “because they’re impatient.” On Noyac Road, he said, some drivers speed up, rather than slow down, at the speed counters, which post their rate of speed as they approach—an effort to ring up a more impressive number.

“We even had a guy texting on his bicycle and weaving in and out of the road on Montauk Highway in Water Mill,” Mr. Gregor said. “I don’t know how he wasn’t killed.”

“We used to say, ‘Drive defensively,’ and people need to start thinking about it again,” he added. “The roads are no longer just for cars—they’re a shared resource by pedestrians, by cyclists and by motorists. So you need to be able to take that into consideration.”

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just yesterday I began to pull away from a stop sign. next thing I knew, a bicyclist blew a stop sign and ran right across the nose of my truck.

not the first time I have seen a cyclist faill to yield, and I'm sure it won't be the last...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jul 26, 12 9:15 AM
So now you know to make a full stop- stay off your phone and texting. Check both ways before proceeding and slow down
By realistic (472), westhampton on Jul 26, 12 9:28 AM
What part of "began to pull away" did you not understand?

I was at a full stop. By the way today's counts before lunch are as follows: drivers observed on cell phones: 27
moronic moves: 6
idiotic moves: 0

Remember, it's a weekday. Those counts are always far higher.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jul 26, 12 12:12 PM
1 member liked this comment
Could you differentiate between a moronic and an idiotic move? I'd like to keep a similar tally.
By bchgrl83 (52), Westhampton Beach on Jul 26, 12 1:38 PM
Well, rolling with the Binet scale moronic moves mean it was stupid but chances are you'll get away with it and I will react in time.

Idiot usually means you're lucky I didn't shred your vehicle like tinfoil, because most likely I in my vehicle would walk away without a scratch.

Seeing someone with a cellphone glued to their ear, that's pretty concrete. Also, I meant the weekend counts are usually higher. Ocassionally Sunday is worse than Saturday. The numbers often catch up ...more
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jul 26, 12 8:10 PM
Well I appreciate the time you took. Obviously- the Binet scale is applied here. You're a pissa Mr. Z, a real pissa. I like that. I couldn't agree more, the weekend counts are so much higher, Sundays are tricky - even for the early morning stroll for a cup of coffee. It's treacherous out there. Safe travels.
By bchgrl83 (52), Westhampton Beach on Jul 26, 12 10:49 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jul 28, 12 5:46 AM
Hey- not sure if you read my comment the wrong way - I really found your response amusing and I agree 100%. I saw your reply below got censored, so hopefully I didn't offend you!
By bchgrl83 (52), Westhampton Beach on Jul 28, 12 12:05 PM
All I said was thanks.

The deletion was uncalled for.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jul 28, 12 1:37 PM
San Diego, Boulder, Scottsdale and just about every recreation city/town have ample bike lanes or are in the process of making them part of every road. It is truly embarrassing that we as a community cannot create a safe environment for both recreational and serious cyclists.

By ad (1), Roses Grove on Jul 26, 12 10:25 AM
1 member liked this comment
It would help if the bikers knew what they were doing. This weekend I was driving past Renerts place in Sag and a bicyclist was in the middle of the land with no desire to move over. I honked the horn a few times and was greeted with an unfriendly gesture. Does the biker not realize that me going around him (and thus into oncoming traffic) isn't a safe option when he could simply move to the shoulder?

The number of people riding bikes along the road has swelled in recent years and ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jul 26, 12 12:35 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By ad (1), Roses Grove on Jul 26, 12 3:38 PM
Completely agree with ad - Cyclists and Motorist are both to blame. We need bike lanes like every other weekend/vacation destination.
By RQ (2), Water Mill on Jul 26, 12 8:45 PM
We also need cyclists to obey the rules of the road.

99.9% of the time, they don't...
Jul 26, 12 8:50 PM appended by Mr. Z
If you want to chit chat, get Bluetooth and go on conference if you need to "shoot the "srati". Then, a group can still ride single file...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jul 26, 12 8:50 PM
I have been seeing a lot of bicyclists talking on cell phones. Head scratcher.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Jul 26, 12 9:49 PM
1 member liked this comment
Good point - rarely see motorist on their cell phones - lol

The simple point is - all of our property values would be better off if a beach community had bike lanes. Not complex. To ad's point - travel to any forward thinking community and you will see ample bike lanes.

I've been coming out here for over 30 years - car traffic up significantly as well as bike traffic. Yet no improvements for either.
By RQ (2), Water Mill on Jul 27, 12 3:53 PM
All bikers NEED mirrors so they can see what's coming behind them have witnessed bikers just pulling to cross over without looking accident waiting to happen :((((((
By Foofoo (1), East hampton on Aug 1, 12 8:02 AM