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North Fork Bicycle 'Night Ride' Permit Denied By Town

With safety issues a main concern, Southold Town Board members deny the allowance of a planned overnight bicycle ride through the North Fork and table another proposal from the same group at Tuesday’s meeting.

For the past nine years, upstate resident Glen Goldstein has organized the North Fork Century bicycle ride through the North Fork — with options of a 100-mile full century, a 72-mile ride, a 50 mile ride, or a 25-mile route. Everyone starts together and riders can decide which distance they want to do in the middle of the ride.

This year, Goldstein was planning that same event — a winding ride for about 1,000 cyclists starting and ending at — on Aug. 26. He was also planning a night ride for about 500 people starting at on Sept. 30. Goldstein organized one of these night rides on 2010 but canceled last year’s plan.

asked Goldstein to apply this year for permits for both events, and at the board’s regular meeting on Tuesday, board members voted to table the resolution to permit the August ride and denied a permit for the night ride. At work session early that day, Chief Martin Flatley said he was concerned about safety as more bikers pile onto the roads during these events.

Board members also had concerns about allowing for-profit enterprises onto local roads — even though portions of the money collected from riders goes back into the community in the form of a fundraiser for the a scholarship for Greenport High School and local businesses that the organization and the bikers use while they are here, according to Goldstein.

Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said he felt it was time, with ever-increasing use of local roads, that he and the board look at what road races they should approve and not approve.

“We need to decide if we need to start declining certain requests and limit races to real not-for-profits,” Russell said.

The board has always approved the use of roads for races like the and the both of which directly benefit the schools, and the which raised over $25,000 for wounded veterans last year. But Goldstein’s rides, where riders pay $87 to $250 to participate, are not dedicated to one proprietary charity — and organizing the event is what Goldstein does for a living.

“What confuses people sometimes is that whoever organizes all these charity rides, runs, walkathons — all of them get paid as they should, it’s a huge amount of work,” said Goldstein, who lives in Narrowsburg, N.Y. and said he did not know that the Southold Town Board had addressed the North Fork race this week. “But when the Red Cross has an event in a community, that money raised goes away — to D.C., to New York City. What we do — yes, I get paid, it’s what I do for a living. But we leave the money where we ride.”

Members of the Greenport Fire Department are paid to cook the food for the meal after the North Fork Century ride and have made thousands of dollars to benefit the department, Goldstein said. He said that he purchases bagels for the big pre-ride breakfast fromin Southold and this year, he planned to use a portion of the funds for a Greenport High School Scholarship.

“We pay permit fees in Orient, we use produce from for meals, we buy pies galore from , and this year we’ve got sponsoring us,” he continued. “Yes, people are paying money to ride but we like the idea of spending money where we go.”

Chief Flatley said that for future events like this, he’d like to be able to set a limit on the number of bicycle riders allowed to use North Fork roads and would like to see a staggered instead of an all-at-once start. Councilman William Ruland said he views something like the Wounded Warrior ride as an “easily defined” not-for-profit event, but “with this one, you have to question the motivation.”

Goldstein said that he has no doubt he’s doing the right thing for the communities he comes to with the bike rides — he organizes five per year, and two of them are on the North Fork.

“It’s gorgeous out here, but if this can’t happen in Southold this year, it will kill me — everyone loves it,” he said. “Of course we want to work with the town and abide by the rules, and I really do think we’re doing a good thing for every town we go to. For eight years, Southold never asked for permits, and the joke was that no one even knew we were here. I don’t think what we are doing is so bad — we just want to ride our bikes.”

Jonathan Baker April 12, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Speed cushions, rather than speed humps, may be more appropriate upon further reading in wikipedia.
BOB PALADIN April 12, 2012 at 01:46 PM
btw 30 mph is 44 ft per second do the math if you dont beleive me can anyone believe that they can stop in time to avoid anything at 40 or more mph on PBB
Erin Schultz (Editor) April 12, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Michael Konarski said on Facebook: "as a cyclist i think organized rides are fun so I think they should be allowed but I'm not so sure about the night ride. I don't ride after dark because you cant see the obstacles as clearly."
BOB PALADIN April 12, 2012 at 01:57 PM
why dont we call the bike ride what it is a BIKE PARADE how much time does it take for 100 bikes to pass a driveway so you cant get out of it.. how much COST to US for traffic control. and I cant think of a more DUMB dangerous thing here with all the DRUNKS from the Wineries driving on new dark roads with hundreds of bicyclists...
Jonathan Baker April 12, 2012 at 02:53 PM
I hear your frustration, Bob. To answer your question regarding how much time for 100 bikes to pass a driveway, around 1 minute, if your driveway is 22 feet wide and the bikers are peddling at 15 mph. I'm not being flippant. I did the calculation. As for cost, I would think that a little of the cost would be covered by the permit fee, some indirectly in the increased revenue from the bikers spending money here. Wine impaired drivers are a concern for us all, including bikers. So, maybe it isn't a good idea to have an organized night ride.
Frank T April 12, 2012 at 03:10 PM
I believe the night rides would be a bad idea. The roads are way too dark at night. I don't see what the problem is with organized day group rides. It brings in a lot of people into the north fork and they will spend money on local business for breakfast, lunch and dinners. You can really appreciate the beauty of the North Fork on a bike. It's not the same as driving in a car 30 to 50 mph.
BOB PALADIN April 12, 2012 at 03:18 PM
i wish it were one minute its more like ten because of the distance between the group and I must say just like NYC where bikers are arrogant and never obey the rules of the road
Tom April 12, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Night rides are a terrible idea... and my money is on the deer over the bikers any evening. That said, if the organizer wants to do it, the town PD and EMS providers should determine what additional safety measures need to be taken, and then determine how many officers, for how many hours, it will require to address the safety issues. Then, the Town of Southold should send a bill, which must be paid by the organizer in advance of the event starting, for the entire cost of the extra officers and equipment. Also, perhaps this event organizer should go through his list of AVAILABLE BATHROOMS, and DELETE all the bathrooms they list on their route that are NOT open to the public. Being involved with several local organizations, I know that in past events we have riders coming up to us "telling" us they have to use our restrooms, and then showing us a map with our location on it. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Jonathan Baker April 12, 2012 at 03:33 PM
A valid reason to endorse Captain Flatley's desire to have staggered starts, to give a respite from a large mass travelling together that would impact on other users of the public roads.
BOB PALADIN April 12, 2012 at 03:37 PM
invasion of the bicyclists... where is the taxpayers quality of life ... so far today my AH neighbor has had his [ i am sure legal gardeners] run LEAF BLOWERS [3] for 3 hours 40 minutes straight cmon give me a break.......
Jonathan Baker April 12, 2012 at 03:41 PM
With such large groups, the organizer should rent port-a-potties that are placed along the route for those calls of nature. By doing so, he is making the intrusion less painful and less of an impact to the area.
BOB PALADIN April 12, 2012 at 03:43 PM
maybe if the town was so interested in quality of life issues we could endorse a limited amount of riders but with the all deteriorating conditions [including road quality] out here who needs the xtra burdens...
Jonathan Baker April 12, 2012 at 03:53 PM
What you are complaining about are not everyday occurrences. We have to be tolerant and accommodating of our neighbors, just as they are of us, isn't that true? Let me ask you, where are the U.S. citizens lining up to do the gardening jobs? I don't see anyone I would guess is a citizen wanting to do those jobs. As for your neighbor being an AH, I don't know him so can't comment ;>)
BOB PALADIN April 12, 2012 at 05:24 PM
right now there is a true 40% unemployment rate in construction in the US. those of us that are still working and owning attribute it to the ability to wear several hats on every job.we pay prevailing wage to all and try like hell to make and keep a safe work culture... what bother s me the most is the exploitation of the un documented laborer here in the US and especially here in Southhold.. the abuse i see is incredible from asking these people to spray pesticides on the golf courses with ' no protection' to the no noise headsets when blowing leaves for many hours to living in squalor. i come from a culture where my immediate ancestors were exploited in this way and i am very sensitive to it. btw you are dead wrong about the gardening job i know a lot of people working their asses off as gardeners and other supposed ' poor mans work' to try and pay their mortgage
Jonathan Baker April 12, 2012 at 06:03 PM
I'm sorry. I took your remark about "legal" gardeners as being a snide one. I agree with you that many of the gardeners work without the necessary protections and that is plain wrong. Without deeper knowledge, one can only surmise that they are being taken advantage of and that it is not of their own choosing. Some youngsters can be foolish.
Glen Goldstein April 13, 2012 at 03:36 AM
Hi Friends -- Glen here, the organizer of the North Fork Century and the Night Ride. Nice to see so many interesting comments. No matter what your opinion here, a few facts are in order: o For all of our events we take out a $1 million insurance policy that indemnifies the town. If someone wants to sue the town, our insurance covers it. o We always agree to pay for any additional town expense, such as police overtime. It is up to the police to decide what is needed, and assuming it's not insane, we pay it. We have worked with Chief Flatley and he has been very supportive and professional. o All the talk about the night ride has been, I believe, entirely by people who never saw it. This is NOT a hootin' hollerin' wild party. As we say in the materials, "If you can hear anything louder than the sound of your bicycle tires on the road, you are too loud. If you want to yell and scream, STAY HOME -- this is not the ride for you." This ride is more like a bird-watching nature walk, but on bicycles. ALL of our riders are required to have a flashing white light in front and a flashing red light in the rear as a MINIMUM to participate. We inspect every single bike before it can participate. . Believe it or not, I feel SAFER riding at night. In the daytime a driver can get distracted; at night that blinking light is very VERY visible! More in a second...
Glen Goldstein April 13, 2012 at 03:42 AM
MORE on the bike rides: o Over the past couple years I've written checks for ABOUT $40,000 to the Greenport Fire Department, which provides the post-ride meal for the North Fork. They earn every penny of it (and then some) and I'm honored to spend LOCALLY. Plus a couple hundred for East End Bagels, thousands of dollars for Briermere Farms pies, a couple grand at the Soundview restaurant... we are honored to be in a great town and happy to spend when we can. o The Wounded Warrior Foundation. A really first-class charity that gets top marks from the charity-rating organizations. They raise money for a terrific cause and I tip my hat to them. Having said that, how much do you suppose their leaders are paid? According to their filings, the president gets paid more than $199,000 a year. The FORMER officer gets paid $250,000 a year. So when I hear the boast that they raised $400,000 for charity.... My point is NOT that these guys are bad. They're not. Great guys fighting for a great cause. You gotta spend money to make money. But when I hear this argument about "real charities" vs' "fake charities" I cringe. I'd rather talk about "events that leave money in Southold/Greenport" and "events that visit the town and dont' spend a dime there."
Glen Goldstein April 13, 2012 at 11:48 AM
Good comments Tom! Insurance -- happy to provide. The industry standard is $1 million. We have on occasion gone higher, at the request of the location where we ride. Knock on wood, in 15 years we've never had a claim, but it's always best to be prepared. I think the odd thing about the Night Ride is that I bet that NO ONE saw us (or heard us) last time we did the ride. Concerned about something they didn't know existed? Happy to alert people as much as they wish, but the funny thing is that we got not one single complaint after the last ride. Reminds me of when I was in toursim and a client refused to book his group at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in NYC. "The place is full of hookers," he explained. "Really? I've never noticed that," I said. "That's because you can't SEE them." (He was worried about invisible hookers?) Bathrooms -- we spend a LOT of money on portable toilets -- thousands and thousands of dollars. Happy to provide invoices. Our largest expense after charity and diesel. Bathrooms are located at our rest stops, about 20 miles apart -- a standard for bike rides. I've never heard a complaint. Money: I've been doing this for 15 years. Made no money at all for the first four or so. Lost ALL my money once when a L.I. official in Suffolk lied about a permit. I work on North Fork all year, 365 days (yes, really) and if everything goes PERFECT and I'm VERY lucky I can earn $10,000. That's $10,000 before taxes, with no benefits.
Glen Goldstein April 13, 2012 at 11:58 AM
A note about using town assets (Tom raised this excellent point). Uh... what assets would those be? Police? We pay for extra coverage when needed. Roads? We pay road taxes just like everyone else. Paramedics? We pay for our own at each rest stop. Water? True. Hospitals and ambulances? Again, we pay these taxes like everyone else, but in seven years we have had ONE accident. That was when one of our crew was standing on the back of a parked truck, holding an ear of fresh-roasted North Fork corn. He started to fall, refused to let go of the corn (!!!) and broke his hip. Parks? We PAY for permits, along with a town permit for applying fo the ride, and a cleaning deposit we get back when we leave everything clean. We use Greenport High as our start/finish and we pay them too, plus we tip the excellent maintenance guys from the school. For 2012 we'll also set up two scholarships at the high school -- one for North Fork, and one for Night Ride if we get permission for that one. (I still have hope) Remember that in NY bikes are considered vehicles and have all the rights (and all the responsibilities) of cars. If I told everyone i knew, "Get in your car and meet me at Orient Point next Saturday," would we need a permit? No. We would be called welcome toursits. Hmm...
BOB PALADIN April 13, 2012 at 01:52 PM
glen maybe we are just sick and tired of having to be 'put out' by every tom dick and harry group that wants to showboat our area. why not have the ride in winter when the population is 1/3 of what it will be in the summer. why not go to the South Shore or wont they LET YOU IN... so while our police keeps you safe what happens when we exit church on main rd.. where is our crossing protection? , or the fire dept that cant get out cause you bikers have the road clogged? or the ambulance that has to drive slow to help someone cause you clowns ride two abreast?.the needs of the few do not out weigh the needs of the many. you speak about financial terms we speak about PUBLIC safety and we have NO OBLIGATION to you or your groups to give up ours
Glen Goldstein April 13, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Hi Bob, thanks for the note! I think you and I suffer from the same issue -- we live in areas popular with tourists. Where I live we make a significant part of our income from visitors, but that doesn't keep us from grousing about the very real inconveniences. For 15 years we've pedaled the South Fork for a larger event, and we are welcome. We are more than happy to pay for extra safety coverage where recommended -- if your neighborhood has a particular safety issue by all means let the police know. We have NEVER had a complaint at ANY of our rides about police or file not being able to get through. Believe me -- when you're on a 25-lb bike and a 25,000 pound fire truck or three-ton police car is coming up fast you get the hell out of the way without a moment's hesitation. We are honored to be visiting your town and we do everything we can to be extra-good to the neighbors but these are PUBLIC roads. We don't ask to have ANY roads closed for us. We don't ask for special VIP treatment or benefits. We DO ask for the legal rights to which we are entitled under the NY vehicle code. If our cyclists are breaking those laws I encourage the police to ticket or arrest them or hang them by their thumbs -- I'll lead the way; they makes us look bad. I can't swear we won't inconvenience ANYONE for 10 seconds. Our goal when we leave town is to have the neighbors say, "You know, those bike guys were OK, they treated the locals with respect, and we made money for our town."
BOB PALADIN April 13, 2012 at 03:07 PM
safety issue my ass, there is no safety on country roads with limited visibility around here. i cant even get traffic enforcement to honor speed limits of 30mph. i just watched ten cars go by and four motorcycles at 11 am on 4 /13 NOT ONE WAS DOING 30mph i put up a post and rail see through with re reflectors fence to demark my prop line from having cars, motorcylces, large and small trucks and cyclists from going on my front lawn endangering my grandkids and myself..you know what the town official told me 'move the 'post and rail' back from the road its on town property'' so being the person I am i am putting in LARGE BOULDERS on my side of the lawn so now if some idiot drives on my property they will be legally stopped.and probably hurt. I am tired of being put out by the needs of the few...make your ride smaller, do it when its safe and wont encourage a crisis.. ,
MARTIN DREW April 13, 2012 at 03:16 PM
How about just doing it with no permission necessary ? If indeed cyclist have the rights of a motor vehicle > Who decides that people who ride bikes in a group are subject to pay for everything? No one pays to drive their car on a public road ; no ambulance required ; no bathrooms to put out ; just driving on roads everyday by the thousands . Just DO IT ; all the crybabies about PUBLIC safety are just looking for a reason to deny the activity. Liberty ; takes precedent on any day > Let the town run its own event ; then they will know what goes into promoting a idea to fruition . I'll join any ride on any day that keeps my liberty in the forefront of my rights to travel on my chosen form of transportation on any public road . All you naysayers ; when was the last time you even rode a bike ? Get off your lazy asses and experience the sense of freedom on a bike > Save some gasoline to boot ; keep your heart pumping ...I have similar event in mind and it involves thousands of people on motorcycles ; long hair ; tattoos and lots of money to spend. No permit required ; and as for police ; they probably would join the ride .. Wake up North Fork ; LIFE is happening all around you . Not a thing you can do to stop it ...tell one of my friends they are NOT allowed to travel the public roads on their bikes and they will laugh in YOUR face . LIBERTY defines the American way !
BOB PALADIN April 13, 2012 at 03:29 PM
patriot i ride my La Tour 1975 vintage where ever and when ever I want... I would rather be with my tattoed biker brethrn kicking down some Beers and clams @ Claudios than some candy ass bi peddlars any day of the week. . I cut my own wood 5 cords a year , grow / fish or buy real local my own food never ask for help and dont want any., no you dont have the 'right' to block my driveway, ask for water, dump crap on my street or on my lawn, ride on my grass when the kids are out scare the crap out of them with loud obnoxious voice, ride two and three abreast,and otherwise be a jackass. I have 'served plenty of times if you get my drift and don't take crap from anybody...let alone bicyclists. get the hell outta my way and dont block my road.....' simple get it '
BOB PALADIN April 13, 2012 at 03:36 PM
patriot you dont need my permission or the towns to ride you can ride past my house. its the one with all the many American flags on the front lawn backed by me and what I have here. your liberty ends at my grass period...say what you want and as 'john wanye once said a person ought to do what they think is best' and like i told a punk on the subway a few months ago' if you cant respect your elders respect your betters'
mhorine1 April 13, 2012 at 11:24 PM
seems to me, you've got someone who's adding money to the local economy, being respectful of the environment, showcasing some of what's amazing about the area, and a few folks going off on wild tangents about every injustice they see (or imagine.) IMO, anyway....
Jonathan Baker April 14, 2012 at 04:31 AM
Well said. I am tolerant of Bob's concerns and also agree that some of them exceed the subject of this article. However, one of them is extremely valid, albeit off topic, that of excessive speed on Peconic Bay Blvd. It is a shame that the highly (?) paid police aren't all over that road, enforcing the speed limit. An alternative to the police patrol would be installation of the speed cushions I mentioned above. In the long run, they would be cost effective in comparison to implementing heavy police patrolling. . I am happy to read Glen Goldstein's extensive explanations - very informative and they should put to bed many of Bob's concerns. I would think that Mr. Goldstein would concur that large numbers of bikers riding the roads at night (or daytime) would be (and were) cause for apprehension from drivers attempting to pass the riders. It is bad enough to always be on the lookout for deer scooting across the road without having to be apprehensive of bikers possibly meandering into the path of the car.
Jonathan Baker April 14, 2012 at 04:38 AM
Although I support Patriot"s view of individual liberty, I cannot see it being supreme to an organized bike ride of up to 1000 bikers at night or during the day. On its face, such an organized effort must have some controls imposed. The Town Board imposed the ultimate control: denial. I'm not totally convinced that denial is correct, with the additional information Mr. Goldstein has presented. It is never necessary and it is not desirable for the Board to be Nanny and say "No". Let the Board negotiate with Mr. Goldstein with the goal of balancing whatever concerns they may have with those of Mr. Goldstein, et al, in the exercising of their rights to the roadways in our town. Let's keep in mind that this event brings in money to our community. Does our Town Board want to turn that away???
mhorine1 April 16, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Seems that they do, yes.
thatgirl May 03, 2012 at 11:44 PM
agreed. and yes--they do want to turn that revenue away. drunk drivers from the vineyard "tasting rooms" may (as mr. paladin likes to put it) clog the roads all they like, destroying public property and using all manner of public services; pumpkin-seeking SUVs can line up for miles each autumn, too--but omg CYCLISTS! the horror!

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