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Neighbor to Neighbor: Belmont Park to host crime-prevention event

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Now that most, if not all, civic associations are taking their annual two-month holiday, attending National Night Out Against Crime is an important event in which everyone should try to take part. The date is Aug. 5 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Belmont Park Race Track, gate 5, rain or shine. It is a fun family night out. It is an alcohol-free event and, yes, coolers will be checked.

Bring a picnic, buy food from vendors or enjoy some of the free food available. There will be law enforcement people from the New York City Police Department, Nassau County, Metropolitan Transportation Authority and New York state.

There will be other agencies represented, too, all willing and anxious to answer questions and give helpful hints about ways to make our lives safer, healthier and happier. Please do come. There are a lot of events going on, and each of us should know about every one of them. There will also be animals, prizes, music and surprises.

At the last 105th Precinct Council Meeting before the summer break, Deputy Inspector Michael Bryan said that the Larceny and Anti-Crime Units have been working very hard to stem the tide of car thefts. We were told that the vehicles most at risk lately are older model Honda Civics, Toyota Camrys and Nissan Maximas. They seem to be vulnerable particularly because their ignitions are easy to start. Please, therefore, consider having your ignition changed.

At that same meeting, there were complaints and discussions about motorized scooters, dirt bikes and quads — those four-wheeled vehicles that may or may not have a roll bar on top. All of these are to be used on private property only. It is illegal to use them on public property, including on sidewalks, roads, in any park and anywhere except private property. When used improperly, they may be confiscated by the police.

If you see anyone riding on any of the above on public property, please call 911 and give a description of the rider, the vehicle, the location and the direction in which the vehicle was going. If you are in legal possession of any of the above, please note that these items are at high risk of theft. Protect them accordingly.

If you think that is enough of a problem for the community and the police to deal with, let me tell you about the newest wrinkle in riding a regular two-wheeler. Wheelies, or riding on the back wheel only with the front wheel pulled high in the air, have been popular for a number of years as a way to risk broken bones. The newest challenge seems to be to do that on Merrick Boulevard, with the drivers usually weaving in and out against heavy traffic.

I saw one young man do that for two full blocks and then make a U-turn right in front of a moving bus. These are not harmless pranks. This is reckless endangerment — not only to themselves, but to many others, as well. We hope and pray for their sakes and for others that such dangerous nonsense will stop immediately.

When ridden as lawfully and carefully as possible, bicycles offer little protection for the rider in the event of an accident. Cyclists 13 and over must drive in the street or risk having the bike confiscated by the police. Even those who are age 10 and over must drive in the street if they are riding an adult-sized bike, which is 26 inches or more, or they, too, risk confiscation of the bike.

Drive in a bike lane whenever provided, except when turning or avoiding an obstacle; follow all traffic signals and markings and other rules of the road; drive in the direction of traffic; yield to pedestrians; and keep both hands on the steering device or handlebars for maximum control.

Where no bike lane exists, cyclists should stay to the right on a two-way street or a one-way street that is less than 40 feet in width. They should drive either to the right or left on a one-way street that is wider than 40 feet. Motorists must remember that obstructing a bicycle lane is illegal and subject to penalty. Stopping, standing or parking in a designated bicycle lane is prohibited.

And commercial vehicles, when permitted to double park, still must not obstruct a bicycle lane. You are subject to a summons for the violation of this New York City traffic regulation. We hope everyone will learn all the rules and obey them and stay safe and happy.

Posted 7:22 pm, October 10, 2011
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