Throggs Neck residents are asking the 45th Precinct put the brakes on a group of unruly pre-teen bicyclists.
On Thursday, October 13, Linda Perry was driving to Throggs Neck Pharmacy to pick up medicine for her 80-year-old mother when a boy riding a bicycle without a helmet cut in front of her car causing her to jam on the brakes.
When she exited the vehicle at the corner of Lafayette and East Tremont avenues, four pre-teen boys intimidated her by riding their bikes around her.
“I said to them, ‘You could have killed someone. What’s the matter with you’,” she recalled.
Perry claimed one of the boys allegedly gave her the middle finger and made sexually explicit remarks following her question.
“These boys have been riding their bicycles in the middle of East Tremont Avenue for over six months now while popping wheelies and cutting in and out of lanes,” she said. “It’s an accident waiting to happen. These boys think it’s all a joke.”
Perry took several photos of the boys, but this did not deter them.
She claimed the boys allegedly photographed her and her car and that one of them threatened to have his mother beat her up.
Perry immediately visited the 45th Precinct and spoke with an officer who explained their hands are tied.
She added the officer knew the boys and has visited their parents several times to speak about their children’s misbehavior.
“I’m aware of this situation and this is certainly a police matter as well as a parental matter,” expressed Councilman James Vacca. “The neighborhood is requesting better enforcement from the precinct and that these children’s parents take responsibility in disciplining them.”
“I’ve seen them two months ago zigzagging between buses on East Tremont and Lafayette avenues,” shared Andrew Chirico, Waterbury-LaSalle Community and Homeowners Association vice president. “They come out of nowhere and at some point someone’s going to get hurt. We’re all concerned and the 45th Precinct needs to act on this.”
According to the NYS Department of Transportation, the state’s Vehicle and Traffic Law says bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities motorists have including obeying all traffic laws and regulating signs and pavement markings.
In New York state, all bicyclists under 14-years-old are required to wear safety certified bicycle helmets whether they are operators or passengers.
The law states any parent or guardian whose child violates the helmet law is subject to a fine up to $50.
Bob Beider, 45th Precinct Community Council president, said the situation was presented at this October’s precinct council meeting.
He added the precinct was examining legislation including the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law to see if they should ticket the parents.
Deputy inspector Danielle Raia, 45th Precinct commanding officer, explained issuing summonses to the 11 and 12-year-olds is ineffective as they are not required to carry identification.
Raia said some of these children live within the 45th Precinct’s jurisdiction while a few do not. She did not confirm what precinct the others reside.
She added the precinct is meeting with their parents and will have youth mentors speak with the children.
“I’ve dealt with these kids myself and most of them are good kids,” she said. “I take this situation seriously and we’re going to scare them straight.”