2007-10-25 / News

Jamestown Rotary bike race draws resident concerns; councilor rebuffs

By Tom Shevlin

As Jamestown's Rotary bike race continues to grow in popularity, at least one island resident is hoping that the annual race runs out of steam.

In a letter addressed to the town council, Nancy Cloud of Beavertail Road expressed her frustrations over the growing popularity, and corresponding inconvenience, of the rotary's annual bike race and asked that the race be suspended.

Writing to councilors, Cloud asserts, "I am held captive at my Beavertail home for the duration of the race, because leaving my driveway is perilous. In addition, driving on the island is impossible, as the racers assume they own the road and pay no attention to traffic."

Among her other concerns, Cloud complains that "downtown is basically shut down for the day," causing losses for merchants and shoppers alike, "numerous accidents occurred," and as "a professional event, the Rotary just does not have the expertise to govern and monitor this caliber of event."

Councilor Michael Schnack disagreed. Schnack, a member of the Jamestown Rotary, responded to Cloud's allegations in kind.

To Cloud's assertion that island roads are not navigable, Schnack contended that the rotary employs the service of traffic controllers and that "the roads are passable." Over accident concerns, Schnack pointed out that all cyclists were required to sign waivers before participating in the event, adding that if they didn't "we wouldn't have bike races anywhere." Regarding parking headaches for island residents, Schnack said that the rotary has made efforts to get bikers off the street, including gaining permission from several private property owners, such as St. Matthew's Church, to use their parking lots and plans on adding additional off-street lots in coming years. On expertise, Schnack noted that the rotary pays for several United States Cycling Federation (USCF) certified officials to monitor the event.

Council Vice President Julio Di- Giando added that he understands Cloud's concerns, and expressed a hope that the next council will address the issue in a broader discussion regarding on-island events that may draw significant off-island crowds.

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