Keeping in mind that “perfect” is not the same thing as “appropriate,” “good,” or “smart,” a legislator in Suffolk County has a perfect solution for the problem of cyclists getting hurt on the local roads: Nobody ride a bicycle or motorcycle, ever. It is true that there would be zero bicycling injuries if people stopped riding bicycles. There would also be zero car crashes if people stopped driving. And yet Legislator Thomas F. Barraga says nothing, in his letter to a teenager whose mother was hit by a van and injured on her bicycle, about everybody stopping driving. Because that would be ridiculous. As ridiculous as Barraga’s letter.
Matthew Cutrone, a 17-year-old from West Islip, wrote to Barraga asking for bike lanes to be installed on local roads after a van hit his mother, Sandy Cutrone, while she was riding, breaking her scapula and bumping her head. “On the day she was hit, she was biking on Montauk Highway, the traffic light was green, but because the driver must have been in a hurry he jumped the on coming traffic to make a left turn and hit my mother claiming he never saw her,” Cultrone wrote, according to CBS New York.
Barraga was, um, less than sympathetic in his reply:
I have lived in West Islip most of my life and my personal feeling is that no one who lives in our hamlet or for that matter in Suffolk County should ever ride a bicycle or motorcycle. I cannot tell you how many constituents over the years have told me that they are taking up bicycling for pleasure and exercise. I have told them not to do so but they usually do not listen – 90 percent of those people eventually were hit by an automobile many like your mother with serious physical injuries.
Bike lanes and signage, Barraga went on to say, “would do little to solve the problem” because Suffolk is a “suburban automobile community” and drivers expect to see other drivers. Got it kid? So if you or your mother get hit by a car while riding a bicycle in Suffolk county, regardless of what the driver did, know that at least one member of the county government figures that’s your own damn fault.
“Reality at time can be difficult for some to come to grips with but giving false hope would be inappropriate,” Barraga concludes. In other words, go screw yourself.
Sandy Cutrone posted a photo of Barraga’s insulting letter on her Facebook page. where she notes that, ironically, she now cannot drive because her vision is still blurred from the concussion. Take it in, in all its snide glory: