Lawmaker Says Motorcycles (or bicycles) don’t belong in his County

Lawmaker says bikes and motorcycles should not be allowed in Suffolk Co New Jersey

Lawmaker says bikes and motorcycles should not be allowed in Suffolk Co New York. (previously incorrectly identified as New Jersey)

Thomas F. Barraga (R-West Islip) says people should ride bikes at all in Suffolk County New York because "Suffolk County is a suburban automobile community -- drivers expect to see other drivers on the road, not bicyclists and motorcyclists."  

The anti-motorcycle/bicycle legislator made those remarks in response to a high school senior who wrote to him as a part of a government class assignment.  The 17 year old, Matthew Cutrone, wrote to Barraga requesting "some sort of bike lane or maybe even warning signs in certain areas of the county" after his mother was hit by the driver of a van turning left in front of her.

After Barraga's callous response lit up social media and prompted a ton of angry responses, the legislator said he's standing by his remarks.  "I'm not going to tell them what they want to hear, a lot of fluff," he said in an interview. "I tell them the truth."   Barraga said he advises all his constituents not to take up bicycling because of the risk. "They usually do not listen -- 90 percent of these people eventually were hit by an automobile, many like your mother with serious physical injuries," Barraga wrote in the letter to Cutrone.

His office could not provide the source for the statistics Barraga cited.  The text of the letters are below.

*in an earlier version of this story, Suffolk County is incorrectly identified as being in New Jersey.


Matthew Cutrone's letter to Legis. Thomas Barraga

Letter to Matthew Cutrone


Web Staff


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  7. maybe if the state started slamming drivers with REAL fines and triple their insurance they will open their damn eyes and pay attention to what the hell they are doing!!! I ride a motorcycle, my kids ride motorcycles and my grandkids ride a motorcycles, and we all grew up riding bicycles!!! Get your head out of your ass and get a grip on reality!! Or maybe you're getting some kickbacks from big oil companies, pushing gas guzzling vehicles. That's the only explanation I can think of, or you're just plain stupid!!!:@

  8. Sadly, he does have a point, some vehicles aren't suitable for the roads. While I am always very attentive when driving around bicyclists and have never hit one, there have been a couple incidents where they have fallen off their bicycles in front of me and then into my lane and it was only because i was attentive that i didn't slaughter them…

    It simply isn't safe or sane for bicycles and automobiles to share the same roads. The riders are too exposed, bicycles offer zero protection in a collision with an automobile, and with all the distractions that are already affecting drivers… it is guaranteed that people are going to die.

    When i ride my bicycle i stay the hell away from busy roads. It may be a slight inconvenience to me but me riding my bicycle on a busy road is an inconvenience to everyone else and could possibly end my life.

    A solution is needed to this problem but that solution is not "bike lanes"…

  9. This guy probably thinks he a great driver as he's cutting you off at a freeway exit.

  10. Extremely narrow minded. It's amazing how someoine like him could get elected. Those are the kind of people who need to go. Recall if necessary.

  11. Sir,
    What you cite as a warning to all your voters in your district is nothing short of PREJUDICE against people who choose to travel by fuel efficient or non-fuel vehicles. HOW DARE YOU!!! You sir deserve to be IMPEACHED for LYING on your registration for occupancy of office, which states that you will represent your voters EQUALLY AND FAIRLY for the duration of your term, and believe me, YOU'VE WRITTEN YOUR OWN TICKET OUT OF OFFICE, YOU ARE ALMOST THE BIGGEST FOOL IN GOVERNMENT….

    To the young man and his mother,
    Please contact the local ABATE motorcycle group in your area to receive help with representation and counseling about what can be done against the person who hit your mother and this idiot in government.

  12. Not everyone can afford a car. So why shouldnt u be ablr to ride a motorcycle or bikecycle if they want to.

  13. First and foremost I’d like to extend my greatest sympathies to the young man who’s mother was hit and was injured by an inattentive motorist.

    Second. I’m not sure how to say or express my concerns for this legislative idiots lack of compassion, or education. But what I can say is to the residents of suffulk county. Remember he is an elected official, hired by you, to represent you, and can be fired BY YOU!! As an avid outdoor enthusiast, a bicycle rider and a motorcycle rider I am appalled by his ignorance.

  14. Maybe people should only drive tanks in Jersey. They could also avoid being shot since its gun free.

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