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Local doctors recommend county postpone Bicycle Sundays on BRP

Dear Editor: Last week the Greenburgh Medical Advisory Committee made up of local Greenburgh Doctors unanimously recommended that the county postpone Bicycle Sundays. The concern: Cyclists wouldn’t practice social distancing and some people without masks could infect others. They were right. I recognize that county leaders share concerns for public safety. Although I did not ride my bicycle on the parkway today, I rode on side roads and took photo of cyclists biking at different locations off of the parkway. . Based on my personal observations there were significant incidents of failure to socially distance (see attached photo’s) and I estimated that 15-20% of the cyclists did not wear masks. AMONG PROBLEMS- On Main Street in White Plains the county police required bicyclists to stop every few minutes so cars could drive on Main Street into White Plains. Some of the cyclists weren’t wearing masks. If a bicyclist was forced to stop social distancing is impossible. All the bicycle riders were much less than six feet away from each other while waiting to cross the street. AN OUTDOOR SNACK STOP- At the Main Street Parkway outdoor snack location--bicycle riders were not practicing social distancing. PEOPLE STOP AT THE HILL NEAR FISHER AVE IN WHITE PLAINS -Some cyclists stopped at the bottom or top hill as they approached White Plains creating social distancing problems and potential for infection IF THE COUNTY CHOOSES TO CONTINUE TO ALLOW BICYCLE SUNDAYS DURING PANDEMIC • the police should not stop cyclists at the White Plains/Main Street crossing or at the Scarsdale/Eastchester border. When cyclists stop for a few minutes waiting for traffic to cross the parkway the bicyclists can’t social distance. I worry - if even a small segment of cyclists infect others when participating in Bicycle Sunday’s - there is a great risk that some people can get sick or even die. That’s why we close schools, businesses, restaurants, cancel proms, work from home. Bicycle Sunday is a fun activity. Was it premature to hold it? I love Bicycle Sunday’s. And, came up with the idea over 46 years ago. I think holding this event during a pandemic sends mixed messages to the community that the pandemic is over. Most people who participated in Bicycle Sunday’s had a fantastic time. I hope some don’t get sick. PAUL FEINER Greenburgh Town Supervisor Dear Editor: I am a cyclist. Bicycle Sundays was my concept over 45 years ago. It was my first entry into politics. Sadly, I must recommend that this year’s Bicycle Sundays be postponed. There are two reasons. First, the Governor’s NYS PAUSE 10-point Plan requires the following: - #2: Non-essential gatherings of any size for any reason be cancelled or postponed - #3: Any concentration of individuals outside their home must be limited to providing essential services - #6: Outdoor recreational activities where individuals come in close contact with each other should be avoided. The Governor has extended NYS PAUSE until May 15. Bicycle Sundays would not meet the above requirements of NYS PAUSE. Second, the medical advisory committee of prestigious local doctors and other medical professionals has advised me that from a public health perspective it would be inadvisable for Bicycle Sundays to proceed at this time. The committee’s memorandum is below. Residents have inquired about this. Since Bicycle Sunday would normally start on the upcoming Sunday, May 3, your attention to this matter is of some urgency, both in terms of complying with the Governor’s directives and public health of Westchester residents. PAUL J. FEINER TOWN SUPERVISOR Memorandum to Town Supervisor Re Bicycle Sundays: Staying healthy is important during this crisis. Exercise and being outside is part of a healthy regime. However, the benefits must not outweigh the negatives, particularly the risk of contracting COVID-19. The medical advisory committee is concerned that, at this point in time, the risks associated with Bicycle Sundays outweigh the benefits. Public health literature advises that those exercising outdoors maintain at least a 6-foot distance to reduce risk. But it is impractical for bicyclists on the Bronx River Parkway to maintain a 6-foot minimum physical distance. Wearing masks is of course useful. But wearing masks doesn’t mean that physical distancing should not be maintained, as different masks have different degrees of efficiency. Additionally, wearing a mask, particularly when one is exercising, can cause glasses to fog up, increasing the risk of accidents. April 26, 2020 Medical Advisory Committee: Maura Frank, MD, Committee Chair Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics Weill Cornell Medicine Medical Director, New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Pediatric Practice (Retired 7/19) David Kudlowitz, MD, Assistant Professor, Dept of Medicine NYU Internal Medicine Associates, NYU Langone Health Marc Richmond, MD, MS Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Cardiology Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York Columbia University Iris Schlesinger, MD New York Medical College - Westchester Medical Center (Retired) Nitin Gupta, MD Rivertowns Pediatrics Dongming Cai, MD, PhD Associate Professor of Neurology Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Jitanda Barmecha MD, MPH, SFHM, FACP Associate Professor of Medicine, CUNY School of Medicine SBH Health System, Bronx, NY Nicole Park, FNP, CDCES CareMount Medical

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