By Hugh O’Brien
We’re gonna get started on a serious note this time because we have your safety in mind and you’ll listen if we have to beat it into you. No, really, there’ve been lots of bicycle-related issues this summer that have gotten a little out of hand, and late in the season though it may be, it’s never too late to prevent an accident or to be courteous to others. So, a few bike (and bike-ish) rules and regs you really should observe.
Do not ride more people on a bike than it’s designed to carry – meaning, no one on the frame, the fender, the handlebars, the front basket, the rear basket, anyplace. This is an accident waiting to happen – in fact, it has happened, several times. It’s very dangerous. Don’t do it.
Use a flashlight when riding at night. Be courteous to others and don’t park multiple bikes for long periods at the dock bike racks. No riding on the docks. No speeding. Remember that scooters, skateboards and motorized bicycles are not permitted in Saltaire. Obey Public Safety officers. If they ask you to dismount your bike, please do so and don’t yield to the old Saltaire tradition of jumping back on when you’re half a block away. (Yeah, like this request will work!)
And one last thing: riding or walking, please stop and step completely out of the way when emergency vehicles are coming down the street. Don’t race us to the corner, keep on going as though there wasn’t a three-ton truck barreling toward you, or stand out on the walk assuming we, or more specifically the rearview mirrors, will squeeze by you. The walks aren’t that wide, and meanwhile patients and fires await.
These are common sense rules that exist for your own safety and that of others. Naturally, people being people – even highly educated, law-abiding people like the residents of Saltaire – some few will lightly dismiss such cautions and believe themselves too skilled, smart, wealthy or important to have to worry about such things. That’s okay. We have officers ready to give you a summons, a ruthless judge eager to administer rogue justice and, if need be, EMTs in a brand new ambulance ready to rush you to hospital after you lose an unsought game of Boardwalk Chicken … provided, of course, we can “rush” past all those uncooperative pedestrians. So to paraphrase one president, “Go ahead, make our day.” Or, to paraphrase another, “No collision!”
Sorry for the hectoring tone, but Hector refused to say anything so it was left to me, as Trustee for Public Safety and Receiver of Angry Complaints and Bops on the Head, to step up and vent about the matter. All of us have to help with this one.
Now, a re- and pre-cap: We had our annual fireworks gala on the Fourth of August, which must be independence day somewhere. (I checked – not quite, but it was Burkina Faso re-naming day, so, like, close enough.) The post-picnic display featured happy face designs and extra splashy colors that recreated the harnessed power of an exploding planetary system, all from the safety of your own blanket … speaking of which, this year the village wasn’t blanketed by windborne incendiaries from the display, which basically looked like someone had scorched a bunch of empty toilet paper rolls and tossed them out of a speeding bicycle, another bike thing you shouldn’t do by the way. Anyway, the forecast rains threatened the first part of the Music & Arts Festival that morning, so with characteristic Saltaire foresight the artisan show and market lunch were postponed to sunny Sunday while the rest went on as scheduled, post-deluge Saturday. A week later, the 20th Perlberger Soccer Cup (initially delayed by yet another downpour) was still being played amidst the mud’n’blood of the sodden field as this piece was being sent out for a quick press, so read the results here in a timely two weeks. Don’t forget the Jogathon this weekend, Aug. 18-19: registration Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at the gazebo, races Sunday starting at 9 a.m. Farther afield, as Labor Day rears its mournful countenance, the Fire Company’s second pancake breakfast spins off Sunday, Sept. 2, from 8 a.m. to ‘round about 11. As I said, foresight is integral to this place.
Just to complain about things over which we have no control, when that Aug. 4 storm was approaching, the satellite dish went out due to weather- related interference a good 11 hours before the thing even hit us. There were stars in the sky but none on TV. Now, I appreciate the myriad entertainment choices rained upon us by the miracle of beeping ash cans whizzing overhead, but it must be said that in the era when TVs relied on rabbit ears we never lost every channel as we do now – especially from a small squall 1,300 miles away. Back in the primitive ‘70s and ‘80s, when night fell and the ionosphere closed up, we’d get not only New York but channels from Philadelphia, Providence, Hartford, Bridgeport, Springfield, even as far as Baltimore, Charlotte, Richmond and beyond. Heck, I got stations located in Jackson (Mississippi), St. Louis, Des Moines, even a test pattern (remember those?) from Winnipeg and the six o’clock news from Montreal, which was just as depressing as the news in English but sounded much more sophisticated. Now a storm down in Myrtle Beach knocks out everything except, as luck would have it, Dr. Ho Relieves Back Pain and channel 5. Progress? Au contraire, as they say in Montreal. Technology! The mere threat of rain and the phone goes out, the TV goes out, the radio goes out, the internet goes out, and where does that leave us? Guess we’ll have to go out.