After receiving numerous calls from concerned residents, the New York State Police began taking steps this summer to crack down on motorcyclists speeding on the Meadowbrook and Southern State Parkways.
At a Sept. 26 meeting of the South Merrick Civic Association, State Troopers Raoul Allen and Howard Thomas explained that police received a government grant to place more officers at checkpoints along the parkways to apprehend speeding motorcyclists.
“We want to stop them and write tickets,” said Allen, explaining that some drivers accelerate to 100 miles per hour when they see a police officer. Allen added, “But we don’t want them to fall and die — or hurt someone else.”
Joe Baker, the president of the civic association, said that he believes that most motorcyclists do not cause concern. He, instead, cited a specific kind of motorcycle called a Kawasaki, which he asserted is responsible for most of the noise pollution and speeding. “They turn the parkways into raceways at night,” he added.
Regardless of what kind of motorcycle, since June, there have been three reported fatalities involving a motorcyclist driving on the Southern State and Meadowbrook Parkways.
On July 26, a 2013 Suzuki motorcycle collided with the rear of a 2011 GMC Terrain on the Southern State Parkway. The motorcycle operator Christopher Helstowski, 40, of West Babylon, was ejected from his vehicle and transported to Nassau University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
On Aug. 5, a 2016 BMW motorcycle collided with the rear of a 2012 Ford Escape on the Meadowbrook Parkway. The motorcycle operator Anthony Geslak, 28 of Hicksville, was also ejected and pronounced dead.
Finally, on Aug. 27, a 2013 Yamaha motorcycle collided with the rear of a 2012 Hyundai Elantra on the Southern State Parkway. The operator Elliot Estrada, Jr., 26, of Ronkonkoma, was ejected, struck by a 2003 Ford Crown Victoria Taxi and pronounced dead at the scene.
One woman at the civic association meeting said that the sound of the motorcyclists accelerating is so loud that it wakes her up in the middle of the night. She suggested banning motorcycles from driving on the parkways at a certain hour, but Trooper Thomas, who is also a motorcyclist, called the idea “unfair.”
Another resident at the meeting asked the troopers if building a raceway on Long Island would help curb the issue. While this could help, Howard Thomas said, “I think some of them get the thrill of speeding long distances.”
Both Allen and Thomas concluded by letting residents know that they are working toward cracking down on speeding motorcyclists, while preventing future accidents. Those who witness speeding or any other traffic infraction can call New York State Troop L at (631) 756 3300 and ask for traffic.