MATTAPOISETT — The Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen has denied a request by the Reservation Golf Club to close a gate that would limit access to the Road Reservation bike path entrance, citing public safety concerns.
At a meeting Tuesday, Sept. 13, the Reservation Golf Club board asked the city to close the gate because of the safety hazards posed by bicycles traveling through an active golf course. Closing the gate would also prevent people from parking in the club’s private car park.
According to Select Board member Tyler Macallister, the gate must remain open to allow emergency vehicles to enter the bike path if someone using the path is injured or needs help.
“Slowly but surely, we will come to a solution to this, but I think closing the gate is probably our least best option,” Macallister said.
Golf course booking treasurer Paul Coutinho said that while “[the bike path] it’s great for Mattapoisett,” came with unintended consequences for the golf club.
In July, the newest part of the bike path leading from Neck Road to Reservation Road was opened, allowing cyclists to cross the Mattapoisett River.
Coutinho stated that since the opening of that section of the trail, many out-of-town bicyclists are traveling on the Reservation Road at reckless speeds, putting themselves at risk of being hit by errant golf balls.
“We don’t want to be perceived as golfers being bad,” Coutinho said. “There’s more to what’s going on than just one or two bikes.”
He added that visitors from Worcester, South Boston and Fall River are driving down the street and using the club’s private parking lot.
Macallister said that although the gate will not be closed, cyclists going down Reservation Road are doing so at their own risk and could be hit by golf balls.
The city will work with the Mattapoisett Police Department to install temporary flashing signs on Reservation Road to inform out-of-town bicyclists that there is no parking available along the road.
“We’re trying to get people to not drive or park down there. That’s the first goal,” said Macallister. “The second goal is obviously to reduce the amount of bikes on the road.”
Macallister explained that while locals may read or hear about issues with biking on Reservation Street, out-of-towners will benefit from the signage.
“With the bike path in general, it’s going to take some incremental effort to figure out how we can handle the influx of people who are going to use it,” Macallister said.