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Confrontation Between NH Police Chief And Bicyclists Caught On Camera

By Michael Rosenfield, WBZ-TV
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WBZ-TV's Michael Rosenfield Michael Rosenfield
Michael Rosenfield is the New Hampshire Bureau Chief for CBS Boston’s...
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RYE, NH (CBS) —- A pack of bicyclists racing down Ocean Boulevard in Rye, New Hampshire raced right past Rye Police Chief Kevin Walsh who was telling them to stop.

Video of the incident was apparently taken by one of the bicyclists and uploaded to YouTube.

“What they’re doing is racing,” said the chief. “What they’re doing is competitive bike riding.”

And the chief says it is just too dangerous and illegal.

On state roads, Walsh says two cyclists can ride side by side and then single file when traffic is coming, but says this group was up to five across.

“It was clear they saw there was a police officer attempting to stop them,” said Walsh. “They used inappropriate language, rode through me, I understand they can’t brake fast, they should have stopped but they didn’t, they kept on riding.”

After the cyclists passed by and did not stop, the chief says he got into his cruiser, drove four miles to catch up with them, and then a confrontation took place.

Part of the confrontation could be heard on the video.

“You almost killed somebody back there,” one of the bicyclists said to the chief. “Standing in the middle of the road.

Do you understand we can’t stop? Do you understand we can’t stop like a car?”

The chief could be heard responding, “One of the things I have asked of your group…the group that you got, break it out into 5 guys and stagger your start times.”

Bicyclists Kevin Tonkin and Doug Bennett were part of the larger group of bikers that started out together, but were well behind the lead pack when the incident with the chief took place.

They acknowledge sometimes the rules of the road are broken.

“It does get to be an obstruction on the roads,” said Tonkin. “Motorists may have to wait a moment to find a clear spot to pass and such but it seems pretty safe.”

But given this latest incident, they say the group has just gotten too big and the weekly rides are over for now.

“We’re going to take a break from the ride to let things simmer down,” said Bennett.

Nobody was ticketed, and the bike group says the men involved in the altercation will not be part of the group once it reforms.

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