Cracking down on rowdy bike race fans
MANAYUNK - June 3, 2011 (WPVI) -- The TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championships will be held Sunday, and that means there will be quite a party. It also means that law enforcement will be trying to keep things from getting out of control.
Racers like Sarah Iepson say they love the crowds who line the streets for Philadelphia's annual bike race.
"Everybody's just out there having a great time, and it's wonderful for us to get the kind of support that we get on that day," she said.
But as cyclists like Sarah prepare to battle the Manayunk Wall on Sunday, neighbors along the route are gearing up for a fight of their own against unlawful, drunken behavior.
"There's excessive drinking which leads to litter, to vandalism, to fights," said Don Simon of Roxborough.
"There are problems with urinating behind people's gardens and in people's yards and people getting sick because they can't control the alcohol," said Jane Lipton of the Manayunk Development Corporation.
Kevin Smith says he sees similar issues just about every weekend, when the bars on Main Street let out.
"The bike race is just a more public daytime event - excuse, opportunity - to throw big parties and double-down on everything that happens on the weekends," he said.
To help alleviate the problem, police say on race day they are going to keep an eye on houses that have been trouble spots. And they have started a night court at the 5th Police District Headquarters. But Smith says that isn't enough.
"The court runs from 8:00 p.m. to midnight, so that does not correspond with the time of the problems. The problems are really from 1:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. or Sunday during the race," he said.
Neighbors tell me in addition to posting signs reminding people to behave themselves, they will be out on race day with their video cameras, recording any violations.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, who says the cycling championship is a great showcase for the city, hopes those who overindulge will get the message.
"We want to send a message out," Nutter told Action News. "Have a good time. Don't be an idiot."
philadelphia, pennsylvania, manayunk, roxborough, local/state, amy buckman
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