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