“Someone’s Going to Get Hurt”

by Chris Wangler

March 29, 2023

As traffic officials consider another Moody Street shutdown, councilor-at-large Randy LeBlanc has filed a resolution to explore how police could deal with a small number of cyclists who have caused trouble.

“There appears to be a group of kids that ride wheelies up and down among all the pedestrians and diners,” he told the city council on Monday. 

“We have plenty of elderly people down there. Someone’s going to get hurt.” 

LeBlanc, who noticed the problem first-hand last summer, wants the council to investigate what Waltham Police can do to address the problem, as there is no ordinance for the pedestrian zone.

A number of incidents were reported last summer.

In one of several on August 11, 2022, a number of male youth cyclists entered a Moody Street restaurant and were prevented from using the bathroom.

The ensuing fracas disrupted a peaceful night and led a respected Waltham businessman to intervene. One witness said afterward she worried for her safety.

For the most part, the Moody closure has been warmly embraced by cyclists, such as retired firefighter Steve Lydon and his wife, shown in June 2020.

Randy LeBlanc told the council that his bike safety resolution has nothing to do with the majority of cyclists on Moody or elsewhere in the city.

“It’s just the reckless ones in the pedestrian zone when they’re dining,” LeBlanc said. “It’s not to prevent people from riding their bikes up and down Moody Street even when it’s closed.”

Ten of fifteen city councilors signed on to LeBlanc’s resolution, which was referred to the council’s Ordinances and Rules Committee. The goal would be to create a new bike safety operation ordinance. 

Although the resolution pertains only to the Moody pedestrian zone, the issue extends further. 

Over the last year, cyclists have repeatedly swerved in front of moving cars on Moody, Main and other streets.

After a close call in September, one Waltham Facebook user said, “Stop the madness and say something to these kids. They almost hit me while I was driving. I had the baby and everyone in the car. This is more than let the kids play, it’s now a safety concern for us drivers on the road.”