A group of 75 cyclists sneak onto the Alaskan Way Viaduct for a night ride. “We’ve been wanting to do it since they closed it ... It was like, now or never,” a bicyclist said.
About 75 cyclists Thursday night realized the dreams of many pedalheads: A relatively flat, wide-open ride through downtown Seattle, with stunning views of Puget Sound and not a car in sight.
No, Seattle doesn’t have a sexy new bike lane. The cyclists, during their weekly group ride as the Point 83 bicycle club, sneaked onto the Alaskan Way Viaduct, which is closed — to all modes of transportation — as a precaution while tunnel-boring machine Berthachurns beneath the sensitive structure.
“We’ve been wanting to do it since they closed it,” said a Point 83 member who did not want to share a name because of professional concerns.
The group never has a set destination in mind for its weekly rides, the person said. “Last night, we were in West Seattle and it was like, now or never, and we got on the viaduct and rode north and it was great.”
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Most of the riders went all the way through the Battery Street tunnel, the Point 83 member said, but four exited on Bell Street and were stopped by police, who were apparently notified by a construction worker that some cyclists were riding the closed roadway.
“She (the officer who stopped the group) was honestly pretty cool about it,” the Point 83 member said. “We got lectured and they let us go.”
One rider got a ticket for not wearing a helmet.
“It’s a totally protected bike lane through the city,” the Point 83 member said. “The cops were like, ‘That’s really unsafe.’ Actually, it’s way safer than going down the street. There were no cars up there.”
Officials with The Washington State Department of Transportation said Friday that Seattle police will be on the roadway throughout the weekend, enforcing the closure.
“We want to remind everyone that the viaduct is currently closed to vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians.” spokeswoman Laura Newborn said in an email.