"My personal feeling is that no one who lives in our hamlet or for that matter in Suffolk County should ever ride a bicycle or a motorcycle," Barraga wrote in the letter, which was first reported by Newsday. "I cannot tell you how many constituents over the years have told me that they are taking up bicycling for pleasure and exercise. I have told them not to do so but they usually do not listen."
Barraga went on to claim "90 percent" of the people who told him they were "taking up bicycling" were subsequently "hit by an automobile."
"Suffolk County is a suburban automobile community -- drivers expect to see other drivers on the road not bicyclists and motorcyclists," wrote Barraga.
Seventeen-year-old West Islip High School senior Matthew Cutrone told Newsday he sent Barraga the letter late last year as part of an assignment for a government class where students were asked to write officials about issues they are passionate about. Cutrone's mother was seriously injured in a bicycle accident in September.
"Reality at time can be difficult for some to come to grips with but giving false hope would be inappropriate," Barraga wrote.