Cyclists say neighbor makes road dangerous

A group of cyclists is furious with a man who owns property along a road frequented by bike riders because they claim he is doing dangerous things to throw them off course.

For years, the long winding road along Alligator Bayou in St. Gabriel has been a popular place to peddle. For some, like Matt Boudreaux, it is the only spot.

"It's peaceful and quiet and the roads are safer than the regular highways," Matt Boudreaux said.

Boudreaux said drivers will occassionally give him and his cycling companions a horn or a holler. But, it is nothing compared to what the athletes said they encounter when they pass in front of a particular house on Manchac Road.

"There has been signs, saw "no cycling" signs," Boudreaux said.

Boudreaux said he has seen them among the "keep out" and "no trespassing" signs posted out front. Some cyclists said they have recently been greeted with guns and broken bottles scattered all over the road.

"He does target practice, away from the road. He's done it when I was riding before. We have to slow down. We have to move out of the way, watch what we do because our tires are skinny and they can get messed up,' Boudreaux said.

"We can get a flat tire and fall," cyclist, Paula Sandmatsu said.

The property owner, who identified himself as "Mr. Harelson," denied doing anything that would jeopardize the safety of the cyclists. He said he and his neighbors are victims themselves.

"There seems to be a problem with destruction of property and I don't know who's doing it," Harelson explained. "My neighbor's car got shot. We are in a neighborhood watch mode. Everybody is watching out for each other."

The cyclists just want to be shown a little respect.

"This is a parish or state road. I don't think they have legality of stopping us from riding. We have just as much right on the road as they do," Boudreaux said.

"That's the only place we have to ride here and there are a lot of cyclists in the area. So, it's not very nice," Sandmatsu added.

The Iberville Parish Sheriff's Office is looking into the allegations.

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