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Backpacks Banned for Five Boro Bike Tour Riders After Boston Bombings

By Ben Fractenberg | April 26, 2013 2:19pm

NEW YORK CITY — If you're planning to ride in the Five Boro Bike Tour on May 5, you'll have to leave your backpack behind.

The 36th annual 40-mile bike tour, which will attract an estimated 32,000 cyclists, is banning backpacks, saddlebags and hydration packs for riders in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, according to Five Boro's website.

Riders will still be able to bring water bottles, fanny packs and small bike frame bags, organizers said.

"As the 36th TD Five Boro Bike Tour approaches, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Boston as they recover from the terrible events of April 15, 2013," the organizers wrote in an email.

"The number one priority of the TD Five Boro Bike Tour has always been and will always be the safety and security of our riders, volunteers and spectators."

Organizers said they wanted to dissuade spectators from bringing backpacks as well, but did not have control over that situation because it is a public event.

NYPD officials could not immediately comment on whether spectators would be prohibited from having bags along the route, but said they may make an announcement about security measures as the race gets closer.

The suspects in the Boston bombings transported homemade bombs to points near the finish line using backpacks. They were not participants in the race and detonated the explosives among spectators.

Race organizers said there will be checkpoints throughout the course to enforce the regulations and potentially confiscate bags.

But some people questioned the logic behind the ban.

"It doesn't make any sense, because anyone watching the race could wear a backpack. That's the real threat. Someone on a bicycle isn't going to pull off what the boston bombers did unless they're planning a suicide bomb," sokpuppet1 wrote on Reddit Friday.

"What are they going to do, stop in the middle of the race, put down their backpack in full view of everyone else in the middle of the road and then bike away?"

In another change this year, the Finish Festival on Staten Island will be limited to riders and volunteers, Five Boro officials said.