Hose ramp takes bicyclist down

A crack in the ramp at Five Corners sent a cyclist tumbling on Thursday. - Rich Saltzberg

A bicyclist went down crossing the Beach Road hose ramp at Five Corners in Vineyard Haven in the late morning on May 13. Two people who were bicycling with him, who declined to provide their names but said they were visiting the Island from Falmouth and Washington, said a fissure in the ramp seized their friend’s tire and caused him to crash. Tisbury EMS and police arrived on scene quickly. The bicyclist was evaluated in an ambulance. One of his friends said he appeared to be OK. A Massachusetts State Trooper also responded to the scene from a nearby work detail. 

The hose ramp serves to protect pump hoses that extend from a gas station jobsite to the edge of Vineyard Haven Harbor. A local Citgo station is in the process of replacing underground fuel tanks. The process requires constant water removal. Gummed-up drainage infrastructure prevented the contractor from running the pump hose beneath the road. The hose ramp has been the source of friction between the town of Tisbury, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, and Drake Petroleum Co., the owner of the gas station. The select board warned Drake Petroleum Co. that the ramp must be removed by the Wednesday before Memorial Day weekend. There have been numerous problems since the project began, including some cars bottoming out on the ramp when it was first installed.


  1. It is beyond my comprehension that this fiasco was allowed to happen. What a mess! All for Citgo to continue to operate? They should have had to spend the money to do the work properly without this disruption.

  2. I feel bad that a biker had an accident, and I hope he or she is not badly hurt.
    It makes sense to walk one’s bike around The Thing.
    That way I also stay out of the way of cars navigating Five Corners and The Thing.
    Bikers need to exercise judgment as to when it is safer to dismount and walk.

  3. The universe seems to be correcting itself. Maybe a sign should be posted telling bikers to walk across the bump since they are not smart enough on their own to do so.

  4. This is just such a sad story, but I am grateful that the biker was not a fatality, thinking back to that horrific accident of the mother whose bike mishap landed her under the wheels of a passing trailer. Why is this taking sooo long? The drainage along Beach Road is such a frequent issue, that delays in upkeep (let alone planning for a rise in the oceans by up to some feet in coming decades) for which both the Town and the State DOT have some responsibility, are just beyond disappointing. The fact that this private landowner who runs an essential service and needed to meet environmental regulations due to tanks that clearly are living in ground water (possibly saltwater?), could not simply pump into the existing highway storm water system due to failure of the same is what led to this very difficult situation. The land use planning on these types of infrastructure has been extremely poor over the prior decades. About 10 years ago, I’m told, the MV Commission refused to permit a gas station to be built at the site of where Cape Cod 5¢ Bank is on State Road near Cronigs due to “traffic concerns” (all while the then existing and still continuing situation in Tisbury is that in order to fuel up in Tisbury, one must run the gauntlet of 5 corners further putting pressure on that usually failed and critical intersection – where was the real traffic concern?) and an expressed concern that the new gas station would serve to undermine the business of existing fuel retailers up-island and in Tisbury (the real concern was that the new and better location might sell fuel cheaper and could put the existing gas stations in Tisbury and up-island, out of business!). This very stupid and poorly conceived decision means that Tisbury’s ONLY 2 fueling stations are and for the foreseeable future will continue to be located in the landfilled area of Beach Road where sea level rise is already showing it’s mighty impact (flooding of Beach Road, washing away of the road across from Vineyard Scrips). I’m told that such an unwise location for this strategic infrastructure was evident even as far back as 1991 when Hurricane Bob, followed by the “No Name” storm, and then followed again by another direct hit nor-easter each about 2 months apart, repeatedly and successively destroyed the fueling dock extending from what is now West Marine, leading to the then owner to have to sell out at a huge loss. Universally wise planning by our island wide Regional Planning Agency has been lacking in favor of protecting parochial interests. If you are liked, you get a permit or protected from someone else getting a permit. This is purely politics being played under the guise of “transparent” government. Back room deals around this island are a HUGE issue. Given the present situation, without relocation funding, and a willingness to let infrastructure be located more wisely, these stations unfortunately are stuck where they are.

    • One of the most insightful and intelligent comments I’ve seen. Something I learned long ago about the MV Commission is that for the most part their minds are made up before any hearings are held. The hearings themselves are an excuse to add conditions to something that was always going to be approved or to come up with reasons to deny a project that was never going to be approved no matter what the petitioner comes up with.

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