Dan Moser's column this week announces his departure as Florida Bicycle Association's Program Director. Thanks to Dan for his hard work on statewide bike/ped safety issues on behalf of FBA over the past 16 years! He will continue to be involved on the state level as a member of FBA's advisory board, and he encourages everyone to join FBA.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Candidates for BoCC have responded to Lee Public Voice's questionnaire. Click here to read what the candidates are saying about issues we care about, and don't forget to vote in the August 26th primary.
Lee Public Voice (LPV) is a network of civic, community planning and environmental organizations whose goal is to ensure that Lee County government pursues policies that contribute to the long-term benefit of the citizens of Lee County and that those policies are decided in an open and accountable manner. BikeWalkLee is an active participant in this network of organizations.
Rather than preparing a BikeWalkLee-specific candidate questionnaire as we did in 2010 and 2012, we have participated in the development of this broader questionnaire. While there are no specific questions about complete streets, the questions posed reflect BikeWalkLee's overarching goals of good governance and high quality of life standards.
Lee Public Voice developed a Candidate Questionnaire that focused on the following important issues:
- impact fees
- land conservation
- budget decisions and priorities
- community planning
- Lee Plan/2035 Horizon/land use
- transparency and citizen input
- the County's big picture.
All six candidates completed the questionnaire. The candidate responses are organized so that you can easily compare the positions of the competing candidates on each of the important issues that were raised with them. (Click here)
This year, two of the county commission seats are up for election, with multiple candidates for each seat in the August 26th primary election. Specifically, in District 2, a seat currently held by Cecil Pendergrass, there is no general election opponent so whoever wins the primary will become the commissioner from District 2. In District 4, a seat currently held by Brian Hamman, there are three primary opponents and the winner of the Republican primary will compete against the one Democratic candidate in the general election in November.
Don't forget to register to vote by July 28th, request your vote by mail ballot, and then VOTE!!
Click here for the responses from all six candidates.
- In order to vote in this important primary election all Florida residents must be registered no later than July 28th. (click here for an application)
- If you're already registered to vote, you can now request a "vote by mail" ballot (call-239-533-8683 or click here)
- If you've already requested an vote by mail ballot, look for it in your mail this week.
- Early voting
will be held from August 16-23rd. To
vote in person on August 26th, check here to identify your voting location.
Monday, July 21, 2014
Today's News-Press has another article in its ongoing series focusing on bike/ped safety in Southwest Florida. Today's article focuses on the string of recent cycling crashes with serious injuries, including the 4 cyclists that were injured on the Fort Myers Beach bridge on July 12th.
Note that the News-Press has a new Facebook page called "Share the Road Florida" (www.facebook.com/sharetheroadflorida) to cover the good, bad and ugly about riding a bike in Southwest Florida. Be sure to "friend" it and share your thoughts. Thanks to Janine Zeitlin for her excellent work on this News-Press project.
Rich Crouse spotted a white sedan barreling toward him on a recent Saturday morning in Fort Myers Beach.
I’m going to die, he thought.
The driver had already weaved in and out of a line of 10 cyclists, downing other riders coming from Naples this month. Crouse pedaled even closer to the concrete barrier on the shoulder. The 56-year-old couldn’t fathom why the car wasn’t stopping or moving to an open lane.
He bounced from the hood as the 84-year-old driver’s car shoved him along the pavement before braking.
Crouse felt lucky to walk away with severe road rash and soreness, but the most seriously injured of the four riders remained at a Lee Memorial hospital Friday afternoon. His condition had improved from critical to fair.
Gone are the swarms of tourists and snowbirds, but serious crashes involving bicycles show no signs of abating in Lee County. Along with the July 12 Fort Myers Beach crash, an elderly cyclist in Bonita Springs suffered trauma after being hit by a driver Thursday who fled the scene. Earlier this month, a rider suffered serious injuries in Cape Coral after crashing with a pickup, as did a cyclist in Alva who blew a stop sign and was struck, according to initial reports.
There have been 112 bicycle-crash injuries in Lee this year, according to preliminary data provided by the Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization. At this pace, the count could surpass last year’s 175 injuries, a 13-year high.
“We’ve got to get the crash numbers down,” said Dan Moser of the BikeWalkLee coalition and a longtime advocate for safer roads. “The lucky thing is that not as many of them are fatalities, but it’s hard to say what kind of life-altering injuries these are.”
Moser plans to focus on preventing people from riding in the road against traffic, which is illegal and more dangerous. He’s also joining law enforcement for targeted outreach to walkers and bikers. Florida Department of Transportation has ranked Lee No. 9 among the top focus areas in the state because of high number of bike and pedestrian crashes and fatalities. This lousy ranking comes in the most lethal state for cyclists.
Some of the cyclists injured on Fort Myers Beach are working with Naples attorney Ted Zelman to try to cover the costs of medical bills and their damaged bikes. Zelman, an avid cyclist, sits on the board of the 800-member Naples Velo cycling club.
The crash could have been classified as reckless driving, Zelman said, a criminal charge which would have required a court appearance. The driver, Lee Luenser, was cited for careless driving and operating a vehicle with an expired tag, tickets that carry a total of $272 in fines in Lee County. The lawyer would like to see enhanced penalties for striking road users, who are not protected by 4,000 pounds of metal.
|Lee Luenser, 84-yr. old driver|
“We need better and stronger laws and better and stronger enforcement,” Zelman said. “This type of incident shows the need for doing that to hold people responsible for the consequences of their actions.”
The News-Press was unable to get a response from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, the agency that investigated the crash, as it has a policy against answering questions from this media organization. Last week, the crash and enforcement came up at a county bicycle and pedestrian advisory committee meeting. Steve Jansen, a traffic engineer with the county’s transportation department, defended law enforcement.
“They don’t give out tickets because the judges do not support them,” Jansen said. “The judge will say, ‘Did you see it happen?’”
The crash report says Luenser was treated for a neurological issue and may have had a medical event while driving. Luenser could not be reached Friday, but his license remained valid. A woman who identified herself as his daughter said her father was unavailable and was receiving rehabilitation but declined to speak further.
In the accident report, the deputy indicated Luenser should be re-tested for his license. Moser has also submitted a package to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, which may spur a medical review of the driver. The process could take more than two months for action. Crouse plans to discuss safety concerns at an upcoming Naples Velo meeting, but the crashes have renewed calls for more and wider bike lanes and shifts in attitude about sharing roads. But the battle can feel uphill.
On the return ride after the July 12 Fort Myers Beach crash, Dirk van Rossum, who was not injured, was heckled by a motorist who yelled, ‘Get the ... off the road,’ he recalled. “It will take a lot of extraordinary effort to raise awareness for the safety and legal rights of cyclists and other disadvantaged road users.”
Staff writer Melissa Montoya contributed to this report.
The News-Press has a new Facebook page www.facebook.com/sharetheroadflorida to cover the good, bad and ugly about riding a bike in Southwest Florida. Florida is consistently ranked the most lethal state for cyclists and statistics put Collier and Lee among the worst in the state. At the same time, there are so many great things about cycling in the Sunshine State. Please like and share ways to make our area more bike-friendly.
Sunday, July 20, 2014
Several new events posted this week...check them out.
· Saturday, July 26: 7th Annual Race for Grace. Race starts at 7 a.m. at Oasis Elementary School, 3415 Oasis Boulevard, Cape Coral. 5k or 10K walk or run, registration from $15 (youth) to $25 (adult). (www.active.com)
· Saturday, July 26: Eagle Lakes 5K, Eagle Lakes Community Park, 11565 Tamiami Trail East, Naples. Entry $28 before, $35 day of, $21 students. Race starts 7 a.m. (http://www.eliteevents.org/eagle-lakes-extreme-5k.html)
· Saturday, Aug.9: Cape 5K, Jaycee Park, Cape Coral. Entry $20 adult, $15 youth, $25 day of. Race starts at 7 a.m. (http://www.3dracinginc.com/races.asp)
· Saturday, Aug. 23: North Collier Regional Rampage 5K. North Collier Regional Park, 15000 Livingston Road, Naples. Pre-registration $28, students $21, race day $35. (http://www.eliteevents.org/north-collier-regional-rampage-5k.html)
· Saturday, Oct. 18: 6th annual Sanibel 10K 4 F.I.S.H. Starts 7:30 a.m. at Sanibel Community House 2173 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel. Registration $30 by Oct. 11, $35 through Oct. 17 and $40 day of. (http://www.ftmyerstrackclub.com/Sanibel10k/13FIsh.html)
Cycling & other events:
· Saturday-Monday, Aug. 30-Sept. 1: 32nd annual Tour of Sebring, based at Kenilworth Lodge, 1610 Lakeview Drive, Sebring, FL. This Labor Day weekend, enjoy one, two or three days of cycling in the gently rolling hills of Highlands County, excellent buffet lunch meals, ice cream socials, door prizes, etc. Riders will especially appreciate our lightly traveled back roads, friendly motorists, citrus groves, cattle ranches, and small towns typical of rural Central Florida. Fully supported routes with cue sheets and maps, on-road route marks, excellent rest stops, bicycle mechanic, and dispatched SAG service vehicles. Daily rides ranging from 11 to 62 miles plus our Sunday Bok Tour Century (100 miles). Early registration deadline Aug. 22, prices for 1-, 2- or 3-day rides, (http://www.highlandspedalers.com/tos.php)
· Sept.13-14: Registration is now open for the fourth annual Galloway Captiva Tri weekend. Saturday is the kids’ day with three age groups (6-8, 9-10 and 11-13) enjoying the fun of multisports. Sunday, the adults take to the water and roadways in a sprint triathlon (swim/bike/run) covering all of Captiva Island. Spaces are limited for all events, so register now – no waiting lists this year. Information at www.captivatri.org.
· Sunday, Sept. 14: Paradise Coast International Triathlon, Duathlon, and 10k Run, Sugden Regional Park, 4284 Avalon Drive, Naples. Triathlon is 1,500m swim, 40Kbike, 10Krun; Duathlon is 5K run, 40K bike, 10K run. (http://www.eliteevents.org)
· Sunday, Oct. 5: Marco Island Triathlon 2014, Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort,400 South Collier, Marco Island. 8a.m. start $85 individuals, $160 teams (http://www.thefitnesschallengetriathlon.com)
TELL US ABOUT YOUR RIDE:
Have a favorite route you like to bike, or a unique walk you’d like to share with others? Tell us about it at firstname.lastname@example.org, and maybe we can feature it in an upcoming column.