Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Critical Mass Comes to Cape Coral starting Friday Nov. 27th

The popular Critical Mass Ride in Fort Myers is expanding to Cape Coral starting  Friday, November 27.. Plans are to have the ride monthly on the last Friday of the month. The ride is about 10 miles starting at 7 PM. Lights and helmets are required. This is a slow paced ride and many of the riders add decorative lights to their bikes. Starts in the parking lot where the Saturday Farmer’s market is held, SE 10th PL between SE 46th LN and SE 47th Ter (closest address is 4634 SE 10thPL). Learn more about Critical Mass on their Facebook page.

BWL Column: What a bike-friendly designation means to you

Last week we celebrated two new local communities earning Bicycle Friendly Community status--Cape Coral and Naples.  This week we look at what it means for cyclists and residents in those communities.  Thanks to BWL's Ken Gooderham for writing this excellent column.

BikeWalkLee's News-Press "Go Coastal" column: Nov. 25, 2015

The news that both Cape Coral and Naples recently earned a bronze Bike Friendly Community designation was widely hailed. But what does that mean for cyclists and residents in those two cities?

It means these municipalities are working to improve conditions for cyclists – and, by extension, everyone. That’s not just bike paths; it’s education and coordination, a focus on safety for all road users, and a reduction in fatalities even with an increase in ridership.

It means they are committed to actual improvements, not just the status quo. The League of American Bicyclists (LAB), the group which awards the designation, doesn’t grade on promises, but on actions. LAB has very specific benchmarks communities ought to meet to even get on the bike-friendly chart, while recognizing that no two communities are alike. The common theme is to show progress in making your city better for biking – and that doesn’t happen through speeches and platitudes, but with a commitment to improvement with the funding and staffing to back it up.

It means they support the economic enhancements better bicycle infrastructure brings. Better bike facilities bring people to business areas and, better yet, keep them there longer to potentially spend money and attract other buyers (and sellers). The BFC designation is a tourism tool as well, telling people who are looking for a place to play (and stay) that a community has this very attractive amenity to offer them, is a place that values safety and fitness, and doesn’t necessarily rely on cars to make things happen.

It means these are cities with strong leadership and strategic community support. Better bike-friendliness almost always tends to involve a public-private partnership, where a strong private-sector advocate works with (and motivates) a willing public-sector implementer. It takes time to achieve, requiring a network of partners with focus and staying power – essential building blocks for any community-building effort and a sign of strength whatever the undertaking.
From left: Cape Coral City Manager John Szerlag; Mayor Marni Sawicki; Gary Aubuchon, representing Cape Coral Bike-Ped, and Steve Neff, Public Works director, were on hand when Cape Coral earned a bronze Bike Friendly Community designation. (Photo: special to the news-press)
It means they have more work to do – and you need to support them in those efforts. A Bronze designation is great, certainly a moment to be savored. But keeping the designation takes work, and improving it takes even more. Even moving up to Silver is challenging, as Sanibel (the closest thing we have to a bike mecca in the region) found out when it made the move up a few years back.
For example, in weighing bike friendliness LAB looks at how communities fare in the five Es:
  • Engineering: Creating safe and convenient places to ride and park.
  • Education: Giving people of all ages and abilities the skills and confidence to ride.
  • Encouragement: Creating a strong bike culture that welcomes and celebrates bicycling.
  • Enforcement: Ensuring safe roads for all users.
  • Evaluation & planning: Planning for bicycling as a safe and viable transportation option.
So making progress is a multi-level effort – more than just building more bike paths or holding a few more classes. Winning the BFC designation shows Cape Coral and Naples are willing to start the process. But to keep it and improve on it will take even more support from the community and commitment from city officials and staff. So if you’re a resident (and a bike rider) in these cities, lend your support to keep these enhancements rolling forward – so both cities can keep going for the Gold (or Platinum or even, unlikely as that may be, a Diamond designation).

BikeWalkLee is a community coalition raising public awareness and advocating for complete streets in Lee County—streets that are designed, built, operated and maintained for safe and convenient travel for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Information, statistics and background online at

Ready to ride or run?
Run: Up early Thursday? Join the turkey trotting tradition either with the venerable Turkey Trot in Cape Coral (starts 7:30 a.m.) or a new 5K at Germain Arena (starts 7 a.m.). Too late for those? Then plan on the 10K River Run (downtown Fort Myers Dec. 5) or the 5K Everybody Runs (JetBlue Park Dec. 6).
Ride: Skip the leftovers and the shopping, and join the Caloosa Riders for their traditional Turkey Leg Century Ride on Friday ( Or celebrate the birthday ride for Go Girl Cycling on Sunday. Too much? Then wait for the monthly SW Florida Critical Mass ride on Friday, Dec. 4.
Both: Try a tri for the holidays at the Christmas Sprint in Naples Dec. 20, or get training for the HITS Naples Triathlon Weekend Jan. 9-10.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Nov. 23rd: Upcoming running/walking/biking/tri events

Upcoming events

·         Thursday, Nov. 26: The 36th annual Turkey Trot kicks off Thanksgiving with its traditional 5K run/walk and more (1-mile fun run, 100-yard Tot Trot). Benefits Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. 7:30 a.m. start at Cape Coral Wellness Center, 609 SE 13th Court, Cape Coral. (

Photo by News-Press

·         Thursday, Nov. 26: Thanksgiving Day 5K run and walk. Germain Arena, 11000 Everblades Parkway, Estero. 7 a.m. start, benefits San Carlos Park Roller Hockey. (
·         Saturday, Dec. 5: 37th annual River Run, 10K run/2-mile walk. Benefits GiGi’s Playhouse of Fort Myers, starts from Centennial Park in downtown Fort Myers. (
·         Sunday, Dec. 6: Everyone Runs 5K fun run, JetBlue Park, Fort Myers. 8 a.m. start. Benefits Boys and Girls Clubs of Lee County. (
·         Saturday, Dec. 19: 3rd annual Knights of Charity 10K, 19680 Cypress View Drive, Fort Myers. Funds raised will go towards the Food for Family Program. (
·         Saturday, Dec. 19: Santa Stroll 5K run and walk. Sugden Regional Park, 4284 Avalon Drive, Naples. 6 p.m. start. (
·         Friday, Jan. 1: Dave Cranor 5K New Year’s Day. Lowdermilk Park, Naples. Cool off afterwards with Big Dave’s Polar Plunge (no wetsuits). (
·         Saturday, Jan. 9: Facial Hair for Cancer Causes 5K run/walk, starts 8 a.m. Tara Woods, 19376 U.S. 41, North Fort Myers. (
·         Sunday, Jan. 10: 13th annual River, Roots and Ruts Trail Run, Caloosahatchee Regional Park, Alva. Half marathon and relay starts 8 a.m., 5K fun run 8:15 a.m. (
·         Sunday, Jan. 17: Naples Daily News Half Marathon, Fifth Avenue South, Naples. (
·         Saturday, Jan. 30: Runs For The Paws, to support the Naples Humane Society. Scenic course around Naples Municipal Airport. (
·         Sunday, Feb. 14: Paradise Coast Marathon, Half and 5K. Starts and ends at Florida Sports Park, Naples. (

·         Friday, Nov. 27: Skip the leftovers and the shopping and join the Caloosa Riders for their traditional Turkey Leg Century Ride, leaving at 7:30 a.m. from the Publix at Daniels Crossing Shopping Center, 6890 Daniels Parkway, Fort Myers. (
·         Sunday, Nov. 29: Go Girl Cycling Birthday Ride, 9377 Six Mile Cypress Pkwy, #135, Fort Myers. 15-, 30- and 45-mile rides beginning at 7:30 a.m. (
·         Sunday, Nov. 29: Fit & Fuel Iron Joe Turkey Ride, Fit & Fuel CafĂ©, 813 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples. 14-, 30- and 62-mile rides offered, registration 7:30 a.m. (
·         Friday, Dec. 4: SWFL Critical Mass ride. Join a family friendly slow ride through Fort Myers. Front and rear bike lights required. Grab your helmet, bring all your friends and meet in the open field next to Publix (check online for the start time) at First Street Village, 2160 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers. (

Nov. 6th Critical Mass ride

·         Sunday, Dec. 6: Everybody Rides, JetBlue Park, Fort Myers. Benefits Boys & Girls Clubs of Lee County. 15-, 30-, 62- and 80-mile rides, SAG support, 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. starts. (
·         Sunday, March 13: Annual Everglades Ride: 16 or 62 miles if you stay on the pavement, 27 miles if you don’t (options to adjust distance with all choices).Started from McLeod Park in Everglades City, benefits Friends of River of Grass Greenway and Friends of Fakahatchee. (

·         Sunday, Dec. 20: Christmas Sprint Triathlon and Duathlon. Swim/bike/run or run/bike/run – your choice, all at Sugden Regional Park. (
·         Saturday-Sunday, Jan. 9-10: 2016 HITS Naples Triathlon Weekend. Vanderbilt Beach. Full and half Ironman, Olympic, sprint and open triathlons. (


Last opportunity for public comment on Lee MPO's 2040 Transportation Plan

The Lee MPO's 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) process is nearing completion and the last opportunity for public comment before its adoption is at the Dec. 18th MPO Board meeting.  Many citizens have participated in the public outreach efforts over the past year, and here's your chance to comment on how the draft 2040 Plan reflects your input and vision for the County's future. BikeWalkLee has been an active participant in the Plan development over the past several years, and will share our views on the draft 2040 Plan in an upcoming blog.  For background on the process and our previous comments, see the BikeWalkLee blog posts at the end of this post. 

 Intro from Lee MPO 2040 Transportation Plan webpage:

The Lee County 2040 Transportation Plan is the 25-year vision of how to meet our community’s transportation needs and expectations through 2040.

The plan will incorporate all types of travel including driving, biking, walking, public transportation, and freight movement. To identify the projects that will best serve Lee County, the MPO needs a clear understanding of how people and goods move around the county now and how they expect to move in the future. Your ideas and opinions are critical to create a successful plan. Public meetings, workshops, and surveys will give you an opportunity to share your thoughts and add your voice to the discussion of transportation needs in the community.

Please stay in touch with us throughout the LRTP’s development and make your voice heard.
If you have a comment or question regarding the Draft 2040 Transportation Plan, please contact Johnny Limbaugh at the Lee County MPO at (239) 244-2220 or

To access the draft 2040 Plan and all supporting documents, click here.

Recent BWL-related blogs 
7. LRTP Resource Document: BikeWalkLee put together a resource document for the 2040 LRTP Process (with lots of links) based on our many related blog posts. (5/13/15) 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Naples Pathways: Points of politeness in public places: Sidewalk etiquette for bicyclists and pedest

 Thanks to Beth Brainard, Executive Director of the Naples Pathways Coalition, for this excellent piece on sidewalk etiquette, which appeared in Naples Daily News.

Naples Daily News "Blue Zone" section, Nov. 17, 2015

By Beth Brainard, Naples Pathways Coalition

A few years ago I wrote a children's etiquette book, "Soup Should Be Seen, Not Heard," for kids 4 to 10 years old. After receiving an excellent note from a reader of this column, I am compelled to quote from the book's lesson plan for the benefit of grown-up bicyclists and pedestrians who are vying for space on Naples' sidewalks.

"A public place is one that is shared by a lot of people. You can do your part to make the space you share with others pleasant by behaving politely. Remember the Golden Rule and what it means to be considerate (kind, thoughtful of other people and their feelings), gracious (pleasant, generous), honorable (honest, trustworthy, fair, upstanding) and courteous (respectful and civil)."

Frequently, frustration overcomes politeness because visitors and residents alike are unaware of Florida's laws. Let's begin with pedestrians.

• Sidewalk laws for pedestrians

If there is a sidewalk, pedestrians must use it, and if they choose to walk in the street they are breaking the law.

In the state of Florida pedestrians must obey traffic signs and signals, which means if you cross at an intersection, say at Fifth Avenue South and Eighth Street, when the pedestrian signal is red — you are breaking the law.

Upon legally entering a crosswalk, pedestrians have the right-of-way over vehicles including bicycles. However, it is illegal for a pedestrian to suddenly move into the path of a vehicle that is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.

Pedestrians crossing the street at any point other than a marked crosswalk or intersection must yield to vehicles including bicycles. It is illegal to cross a street diagonally, except where indicated by signals. In other words, jaywalk at your own peril.

• Sidewalk laws for bicyclists

In Florida it is legal for bicyclists to ride both on the street and on the sidewalk, and they have the option to choose. The exception is on sidewalks like on Fifth Avenue and Third Street where city ordinances prohibit bicycles.

When riding on a sidewalk or crosswalk, bicyclists are obligated to follow the same laws as pedestrians, which includes obeying the traffic signals and signs.

In addition, bicyclists on a sidewalk or crosswalk must yield to pedestrians.

Bicyclists must give an audible signal before overtaking and passing pedestrians. In other words, ring a bell or say "Passing on your left," to warn the pedestrian of your approach.

It is illegal for bicyclists to wear headsets or earplugs (other than a hearing aid) while riding. Frankly, I feel this should extend to the use of mobile phones and be applicable to pedestrians as well.

• Confusion about direction

Bicyclists riding in the street must ride with traffic, but pedestrians walking in the street must walk against traffic; they can only walk in the street if there is not a sidewalk.

Please remember that contrary to cultural tradition or what your mother taught you, bicyclists ride with traffic, pedestrians walk against traffic. It is safer. In fact, the number one cause of bicycle crashes and fatalities is bicyclists riding against traffic.

Some tips for grown-ups on manners
Sidewalks are public spaces legally shared by bicyclists and pedestrians, so please share.

Be gracious. If your group, whether on foot or bicycle, extends across the sidewalk, shrink it to let oncoming traffic pass.

Be honorable. Whether you live here, visit briefly on vacation, or float in paradise for a few months while your neighbors freeze up north, obey traffic laws and signals. They pertain to you.

Be considerate. Don't sneak up on people or whiz by them at the speed of light without sounding your bell or giving an audible warning. Allow them time to move over before you pass.

Be courteous. Now that you know the laws, pedestrians please refrain from shouting at passing bicyclists to "get off the sidewalk" and bicyclists refrain from flashing a rude finger salute instead of yielding to pedestrians.

Let's all get along.

Note to readers: If you want to learn more about bicycle and pedestrian laws, you can find the Complete Florida Statutes text at Look for Title XXlll, Chapter 316.

Beth Brainard is the executive director of Naples Pathways Coalition, a nonprofit organization that works to make the greater Naples area a safe, bikeable, walkable community. Email or see

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

News-Press editorial: Cape deserving of bike paths honor

 News-Press editorial 11/19/15

We applaud Cape Coral for its ongoing efforts to improve bicycle safety that have resulted in the city achieving national recognition as a Bicycle Friendly Community.

A beautifully planned network of interconnected paths for cyclists and pedestrians, covering 90 miles, is the reason the Cape joins only 351 other communities in the nation earning bronze-level designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. Impressively, the city is no resting on what it has already accomplished. Officials and residents are moving forward with a vision and plan that will expand paths, provide bicycle targeted education classes for specific demographic groups, build complete roads that allow for pedestrian/bicycle paths, and continue to seek grants for “high visibility” enforcement and the use of bicycles by police officers.

The city, as well as Carolyn Conant, who is a major reason the city is becoming the place to ride and walk for the region and is the driving force behind the Cape Coral Bike Ped organization and the future development of a master plan (buoyed by Metropolitan Planning Organization funding), along with many others, have made this vision a reality. Cape Coral Bike Ped and the city continue to seek ways to improve safety, tourism and the economy. Its commitment to bicycle safety and awareness is doing just that.

“Our community has really pulled together to make Cape Coral a place where people want to come live, work and play,” said Conant, whose group raised $115,000 over six months to help pay for signs along the seven bike path routes that make up the 90 miles, and also received in-kind contributions from the city to help make and erect the signs, helping reduce costs by over $300,000.

The positive realities of this effort are vital because of the tragic realities of the past and no doubt ones that will occur in the future if other communities in the region do not step up and roll out similar plans. Florida is the deadliest state in the country for cyclists and pedestrians and Lee ranks among the top counties in the state for deaths.

Cape is setting a wonderful example and people are taking notice. Bike Ped has distributed over 30,000 brochures on the city's bike safety efforts to various visitor centers throughout the state "and they are flying off the shelves," Conant said.

People can learn more about Bike Ped's efforts at an 8:30 a.m. meeting today at the Team Aubuchon Building in downtown Cape's Club Square or on the city's website, where a GPS interactive map on the city's bike paths, is available at We encourage more communities in Southwest Florida to develop and execute master plans that look at expanding current roadways with paths, include complete streets in its future road building projects, initiate educational campaigns that focus on fitness and safety and encourage more residents to leave their vehicles in the driveway and pedal and walk to their destinations. 

What people are saying about the designation:

FDOT District One Secretary Billy Hattaway
“As the champion for the FDOT Bike Ped Safety Initiative and Complete Streets effort, I’d like to congratulate the city of Cape Coral for making the kind of concerted efforts being rewarded by this recognition."

Tamara Pigott, executive director for the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau
"Most people who visit Southwest Florida want to spend time outdoors. This impressive bicycle-friendly designation is an asset to the entire community. Safe biking paths offer locals and visitors the chance to spend even more time exploring our slice of paradise.

Bill Nesper, vice president of programs at the League of American Bicyclists
“We applaud the visionary leaders and dedicated citizens of Cape Coral for making bicycling a safe and convenient option to transportation and recreation.

Marni Sawicki, Cape Coral mayor
"Our goal has been to create safer bicycling opportunities in our community, and we have made significant strides toward that goal, thanks to our partnership with Cape Coral Bike Ped."

Moser Column: Opportunity’s knocking: millions in trail funds are up for grabs

Dan's column today is in search of a local champion for the Southwest Florida section of a statewide SunTrail System.  He also highlight's Cape Coral's recent designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community.
Florida Weekly, Outdoors section, Nov. 18, 2015

 When the executive director of the Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation visited our area recently, he came to remind us of an opportunity we should not miss. Dale Allen’s message was that there’s funding in place on a long-term and ongoing basis to eventually make Florida’s planned trails and greenways network a reality. There’s a good chance that Southwest Florida— defined as the Tampa Bay area to Naples — can tap into substantial dollars to complete its significant gaps sooner rather than later. The money had been earmarked earlier this year by the Florida legislature and signed-off on by the governor as part of a legislative bill. Any chance of funds coming to our area, Mr Allen noted, requires our local governments to take this opportunity seriously, thereby giving Southwest Florida a shot at becoming the next priority area. If not, there’s no telling when it will happen.

The financial resources Mr. Allen spoke of are tied to the SUNTrail System, which stands for “Shared-Use, Non-motorized Trails.” The initial bulk of those funds are going to the Coast-to-Coast Connector, a 250-mile network of trails that will link St. Petersburg to Titusville. Once the last 50 miles of the route that’s left to complete is expended, the next priority area will be chosen. At stake is up to $25 million per year. To become the next priority area we need a champion who can convince local government leaders to commit to the segments in their jurisdictions, which basically equates to putting some skin in the game by providing a certain amount of local dollars to leverage SUNTrail funds. Taking on a champion’s role also means attending four meetings a year that are held in various locations around Florida and advocating at these for our area.

The good news for anyone who would take this role on is that within the last year Lee and Collier counties have approved the specific routes that run through both, so that critical step is complete.Lee County has had its own Trails and Greenways Plan in place for decades and much of the approved route was already identified. Better yet, some segments that are in the state approved corridor, including Yarbrough Trail along Ten Mile Canal, are already constructed. Having been awarded a TIGER grant is also helpful in that it confirms our commitment to creating and enhancing a non-motorized network. If you or someone you know is interested in hearing more about becoming our area’s representative, contact me or go to to learn about the organization and its work.

From an even bigger-picture view, some of Florida’s network will be part of the US Bicycle Route, an ambitious joint effort by Adventure Cycling and American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. On Florida’s Atlantic coast, from the Georgia state line to Key West, the East Coast Greenway is being completed segment by segment with much of it in place. In fact, according to the ECG’s website “Florida boasts the longest portion of Greenway with the most miles of completed trail. The route includes 198 miles of completed traffic-free paths and the most bridges of any ECG state.” While that’s all well and good, what’s most important to those of us in Southwest Florida is that there are plans to add an “alternate route that will provide access to Florida’s Gulf Coast, the Pinellas Trail and Lake Okeechobee,” also according to the ECG website. The many positive economic impacts of trails, greenways, and on-road bike routes should be enough to convince even the most skeptical that these are undoubtedly worthy expenditures of taxpayer funds. For more about USBR, visit

Cape Coral update

Speaking of positive economic impacts, the city of Cape Coral is now officially designated as a Bike Friendly Community. In case you hadn’t heard, just this past Monday the League of American Bicyclists announced its annual list of BFCs, which includes Cape Coral coming in at the Bronze Level in its first application. There’s no doubt it’s well deserved. City leaders, both elected officials and staff members, are to be congratulated for working with Cape Coral Bike-Ped, businesses and others in the private sector over the past couple of years to make this significant achievement possible.

Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and pathways. ¦

Dan Moser is a long- time bicycle/ pedestrian advocate and traffic safety professional who cycles, runs and walks regularly for transportation, recreation and fitness. Contact him or 334- 6417.