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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sept. 29th: Upcoming running/walking/biking/tri events



It's Monday morning and time to check out upcoming events.  October is around the corner and cooler weather is coming!


Running/walking:
·       Sunday Oct. 11: Fort Myers Cops and Joggers 5K. Centennial Park, downtown Fort Myers. Race starts at 7:30 p.m., and proceeds will benefit the Fort Myers Police Department Fallen Officer Memorial Fund and the Brotherhood Ride. Registration: $20 adult, $15 youth on or before Oct. 9. (www.ftmyerstrackclub.com)
·       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. (www.ftmyerstrackclub.com)
·       Sunday, Oct. 19: Rocktoberfest 10 mile (or 2 x 5 mile) race. North Collier Regional Park, 15000 Livingston Road, Naples. Pre-registration $55, students $45’ starts at 7 a.m. (www.eliteevents.org).
·       Tuesday, Nov. 11: Veteran’s Day 5K Run across the Midpoint Bridge. Proceeds to benefit YMCA Youth programs. Race starts at 7 p.m. Registration: Before Nov. 1 veterans an youth $15, adults $20; Nov. 1-10 veterans and youth $20, adults $25. (www.ftmyerstrackclub.com)
Cycling & other events:
·       Saturday, Oct. 11: Project 10 Ride 4 Wishes. Cape Harbour, Cape Coral. 15-, 30-, and 62-mile rides. $35 pre-registration, raises funds for Make-A-Wish Southern Florida. (www.eventbrite.com/e/project-10-ride-4-wishes-tickets-12368036129?aff=zvents)
·       Sunday, Oct. 12: Trek Breast Cancer Awareness Ride. 10-, 15- and 25- mile rides. From The Bicycle Center, 3795 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte. $30 before Sept. 1, $40 after. (www.eventbrite.com/e/trek-breast-cancer-awareness-ride-the-bicycle-center-registration-11405930445)
·       Sunday, Oct. 26: Fifth annual Tour de North Port. 15-, 35- and 65-mile rides that begin and end at the Imagine School, Upper Campus, 2757 Sycamore St., North Port. Full support, trick-or-treat rest stops. Breakfast and lunch offered. Starts at 7 a.m.; $40 each, $10 under age 10, group discounts available. (http://peoplefortrees.com/tourevent1_14.php).
·       Sunday, Nov. 2: Streets Alive returns to downtown Fort Myers 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Activities for the entire family focused on active and healthy lifestyles. Details at www.streetsalivelee.org.
·       Sunday, Nov. 9: Caloosahatchee River Ride 2014. 15-, 30-, 40- and 62-mile rides starting from Caloosahatchee Regional Park, 19130 North River Road, Alva. Register in advance or day of. (http://crca.caloosahatchee.org/events/?event=calendar&mon=11&details=1&id=350)
Triathlons:
  Sunday, Oct. 5: Marco Island Triathlon 2014, Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, 400 South Collier, Marco Island. 8 a.m. start $85 individuals, $160 teams (http://www.thefitnesschallengetriathlon.com)






Saturday, September 27, 2014

Two exciting Ciclovia/Streets Alive local events in one week--Oct. 28th and Nov. 2nd

Excitement is building for Lee County's second annual Streets Alive! event coming to downtown Fort Myers on November 2nd.  To add high voltage electricity to that excitement, we just learned that the founder of the international "Ciclovia" movement, Gil Penalosa of Bogota, Colombia, will be the keynote speaker at the annual conference of the Florida Public Transportation Association (FTPA) being held in Naples, FL Oct. 26-28th--the week before our Streets Alive event!  There's no better way to get inspired and motivated for the Nov. 2nd Streets Alive event than to hear about the international Ciclovia movement--which gave birth to the "open streets"/ "streets alive" /"ciclovia" events across the USA--from its founder.
Mark your calendars and plan to attend both events...here are the details:

Ciclovia Keynote Speech Oct. 28th
Mr. Penalosa was invited to be FTPA's keynote speaker as part of an effort to enhance FDOT's bike/ped safety campaign.  FDOT District 1 Secretary, Billy Hattaway, will be on hand to introduce the keynote speaker.  Gil Penalosa's keynote speech will be on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 @ 11:30 am – 1:30 pm.

 FTPA is inviting local officials and staff, as well as BikeWalkLee's broad network, to attend the keynote speech, and has set up a special "Keynote Luncheon Fee" for anyone that would like to attend.  To register, go to:www.regonline.com/fpta2014.The fee is just $65 (includes lunch), which is nearly half off the normal one day registration cost.  (Thank you, FTPA!)

Gil Peñalosa, Executive Director, 8-80 Cities
Gil Penalosa is passionate about cities for all people, regardless of social, economic or ethnic background. Gil advises decision makers and communities on how to create vibrant cities and healthy communities for all: from 8 to 80 years old. His focus is the design and use of parks and streets as great public places, as well as on sustainable mobility. Because of his unique blend of pragmatism and passion, Gil’s leadership and advice is sought out by many cities and organizations. As Executive Director of the Canadian non-profit organization 8-80 Cities for the past six years, Gil has worked in over 130 different cities in all continents. As former Commissioner of Parks, Sport and Recreation for the City of Bogotá, Colombia, Gil successfully led the design and development of over 200 parks of which Simón Bolívar, a 360 hectare park in the heart of the city is the best known; here he created the Summer Festival, with over 100 events in 10 days and more than 3 million people attending, making it the main annual recreational and cultural event in the country. Gil’s team also initiated the “new Ciclovia”— a program which sees over 1 million people walk, run, skate and bike along 121 kilometers of Bogotá’s city roads every Sunday, and today it’s internationally recognized and emulated.

Check out BikeWalkLee Blog's 2011 story: Ciclovia: Bogota, Colombia which includes a great video by Streetfilms showing the potential of this international phenomenon.

Streets Alive event in Downtown Fort Myers, Nov. 2nd:
The second annual Streets Alive event, presented by Streets Alive of Lee County, Inc.,  is coming to downtown Fort Myers on November 2nd, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The streets will be closed to motor vehicles and open just to people--of all ages and abilities--to have fun, get fit and eat healthy.  There will be a buffet of choices from hula hoop to meditative walks to dance to basketball to Zumba--and all the activities are free.  Of course, with streets closed to traffic you can create your own movement by walking, jogging, skateboarding, riding your bike and more!
 BikeWalkLee is one of the partners helping organize the event, and will again have its community engagement booth with multiple creative activities.  Come join the community conversation about making our neighborhoods more walkable/bikeable/livable. 

Stay tuned for upcoming BikeWalkLee blog posts on the event.  In the meantime, here's the link to the Streets Alive website, and links to BikeWalkLee blog posts about last year's event:


Report by Darla Letourneau

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Operation P.E.D.S. focuses on bikes, pedestrian safety

Kudos to law enforcement for its continuing bike/ped safety awareness campaign.  A special thanks to News-Press for their extensive coverage, and to BWL's Dan Moser for being part of this effort.

News-Press, Sept. 25, 2014

By Michael Braun, mbraun@news-press.com 

The rules of the road — and sidewalks and bike lanes — were promoted and highlighted for bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists in Fort Myers Beach on Wednesday as the Florida Highway Patrol began the third quarterly wave of Operation P.E.D.S

The FHP, along with the Lee County Sheriff's Office, began handing out safety equipment and literature promoting safety as part of the Pedestrian Education and Developing Safety operation.
"We're targeting areas in Lee County where there are problems. Typical areas where there are bike and pedestrian crashes," said Lt. Greg Bueno, a spokesman for the FHP.

The FHP said the following roadways have the highest concentration of pedestrian and bicyclist crashes in Lee County: U.S. 41, Palm Beach Boulevard, Lee Boulevard, Estero Boulevard and Bayshore Road.
 
 Click on the article to see the video.Operation P.E.D.S. promotes bike and pedestrian safety in Fort Myers Beach. Video by Michael Braun. The majority of crashes occurred during the afternoon on Wednesdays, he said. The FHP will continue to conduct this type of pedestrian/bicycle safety detail on a quarterly basis.Bueno said that during 2013, 491 pedestrians and bicyclist were involved in crashes within Lee County. Of those, 355 were injured and 25 lost their lives. The purpose of Wednesday's detail was to decrease the amount of injuries and deaths through a series of highly concentrated education and enforcement details in areas prone to pedestrian and bicyclist involved crashes "So far in 2014 we've had 11 combined deaths. We're doing better," Bueno said. "We do this quarterly. We'll target Lehigh Acres in December."
During the operation on Wednesday, FHP and LCSO officers fanned out along Estero Boulevard stopping bicyclists and pedestrians to distribute safety gear such as bike lights and bells, backpacks, reflector bracelets and literature.

James Carickhoff of Fort Myers Beach stopped by the town hall and chatted with FHP Sgt. Duane Cooper and LCSO motorcycle officer Sgt. Dan Leffin.

"This is my lucky day," Carickhoff said. "I like getting something instead of having to pay."
Leffin lauded Carickhoff's riding capabilities as well as his safety acumen. "You're being safe, riding with the traffic," he said.

More than a dozen pedestrians and bicyclists stopped to listen to officers and accept safety items soon after the operation began around 1 p.m.

Dan Moser, a Lee County EMS and traffic safety consultant, rode his bicycle and handed out 15 bike lights and bike safety literature to help during the event.

"I love this. I look to make sure its not heavy-handed and have found it to be fair and pretty even-handed," Moser said of the FHP-LCSO effort.

Others who got the full safety treatment said they make an effort to ensure their own safety while riding.

"I'm always safe," said Will Hadden, a beach resident. " ... In Florida, many people don't know that bicyclists have to abide by vehicle laws."

Safety Tips for Pedestrians
•Use Designated Walking Areas Whenever Possible Walk on sidewalks and in crosswalks whenever possible. Pay attention to walk signals and keep a safe distance when standing on street corners.

•Be Sure to Be Seen Be careful of blind spots when walking near or around a vehicle. Assume the driver does not see you.

•Proceed with Caution when crossing intersections and streets.

•Stand Out Wear bright or reflective clothing, especially when walking in the dark. Carry a flashlight, too, for added protection.

•Look Out for Wide Loads Keep your distance when walking around large trucks carrying wide loads because the driver may not see you.

Sharing the Roadway as a Vehicle:
• Every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or bicycle.

• The driver of a vehicle at an intersection that has a traffic control signal shall stop at the marked stop line or if none before entering crosswalk.

• The driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle must pass…. at a safe distance of not less than 3 feet between the vehicle and the bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle.

Share the Road
Join the discussion and like our special Facebook page called Share the Road and share you thoughts, opinions and observations about cycling and road safety in Southwest Florida. Go to facebook.com/sharetheroadflorida

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sept. 22nd: Upcoming running/biking/tri events

Scene from Captiva-Tri
It's Monday morning and time to check out what upcoming events to sign-up for.
 
Running/walking:
· Sunday Oct. 11: Fort Myers Cops and Joggers 5K. Centennial Park, downtown Fort Myers. Race starts at 7:30 p.m., and proceeds will benefit the Fort Myers Police Department Fallen Officer Memorial Fund and the Brotherhood Ride. Registration: $20 adult, $15 youth on or before Oct. 9. (www.ftmyerstrackclub.com)

· 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. (www.ftmyerstrackclub.com)

· Sunday, Oct. 19: Rocktoberfest 10 mile (or 2 x 5 mile) race. North Collier Regional Park, 15000 Livingston Road, Naples. Pre-registration $55, students $45' starts at 7 a.m. (www.eliteevents.org).

· Tuesday, Nov. 11: Veteran's Day 5K Run across the Midpoint Bridge. Proceeds to benefit YMCA Youth programs. Race starts at 7 p.m. Registration: Before Nov. 1 veterans an youth $15, adults $20;
 Nov. 1-10 veterans and youth $20, adults $25. (www.ftmyerstrackclub.com)

Cycling and other events:
· Saturday, Oct. 11: Project 10 Ride 4 Wishes. Cape Harbour, Cape Coral. 15-, 30-, and 62-mile rides. $35 pre-registration, raises funds for Make-A-Wish Southern Florida. (www.eventbrite.com/e/project-10-ride-4-wishes-tickets-12368036129?aff=zvents)

· Sunday, Oct. 12: Trek Breast Cancer Awareness Ride. 10-, 15- and 25- mile rides. From The Bicycle Center, 3795 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte. $30 before Sept. 1, $40 after. (www.eventbrite.com/e/trek-breast-cancer-awareness-ride-the-bicycle-center-registration-11405930445)

· Sunday, Oct. 26: Fifth annual Tour de North Port. 15-, 35- and 65-mile rides that begin and end at the Imagine School, Upper Campus, 2757 Sycamore St., North Port. Full support, trick-or-treat rest stops. Breakfast and lunch offered. Starts at 7 a.m.; $40 each, $10 under age 10, group discounts available. (http://peoplefortrees.com/tourevent1_14.php).

· Sunday, Nov. 2: Streets Alive returns to downtown Fort Myers 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Activities for the entire family focused on active and healthy lifestyles. Details at www.streetsalivelee.org.

· Sunday, Nov. 9: Caloosahatchee River Ride 2014. 15-, 30-, 40- and 62-mile rides starting from Caloosahatchee Regional Park, 19130 North River Road, Alva. Register in advance or day of. (http://crca.caloosahatchee.org/events/?event=calendar&mon=11&details=1&id=350)

Triathlons:
· Sunday, Oct. 5: Marco Island Triathlon 2014, Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, 400 South Collier, Marco Island. 8 a.m. start $85 individuals, $160 teams (http://www.thefitnesschallengetriathlon.com)

For additional events outside the SWFL area, check out Dan Moser's 9/17/14 Florida Weekly Column: http://bikewalklee.blogspot.com/2014/09/moser-column-mark-your-calendar-make.html

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 info@bikewalklee.org, and maybe we can feature it in an upcoming column.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

FDOT Embraces Complete Streets: major statewide policy changes announced by Hattaway at Lee MPO Meeting

Lots of exciting new developments coming from FDOT that will improve biking and walking facilities and safety in Lee County and throughout the State.  We are lucky to have such an outstanding and passionate champion and leader in Billy Hattaway.  

Update: on Sept. 22nd, this blog post was highlighted in a Streetsblog USA story: "Will Florida DOT Pull off a "Culture Change" and Make Streets Safer?",bringing national attention to these FDOT developments and SWFL's complete streets activities. Also below is a copy of the FDOT Complete Streets Policy statement just received.
  
At the Sept. 19th Lee MPO Board meeting, FDOT District 1 Secretary, Billy Hattaway, updated officials on the statewide bike/ped focused initiative, and unveiled many upcoming FDOT policy changes, including a new FDOT complete streets policy and implementation plan.  (See 9/8/14BWL blog post for background)
FDOT's bike/ped focused initiative began in late 2011 when Secretary Prasad hired Billy Hattaway to be the District 1 Secretary and designated him as the statewide leader of a bike/ped initiative, aimed at removing Florida from its #1 ranking as the most dangerous state in the country for pedestrians and cyclists.  Over the past 3 years, Billy has worked closely with the Lee MPO and its partners to improve bike/ped safety and conditions in Lee County.  (see links to previous articles about his efforts.)
FDOT's bike/ped safety initiative started by focusing on the top 10 areas in the state (including Lee County).  Billy announced that FDOT's initiative has now expanded to 5 more counties, including Sarasota in District 1, for a total of 15 areas.  Hattaway highlighted the culture change that is being driven throughout the FDOT system, both internally and externally.  Culture change takes time because it is about changing the way we do business.  He highlighted seven initiatives that are part of driving this culture change that will benefit us at the local level:

As we've learned from our experience in Lee County, a shift from "business as usual" requires modification to lots of policies and guidance documents.  The state is tackling this by undertaking the revision of many of their guidance and policy documents, as well as adding a bike/ped element to the statewide overall Long Range Transportation Plan and requiring bike/ped statewide plans.  In a much anticipated move, FDOT has now approved a complete streets policy and implementation plan which will be incorporated into the various planning and policy manuals and guidelines.  We will provide you with more details about this policy as soon as they become available.
One of the important changes that is coming is a context-based approach to bike/ped facilities vs. the current "one-size fits all" approach.  Rather than building all bike lanes at 4 ft., the plan is to have different widths based on context and speed.
 So in the future, we are likely to see wider bike lanes on high speed roads, a double line separating the traffic from the bike lane, and 10 ft. shared use paths vs. bike lanes on high speed/high volume roads.  Hattaway noted that they've found that cyclists aren't riding on these high speed/high volume roads and that riders have indicated they want separation from the cars.
Hattaway has long been a champion of the increased use of roundabouts, and the bike/ped initiative further promotes their use.  He noted that roundabouts are 75% safer in terms of injuries and 90% safer in terms of fatalities for all road users.  Florida was an early leader in promoting roundabouts and now there is a wealth of national data confirming their safety benefits.  Roundabouts are very safe for pedestrians, which often include an intermediate spot for the pedestrian to cross and get a very high yield rate behavior from motorists. As he pointed out, roundabouts don't work in every location, but when they're appropriate, they're very effective in making the roadway safer for all users. 
Another tool in the toolbox is road diets, and Hattaway announced that FDOT will be issuing guidance to promote the use of road diets on the state system.  He gave as an example the project underway on Robinson Rd. in Orlando which has only 1400 cars day.  This state road is being converted to a road diet (from 4 lanes to 2 lanes plus a turn lane).  Hattaway noted the national statistics that road diets result in a 30% reduction in crashes.
Hattaway also unveiled FDOT's plans to update traffic laws.  The current FL bike/ped laws aren't written in English (as he illustrated by showing them the FL definition of a "crosswalk").  FDOT, working with other state partners, is rewriting these laws so they are in English which will make them easier to understand and enforce. 
Land use development patterns is a big part of the roadway safety problems we face, and as Hattaway said, "we can't create complete streets without land use decisions to support it."  He stated his goal of encouraging the creation of networks of streets so that every trip doesn't have to put people on arterial roads.  Hattaway used Baldwin Park in the Orlando area as an example of a community that has done it right, which is clearly an economic success. 

Speed is the critical factor in bike/ped fatalities and FDOT's strategy is focused on addressing this in a couple of ways.  First, they are planning a much needed change from the current design speed  standard to picking a desired speed based on context.   

  In addition, a complete streets approach (with two lanes, a turn lane, on street parking and buildings close to the sidewalk) is a design that reduces speed.  FDOT is also changing its policy to take a pro-active approach on mid-block crossings, where they will use Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) to enhance pedestrian safety; and on six lane roads they will use the Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (HAWK).  Research has shown that these treatments result in much higher yield rates by motorists.
MPO Board discussion: Board members applauded Hattaway for his commitment and willingness to "walk the talk", expressed support for the "common sense" design ideas in FDOT's strategy.  Board members asked questions and stated support for roundabouts, road diets, speed reductions, mid-block crossings, and street grid systems.
Billy Hattaway is truly leading a statewide transportation paradigm shift with a focus on improving facilities and safety for pedestrians and cyclists.  BikeWalkLee is grateful for his leadership and is excited about the many new FDOT policy and program changes that were announced at the MPO meeting.
Complete Streets in Florida Webinar
Mark your calendars and register now for an important Nov. 12th webinar, sponsored by 1000 Friends of Florida, on "Planning for Complete Streets in Florida".  Billy Hattaway is the featured panelist, along with BikeWalkLee's Darla Letourneau, AARP and a Broward County city that has implemented the state's first complete streets design manual.
(check out the previous blog post to register)
Report by Darla Letourneau 

9/22 update:  We just received a copy of FDOT's Complete Streets Policy:

Thursday, September 18, 2014

LeeTran to increase service, fares


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Joann Haley
Lee County Transit (LeeTran)

 LeeTran issued a press release today making it official re: restoration of last year's service cuts, the fare increase and the planned service improvements with those revenues.  BikeWalkLee thanks the BoCC for listening to its citizens and investing in vital LeeTran services.  A special thanks to everyone in the BWL network who worked over the past year in support of these efforts.


LEETRAN TO INCREASE SERVICE, FARES

FORT MYERS, FL, Sept. 18, 2014 – In separate actions this week by the Lee County Board of County Commissioners, measures were approved authorizing LeeTran to restore previously cut service on nine routes, add weekend service to two routes, and increase its fares.

At its biweekly Tuesday morning meeting, the Commissioners unanimously approved increasing LeeTran’s base adult fare from $1.25 to $1.50. The discount fare increases from 60 cents to 75 cents; the Beach Trolley fare goes from 50 cents to 75 cents. Pass prices also increase proportionally. “Our last fare increase was in 2008,” explains Transit Director Steve Myers. “Our survey of other Florida agencies indicated that $1.50 is the norm.”

At Wednesday evening’s final budget workshop, the Board passed the fiscal year 2014-2015 budget which includes funding to reinstate service cuts made in the fall of 2013. The cuts eliminated some evening trips on nine routes, as well as service on Veterans Day and Martin Luther King Day.  “We’ve seen a noticeable decrease in ridership since those reductions were made,” Myers said.

Commissioners also agreed to invest a portion of the additional fare revenue in new service in Lehigh Acres and Cape Coral. Sundayservice operating every 60 minutes will be added to Route 110 serving Lehigh Acres, and Saturday service on this route will be increased to run every 60 minutes. Sunday service will also be added to Route 70 serving Cape Coral, operating every 60 minutes. These improvements will cost an estimated $247,125.

“Only nine of our 22 year-round routes offer Sunday service,” said Myers. “Our Transit Development Plan, which forecasts transit needs for the next 10 years, prioritizes improvement of our weekend service.”

The reinstatement of evening and holiday service will occur on Thursday, Oct. 2. The fare increase will take effect on Jan. 1, 2015, and the Route 110 and 70 improvements will begin on Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015.

BikeWalkLee: Ride don't sit

This week's BWL column reviews research on the dangers of sitting...and encourages you to walk and cycle more and sit less. 
 BikeWalkLee Column in News-Press "Go Coastal" section, Sept. 18, 2014

If you're reading this, you might not want to sit down.

There's a growing mantra that "sitting is the new smoking." Don't dismiss it out of hand as more alarmist rhetoric. One of the people making such a comparison was cardiologist Martha Grogan, who said: "For people who sit most of the day, their risk of heart attack is about the same as smoking."

How bad is it? Consider this (as compiled by Active):
• In a typical day, by the time you add up sleeping, working, watching TV, computer time, meal time and commuting time, an average American could log up to 22 hours of inactivity.
• Two hours of sitting is as harmful as 20 minutes of exercise is beneficial.
• A university study concluded that up to 20 percent of deaths of people over age 35 could be attributed to the lack of physical activity.
• Prolonged sitting increases your risk for the aforementioned cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, muscular disorders, headaches, back pain, obesity, weight gain and diabetes.
• Some 70 percent or full-time U.S. workers hate sitting, but they do it anyway.

Those who sit but exercise may think we have less to worry about. Not so. If being fit means getting 60 minutes of exercise a day (a pretty high standard for most) and the rest of your day entails sitting, that one hour of action doesn't undo all the other inaction. That's why many people use those activity wristbands not when they're exercising, but when they're not – to track how much activity they undertake in their normal lives, when the real damage can be done.

Which brings us to the point: If sitting is bad for you, stop sitting so much. Get on your bike and ride, or put on your shoes and walk (or run or hike or dance or just move, you get the idea). Studies have shown that in places where biking and walking are relatively high, obesity and related health issues are relatively low. Other research ties walking or cycling to work with positive psychological effects, releasing endorphins to blast the blues in a somewhat direct correlation to the number of steps taken – so walk longer to be happier!

That's why we encourage people to try to incorporate biking and walking into their daily lives rather than just making it something you do at a special time and place. That's why it's important that we as a community support more bike-able and walkable facilities, both in what gets built as well as what's already in place – so having a safe place to bike or walk isn't the impediment to more movement.

And that's why it's important for groups such as Healthy Lee, Lee Memorial, the Dept. of Health, Streets Alive and the many other related efforts to push the connection between a more active Lee County and a healthier Lee County. People, politicians and businesses need to see the tie between health, the bottom line and a better quality of life for our community.

In the meantime, don't just sit there – move!

— 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 BikeWalkLee.org.

Upcoming events
Running/walking:
· Sunday Oct. 11: Fort Myers Cops and Joggers 5K. Centennial Park, downtown Fort Myers. Race starts at 7:30 p.m., and proceeds will benefit the Fort Myers Police Department Fallen Officer Memorial Fund and the Brotherhood Ride. Registration: $20 adult, $15 youth on or before Oct. 9. (www.ftmyerstrackclub.com)

· 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. (www.ftmyerstrackclub.com)

· Sunday, Oct. 19: Rocktoberfest 10 mile (or 2 x 5 mile) race. North Collier Regional Park, 15000 Livingston Road, Naples. Pre-registration $55, students $45' starts at 7 a.m. (www.eliteevents.org).

· Tuesday, Nov. 11: Veteran's Day 5K Run across the Midpoint Bridge. Proceeds to benefit YMCA Youth programs. Race starts at 7 p.m. Registration: Before Nov. 1 veterans an youth $15, adults $20;
 Nov. 1-10 veterans and youth $20, adults $25. (www.ftmyerstrackclub.com)

Cycling & other events:
· Saturday, Oct. 11: Project 10 Ride 4 Wishes. Cape Harbour, Cape Coral. 15-, 30-, and 62-mile rides. $35 pre-registration, raises funds for Make-A-Wish Southern Florida. (www.eventbrite.com/e/project-10-ride-4-wishes-tickets-12368036129?aff=zvents)

· Sunday, Oct. 12: Trek Breast Cancer Awareness Ride. 10-, 15- and 25- mile rides. From The Bicycle Center, 3795 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte. $30 before Sept. 1, $40 after. (www.eventbrite.com/e/trek-breast-cancer-awareness-ride-the-bicycle-center-registration-11405930445)

· Sunday, Oct. 26: Fifth annual Tour de North Port. 15-, 35- and 65-mile rides that begin and end at the Imagine School, Upper Campus, 2757 Sycamore St., North Port. Full support, trick-or-treat rest stops. Breakfast and lunch offered. Starts at 7 a.m.; $40 each, $10 under age 10, group discounts available. (http://peoplefortrees.com/tourevent1_14.php).

· Sunday, Nov. 2: Streets Alive returns to downtown Fort Myers 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Activities for the entire family focused on active and healthy lifestyles. Details at www.streetsalivelee.org.

· Sunday, Nov. 9: Caloosahatchee River Ride 2014. 15-, 30-, 40- and 62-mile rides starting from Caloosahatchee Regional Park, 19130 North River Road, Alva. Register in advance or day of. (http://crca.caloosahatchee.org/events/?event=calendar&mon=11&details=1&id=350)

Triathlons:
· Sunday, Oct. 5: Marco Island Triathlon 2014, Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, 400 South Collier, Marco Island. 8 a.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 info@bikewalklee.org, and maybe we can feature it in an upcoming column.