Friday, March 25, 2011

Bicycling to Beach makes one a moving target for motorists

News-Press, Mar. 24, 2011
Stephanie Davis - Downtown Diva

The Downtown Diva is a Beach girl who never goes to the Beach. I've reiterated my loathing of traffic before, so I won't repeat the gory details of my clawed-up steering wheel or debilitating panic attacks when the driver in front of me refuses to utilize a turn signal.

Nevertheless, last weekend, I wanted to return to my hometown for an afternoon - I grew up on Fort Myers Beach and I haven't been there in TWO YEARS (see traffic rant above).

Feeling ambitious, I recruited two girlfriends to bike the 24-mile round trip with me - and here is what I learned - Southwest Florida drivers are either clinically BLIND to bicyclists OR there is a secret contest to see how many bicycles they can run over.

We were three girls merrily pedaling on sidewalks and bike paths on a sunny Sunday afternoon, while drivers surrounded by 4,000 pounds of steel and rubber seemed bound and determined to see who would win if we collided.

There are these things called "crosswalks" at intersections - and, sure, maybe drivers don't have time to come to a complete stop when they see people walking their bikes across them, but one would think they wouldn't actually SPEED UP when spotting pedestrians.

Even though we felt like hunted prey on the way there and back, I found that the Beach was still the Beach, only it was covered with a gazillion spring breakers, and lunch at The Cottage was dependably delicious.

Next time though, I'll be traveling there by auto and hoping against hope that I don't get rear-ended when I slow down for bicycles.

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