News-Press "Go Coastal" section: BikeWalkLee column
Aug. 21, 2014
In the wake of recent incidents resulting in injury to area cyclists, safe cycling has been high on riders' radar — and for good reason. The threat of serious bodily harm dulls the allure of doing something that's supposed to be all about fun and fitness.
But safety isn't a magic-wand kind of issue. There are too many moving parts for safety just to happen overnight. So what does it take? Well, let's start with:
• Better facilities: A lot of the safety issues come from having streets designed for all forms of transportation; from having paths that make cycling feasible (such as actually going places people need to go) while allowing them to be shared comfortably with walkers and runners; and with having currently facilities maintained and repaired in a safe manner.
- Better bikers: Safety takes skills and sanity, which for cyclists means knowing how to ride comfortably with other traffic (both faster and slower — or bigger and smaller — than you). It means understanding and respecting the rules of the road, again for interacting with all kinds of traffic. And it means taking some simple precautions to stay safe, such as wearing a helmet and not doing stupid stuff.
• Better enforcement: And how do you deal with bad drivers? Give them consequences for their actions… which means using the letter of the law to prosecute or prohibit motorists who make our roads unsafe for cyclists, pedestrians and other motorists. There are laws now on the books that could make our roads safer, but only if they are enthusiastically and consistently enforced.
Ultimately, safety can't be something you rail about only when a cyclist is injured or killed. It has to be something that's on our minds all the time.
— 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.
• Saturday: North Collier Regional Rampage 5K. North Collier Regional Park, 15000 Livingston Road, Naples. Registration $28, students $21, race day $35. (eliteevents.org/north-collier-regional-rampage-5k.html)
• Saturday, Aug. 30: Dr. Piper Center Annual 5K Legacy Run/Walk, Dunbar Middle School, 4750 Winkler Ave. Ext., Fort Myers. Race starts at 7:30 a.m. Registration up to Aug. 26. $20 adult, $15 youth; Aug. 27-29 $25/$15, day of $300 all. (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
Cycling and other events:
• Saturday-Monday, Aug. 30-Sept. 1: 32nd annual Tour of Sebring, based at Kenilworth Lodge, 1610 Lakeview Drive, Sebring. 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. 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, (highlandspedalers.com/tos.php)
• Sept. 13-14: 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. All slots are filled, and remember that the road on to the island will closed at 6:45 a.m. Sunday. Information at 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, 40K bike, 10K run; Duathlon is 5K run, 40K bike, 10K run. (eliteevents.org)