Wednesday, October 28, 2015

BWL Column: Get free bike lights with #BeSeenLee

BWL Column in News-Press "Go Coastal" section, Oct. 28, 2015

Did you know that the spring and fall time changes are some of the most dangerous times for cyclists and pedestrians? One way you can stay safe is to make sure that you can be seen by other road users by wearing light-colored and reflective clothing, and by making sure your bike has the necessary lights.

With that in mind, BikeWalkLee is entering the second phase of our 2015 bike safety campaign — #BeSeenLee — with the installation of FREE bike lights across the county.

The time change is at 2 a.m. on Sunday, which is actually the night of Halloween. This makes Halloween weekend a great time to kick off this campaign.

One of our first events will be a part of a "Ride your Bike to the Game Day" for YMCA soccer families and the surrounding community near Tanglewood Elementary School on Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. BikeWalkLee partners will be there to share safety information and install lights on bikes for anyone who rode to the game and needs one.

Other partners (such as including Pawnbroker Marketing and Billy's Bikes) will be coordinating events during this month-long campaign. Be sure to watch the BikeWalklee Facebook and Twitter pages for more #BeSeenLee event announcements and details.

Night-time biking is not just about the time change, although it’s a good place to focus on a larger problem. A lot of people don’t have the luxury of biking only when the sun is out – especially those who rely on two wheels to get them to work. Being able to be seen is not only safer for them, but safer for the motorist as well… since we assume no one wants to run over cyclists.

The time change affects pedestrians as well, since falling back time-wise takes away an hour of walkable light at the end of the day. The mantra “see and be seen” is equally important for those hoofing it on our roads and sidewalks – and many of the same suggestions for cyclists get can apply here as well:
  • Be bright – use lights both to find your way and show others you’re coming.
  • Be light – wear clothing that is lighter in color or, even better, reflective.
  • Be aware – watch out for traffic (on two or four wheels), opt for lighted routes if possible, and be attentive to your surroundings.
Although the practice of going door-to-door on Halloween has waned in many neighborhoods, in many others it’s still strong – so motorists need to be watchful for ghosts and goblins walking the streets, and kids (and their parents) need to be visible, carry lights and use common sense. That way, any fright that night will be all in fun – not real and dangerous.

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: Celebrate Halloween this weekend with the LCEC Goblin Gallop. You’ll benefit United Way and burn off some candy calories to boot! Race is 7:30 a.m. at Jim Jeffers Park in Cape Coral (
Ride: The monthly SW Florida Critical Mass ride is on Friday, Nov. 6 – check the start times since the time change will have an impact. That weekend, those looking for a longer ride can try the Veterans Day Honor Ride, a ride to honor our veterans and support Honor Flight of Collier County. Ride from Naples Cyclery to Fat Point Brewery in Punta Gorda, up U.S. 41 with a police and military escort. There will be a second distance option starting at 9:30 from the Crowne Plaza in Fort Myers.
Both: If you’re ready for a longer event, try the Challenge Venice, an Olympic tri and half Ironman on Sunday, Nov. 8 (with a kid’s tri the day before). Online at

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