Monday, November 16, 2015

News-Press: Naples, Cape Coral earn bike-friendly awards

It's a great day for SWFL, with 2 new communities--Cape Coral and Naples--receiving Bicycle Friendly Community (BCF) "Bronze" designations today.  They join Sanibel--a Silver BFC--and Venice (Silver) making 4 SWFL communities with BFC status.  It was exciting to see that 3 of the 18 newly recognized communities are in Florida (and two of the three in SWFL).

News-Press 11/16/15, by Janine Zeitlin
Photo by News-Press

The national designations show commitments to making biking safer, an issue of concern in Southwest Florida.

For the first time, Naples and Cape Coral earned coveted bike-friendly designations.

The national designations announced today show commitments to making biking safer, an issue of grave concern in Southwest Florida. This area has ranked in the top 10 in the state for bicyclist fatalities and crashes. Last year, Lee County ranked third for the number of bicyclist fatalities in Florida, the most lethal state in the nation for bicyclists.

Naples and Cape Coral received bronze awards from the League of American Bicyclists and joined Sanibel Island, which is ranked silver, among 19 bike-friendly communities in Florida.

"Winning a Bicycle Friendly Community designation shows a community's dedication to creating safer and better places to ride your bike," said Alex Doty, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists in a press release.

For Naples, the designation reflects the city’s investment in bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies, said the Naples Pathways Coalition.

Naples Mayor John Sorey said in a press release the city “fully supports the creation of a safe, bikeable community and has committed resources to make significant improvements by retrofitting streets with bike lanes, installing green boxes" and developing easily understood signage to mark cycling routes.

Naples' bicycle friendly team includes: co-chairs Andrew Holland and Beth Brainard, Alan Ryker, Doug Newman, Jane Cheffy, Michelle McLeod, Leslee Dulmer, Buddy Bonollo, and Alison Bickett.

Cape Coral will host an awards presentation for its designation at 4:30 p.m. its city council meeting.

The awards are decided through voluntary applications. Throughout the nation, 371 communities have received bike-friendly designations from the biking advocacy and education group. They often become ways to promote the sustainability of a community to potential residents and visitors.

For more than a year, The News-Press has also made a commitment to safer streets for bicyclists through its Share the Road series. Join the conversation at the Share the Road Florida Facebook page.

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