News-Press article May 11th
It's May, National Bike Month … which means events focusing on two-wheeled endeavors.
There’s National Bike to Work Week on May 16-20, Bike to Work Day on May 20, and two local Ride of Silence events on Wednesday, May 18, to honor fallen cyclists and promote road safety.
The Ride of Silence is a worldwide event, with almost all U.S. states participating as well as 22 other countries. These events share the same goals: "To honor fallen cyclists, to promote road safety, and to make a difference."
Bike safety is not a fleeting issue – especially here in Florida which ranks as the very worst in the nation for cyclist safety, with the highest fatality rate for 10 years in a row. In 2014, eight cyclists were killed in Lee County crashes; in 2015, four cyclists were killed; and in 2016 to date, there has been one.
In memorializing injured and killed cyclists, the Ride of Silence seeks to draw motorists’ attention to a cyclist's legal rights to full use of the roadways, to inform motorists that we are here, to watch for us – as if our lives depended on it. Please come out to show your support and send the message that we deserve our right to operate on our own roads. We are not just bike riders, but friends and neighbors and we must all Share the Road.
Locally there are two Rides of Silence planned on May 18:
Fort Myers Ride of Silence: Sponsored by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club. Arrive by 6:45 p.m., ride begins promptly at 7 p.m. from Centennial Park, 2000 West First Street, Fort Myers. Cyclists will ride in a silent, funeral-style procession at 10-12 mph for 8 miles to honor those who have been killed or injured while cycling on public roadways. Riders are requested to wear black arm bands (or red if they have personally been injured in a cycling versus motor vehicle crash). No registration necessary, no charge. Helmets are required, and no headphones. For further details, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sanibel Ride of Silence: Sponsored by the Sanibel Bicycle Club in partnership with Matzaluna Restaurant and Billy's Bikes. Riders are encouraged to arrive at 6:30 p.m. at Matzaluna Restaurant (1200 Periwinkle Way). Safety vests, water, and air for tires will be available. At 7 p.m. promptly the ride will leave Matzaluna's, down Periwinkle Way to the Sanibel Causeway. The ride will cross over the first two bridges of the causeway, do the turnaround under the main span, and return to Matzaluna (approximately 7 miles round trip). Helmets required for all riders, and front and tail lights are required if you plan to ride your bike home after dinner. Matzaluna will provide discounted food and drink for all riders. For further details, call 395-1695.
-- Ken Gooderham writes this on behalf of BikeWalkLee, 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 www.BikeWalkLee.org
National Bike Challenge
May 1 was also the kickoff for the National Bike Challenge, a way for individuals, teams, workplaces and more to log their bike miles from now to the end of September.
It’s the brainchild of PeopleForBikes, a group working to make bicycling better for everyone by uniting millions of riders, thousands of businesses and hundreds of communities to create a powerful, united voice for bicycling and its benefits.
In its simplest form, the Challenge is an online logging center for users to record miles ridden and compete with other riders all over the country, either entering your mileage manually or using one of the Challenge apps.
It doesn’t matter if you’re riding hundreds of miles a week or just getting back in the saddle, you are welcome in the National Bike Challenge. Check it out online at nationalbikechallenge.org.
Ready to ride or run?
Run: This weekend, you can support Lovers Key (Turtle Trot 5K, ftmyerstrackclub.com). Next weekend, you can support fallen or injured police officers (Cape Cops 5K, ftmyerstrackclub.com) or music at Cape Coral High School (Seahawk Sprint for Music 5K, 3dracing.com).
Ride: Two Critical Mass rides ahead: Friday it’s Northeast Lee which gathers at 7:15 p.m. for an 8 p.m. roll out at the Winn-Dixie, 14600 Palm Beach Blvd. Saturday, it’s the Sanibel ride which gathers at 7:15 p.m. for a 7:45 p.m. roll out at Jerry’s Shopping Center, 1700 Periwinkle Way, on Sanibel. For both lights are required and helmets recommended.
Both: On Saturday, it’s the Cape Coral Yacht Club Sprint (capeparks.com or active.com)… or you can register and get ready for one of the raft of races coming up. Kids, hone your tri skills at a Triathlon Kids Camp with Coach Angie Ferguson. It’s offered Saturdays, June 4-25, for ages 6-13 at the Cypress Lake Pool, Fort Myers (active.com).
#BeSeenLee: To keep people safe at night while biking, we’re working to provide free bike lights to those unable to afford them (but who have to ride at night). BikeWalkLee partners (including Pawnbroker Marketing and Billy's Bikes) will be coordinating events during this campaign. Be sure to watch the BikeWalklee Facebook and Twitter pages for more #BeSeenLee event announcements and details.