Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Autonomous vehicles versus pedestrians and bicyclists

Florida Weekly 'Outdoors' column, 5/23/18
danMOSER
bikepedmoser@gmail.com

Will a turning autonomous vehicle sense and avoid this pedestrian? COURTESY PHOTO

In a perfect world, self-driving cars could be the best thing that can happen to all users of our transportation network, including those of us on foot and bike. Currently available technologies that assist drivers are proving effective in terms of reducing crashes, injuries and fatalities, primarily among motorists and their passengers.

Features as basic as back-up cameras/sensors and tire pressure monitoring systems to those as advanced as forward collision warning with auto braking have been found to significantly reduce collisions between motor vehicles. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that such systems reduce rear-end collisions by 40 percent and cut injuries by 30 percent in situations when a crash occurs. But the rush to move toward fully autonomous vehicles may be putting vulnerable road users even more at risk.

Removing human factor out of something as complex as operating a two-ton vehicle has both benefits and risks. Theoretically, when technology is working to its full extent and the human factor is removed the chances for error should be reduced to zero. But that assumes no mechanical or technological failings, something most of us who use any kind of technology would question as even being possible.

“What could go wrong?” comes to mind. From a more practical standpoint — at least in our lifetimes — most motor vehicles on our roads will not be fully autonomous but rather have some level of automation so there will still be the human factor mixed with technology. If used as envisioned this combination should improve safety for everyone.

The various business interests involved in developing and selling autonomous vehicles, as well others that will realize financial benefits by using them, are moving very quickly toward getting them approved and on the market.

Those who regulate these vehicles — government, from the feds to local jurisdictions — have been pretty generous in allowing testing on public roads of a technology and industry that’s still fledgling. While crashes, injuries and fatalities related to them have been few, serious flaws have been exposed that should give developers and regulators pause. One major shortcoming relates to the ability of driverless vehicles to adequately sense and safely operate around pedestrians and people on bikes.

Granted, the current environment on our roads for pedestrians and cyclists is shaky at best due to motorists’ inattention, poor judgment and just plain bad driving. But in the early stages of testing driverless vehicles we need to be mindful of their limitations.

As was stated by Bryan Reimer, Ph.D., associate director of the New England University Transportation Center at MIT, in a Consumer Reports article on the matter: “We think about these technologies as being highly intelligent. They’re not. What are machines doing here? They’re operating on behavior they have learned from us.”

Until these vehicles get beyond the “learning” stage, our public transportation system and the vulnerable users sharing them should not be used as live testing grounds. Any legitimate research trial would never put humans at risk without their agreement.

This issue isn’t going away anytime soon. You can stay abreast of how it affects non-motorists and what is being done to protect us at BikeWalkLee’s blog, bikewalklee.blogspot.com. Also, a homegrown effort to address our dismal traffic record is getting off the ground. Lee County departments, Lee Health and the Lee County Injury Prevention Coalition are seeking the organizations to be part of the solution. See www.visionzeronetwork.org to learn more. ¦


- Dan Moser is a long-time bicycle/pedestrian advocate and traffic safety professional who cycles, runs and walks regularly for transportation, recreation and fitness. Contact him at bikepedmoser@gmail.com and 334-6417. 

For Lee County cycling and tri events visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (caloosariders.org); Florida Mudcutters (mudcutters.org); and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL). The Florida Bicycle Association (floridabicycle.org) is your source for statewide happenings. BikeWalkLee’s blog site has all the information you’ll need to stay abreast of advocacy efforts in Southwest Florida as well as statewide and nationally.




Monday, May 21, 2018

May 21: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Running/walking:
  • Monday, May 28: SNIP Collier Memorial Day 5K. Proceeds of the this race will go to SNIP Collier, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization. Our goal is to end the euthanizing of otherwise adoptable dogs due to the pet overpopulation crisis. 8 a.m. (gcrunner.org)
  • Monday, May 28: 2018 Sandoval 5K Run/Walk, 2573 Sandoval Parkway, Cape Coral (3dracinginc.com)
  • Saturday, June 9: Sugden Stride 5K, 7 a.m., Sugden Regional Park, Naples (eliteevents.org) 
  • Saturday, June 16: Veterans 5K, Estero Community Park, Estero (active.com)
  • Wednesday, July 4: Freedom 5K, 7 a.m., Cape Coral Bridge (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Wednesday, July 4: USA Independence Day 5K, 7 a.m., Germaine Arena, Estero (eliteevents.org).
  • Wednesday, July 4: Moe’s Firecracker 5K, 7 a.m., Fleishmann Park, Naples (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday, July 28: Eagle Lakes 5K, 7 a.m., Eagle Lakes Regional Park, Naples (eliteevents.org)
  • For more running events visit gcrunner.org/calendar.html; ftmyerstrackclub.com/race-calendar; and 3dracinginc.com

Cycling:
  • Friday, May 25: Cape Coral Critical Mass ride. Gather at 7:30 p.m. at 4706 SE 11th Place for a family-friendly ride through the Cape. Lights required, helmets recommended. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Saturday, May 26: Saturday Slow Roll. 8 a.m. meet-up at 2160 McGregor Blvd. Recommended for inexperienced/young riders. Distance is 6 miles, includes group ride instruction. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Friday, June 1: SW Florida Critical Mass ride. A family-friendly slow ride through Fort Myers starting at a special time: 7:15 p.m. Front and rear bike lights required. Grab your helmet, bring all your friends and meet in the open field next to Publix at First Street Village, 2160 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Ongoing: Join the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club on one of their many weekly rides for members and potential members, with an array of paces and routes to choose from. Check them out online at www.caloosariders.org.
  • For more Lee County cycling and tri events, visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (caloosariders.org); Florida Mudcutters (mudcutters.org); and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL).

Triathlons:
  • Sunday, June 3: Fitness Challenge Sprint Tri, Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, Naples (active.com)
  • Saturday, July 14: Englewood YMCA Sprint Tri, Englewood. (active.com)
  • Check trifind.com to find regional and state tris.

Monday, May 14, 2018

May 14: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Running/walking:
  • Saturday, May 19: Cape Cops 5K. Proceeds from this event will be used to assist families of fallen and injured officers. 7:30 a.m., Cape Coral Yacht Club, Cape Coral (ftmyerstrackclub.com
  • Monday, May 28: SNIP Collier Memorial Day 5K. Proceeds of the this race will go to SNIP Collier, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization. Our goal is to end the euthanizing of otherwise adoptable dogs due to the pet overpopulation crisis. 8 a.m. (gcrunner.org)
  • Monday, May 28: 2018 Sandoval 5K Run/Walk, 2573 Sandoval Parkway, Cape Coral (3dracinginc.com)
  • Saturday, June 9: Sugden Stride 5K, 7 a.m., Sugden Regional Park, Naples (eliteevents.org)
  • Saturday, June 16: Veterans 5K, Estero Community Park, Estero (active.com)
  • Wednesday, July 4: Freedom 5K, 7 a.m., Cape Coral Bridge (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Wednesday, July 4: USA Independence Day 5K, 7 a.m., Germaine Arena, Estero (eliteevents.org).
  • Wednesday, July 4: Moe’s Firecracker 5K, 7 a.m., Fleishmann Park, Naples (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday, July 28: Eagle Lakes 5K, 7 a.m., Eagle Lakes Regional Park, Naples (eliteevents.org)
  • For more running events visit gcrunner.org/calendar.html; ftmyerstrackclub.com/race-calendar; and 3dracinginc.com

Cycling:
  • Wednesday, May 16: Ride of Silence, to remember cyclists killed or injured on public roadways. Centennial Park, Fort Myers, ride starts at 7 p.m. Details at www.caloosariders.org
  • Friday, May 25: Cape Coral Critical Mass ride. Gather at 7:30 p.m. at 4706 SE 11th Place for a family-friendly ride through the Cape. Lights required, helmets recommended. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Saturday, May 26: Saturday Slow Roll. 8 a.m. meet-up at 2160 McGregor Blvd. Recommended for inexperienced/young riders. Distance is 6 miles, includes group ride instruction. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Friday, June 1: SW Florida Critical Mass ride. A family-friendly slow ride through Fort Myers starting at a special time: 7:15 p.m. Front and rear bike lights required. Grab your helmet, bring all your friends and meet in the open field next to Publix at First Street Village, 2160 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Ongoing: Join the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club on one of their many weekly rides for members and potential members, with an array of paces and routes to choose from. Check them out online at www.caloosariders.org.
  • For more Lee County cycling and tri events, visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (caloosariders.org); Florida Mudcutters (mudcutters.org); and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL).

Triathlons:
  • Sunday, June 3: Fitness Challenge Sprint Tri, Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, Naples (active.com)
  • Saturday, July 14: Englewood YMCA Sprint Tri, Englewood. (active.com)
  • Check trifind.com to find regional and state tris.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Cape is walking the walk


BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, 5/10/2018
by Ken Gooderham


If you like to walk in Cape Coral, the city has had a lot of good news for you lately.

The recent announcement that some five miles of sidewalks will be constructed in the next few years is welcome indeed. The additional mention that these projects will be in areas near schools is even better.

The fact that this project joins an ever-growing list of sidewalk efforts is the best news of all.

All this is solid evidence that Cape Coral is working to build on its recent (and successful) efforts to improve biking in the sprawling city – a mission made very clear in the recently (2017) adopted Bicycle + Pedestrian Master Plan.

You can find the complete plan online at: https://www.capecoral.net/department/parks_and_recreationhome/bike-ped/Report.pdf

The plan’s goals are:
  • Achieve Silver or Gold Bicycle Friendly Community designation by the League of American Bicyclists
  • Achieve Walk Friendly Community designation by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center
  • Reduce the number of bicycle and pedestrian crashes by half within five years
  • Reduce the share of all bicycle and pedestrian crashes in Cape Coral that occur along Del Prado Boulevard, Cape Coral Parkway, Santa Barbara Boulevard, and Pine Island Road from approximately 50% to 25% within ten years
  • Double the combined walking, biking and transit commute mode share to 3% within 5 years (Currently 1.5% for walking, biking and transit in Cape Coral)
  • Create a 228-mile walkway network within 20 years (135 miles currently; 93 miles proposed)
  • Create a 202-mile on-street bikeway network within 20 years (66 miles currently; 136 miles proposed)
  • Create a 31-mile multi-use path network within 20 years (9 miles currently; 22 miles proposed)

Focused goals, tangible results and a specific timetable… this might just happen!

That would be good news for Cape students (safer routes to school) bikers/walkers (more facilities and safer streets) and residents (more transportation options that could mean fewer cars). This kind of infrastructure is also going to be crucial as Cape Coral works to grow into its massive boundaries – 110 square miles of dry land plus 10 square miles of water – and as transportation alternatives become more necessary (because you just can’t build that many new roadways when your population races past a half-million).

While we’re congratulating the City of Cape Coral, kudos also should go to the Florida Dept. of Transportation (FDOT), which is funding much of this infrastructure investment. This kind of partnership can bring real results, and both governments should be thanked for making this happen.

Ride of Silence reminder

Those wishing to honor killed or injured cyclists should remember to join one of the two Rides of Silence being held in Lee County on May 16.

The Fort Myers ride, sponsored by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, gathers by 6:45 p.m. to start at 7 p.m. from Centennial Park in downtown Fort Myers.

The Sanibel ride, sponsored by the Sanibel Bicycle Club in partnership with Matzaluna Restaurant and Billy's Bikes, gathers at 6:15 p.m. at Matzaluna (1200 Periwinkle Way) to leave at 7 p.m.

Riders are requested to wear black arm bands or red if they have personally been injured in a cycling versus motor vehicle accident. Everyone welcome, free of charge, and no registration is necessary. Helmets are required, lights are recommended no headphones please.

Lehigh meeting

If you live, work, or play in Lehigh and support the proposed 5.5-mile pathway that will connect Lehigh Acres Trailhead Park to the Lehigh Acres Community Park and the Harnes Marsh, allowing residents and visitors to bike or walk between these popular destinations, now is the time to make your voices heard. This proposed FDOT-funded project has been in the study/planning phases since 2013, and is now at the stage when alternative locations and conceptual designs are available for public input. It's important that pathway supporters attend this open house to show their support for moving forward to implementation of this important project.

The meeting will be 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, May 17, at the Veterans Park Recreation Center, 55 Homestead Road South, Lehigh Acres, FL 33936. The meeting will be an open-house format with no formal presentation.

Ready to ride or run?

Run? Some 5Ks ahead to get you moving: Turtle Trot 5K on May 12, 8 a.m., Lovers Key State Park, Fort Myers Beach; and the Cape Cops 5K on May 19, 7:30 a.m., Cape Coral Yacht Club, Cape Coral (details for both at ftmyerstrackclub.com).
 
Ride? Critical Mass meets up for its NE Lee ride tomorrow (May 11), and for its Sanibel ride Saturday. For the night rides, lights are mandatory; for all rides helmets are suggested. Details at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/.

Both? Next up is the Cape Coral sprint at the Yacht Club on Saturday, May 12 (details at active.com or capecoral.net). Ahead:
  • Sunday, June 3: Fitness Challenge Sprint Tri, Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, Naples (active.com).
  • Saturday, July 14: Englewood YMCA Sprint Triathlon, Englewood (active.com)
  • Also, registration opened for the Galloway Captiva Tri on May 1; the race weekend is Sept. 15-16, with the kids’ events Saturday and the sprint tri Sunday.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RIDE:

Have a favorite route you like to bike, or a unique walk you’d like to share with others? Tell us about it at info@bikewalklee.org, and maybe we can feature it in an upcoming column.

# # #

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. 


 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Hit those wheels — May is National Bike Month

Florida Weekly 'Outdoors' column, 5/9/18
danMOSER
bikepedmoser@gmail.com

Bike parking structures like this make clear how welcome cyclists are at this business in Estero.
As Southwest Florida’s weather turns from warm to nearly unbearable, much of the rest of the country is finally bidding farewell to an unusually long winter. Folks from up North are now able to ride bikes without having to deal with all that comes with the cold and other nasty aspects of winter. The League of American Bicyclists has recognized this turn of season annually since 1956 by designating May as National Bike Month.

Because May’s heat can be challenging for those of us in this part of the country the Florida Bicycle Association has designated March as Florida Bike Month. But the FBA also recognizes LAB’s Bike Month, as do many communities in Florida that take part in one way or another. The good news for Southwest Floridians is that the almost daily thunderstorms usually won’t begin before late in the month or early June, meaning conditions are still fine for cycling so long as the heat is taken into consideration.

National Bike Month consists of a number of elements: Bike to School Day is May 9; Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 13, is CycloFemme Day, intended to encourage women to ride and promote the value of doing so; and Bike to Work Week is May 14-18 with Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 18. Check in with BikeWalkLee at bikewalklee.blogspot.com for local events or see if your workplace has anything planned during the week or month.

Not technically associated with LAB’s activities but happening throughout the world during National Bike Month is Ride of Silence on Wednesday evening, May 16. It’s a slow-speed and somber ride to recognize all those who’ve lost their lives while on a bike. Fort Myers holds its annual ROS at 7 p.m. from Centennial Park downtown, and Sanibel will conduct its ride from Matzaluna restaurant, also beginning at 7 p.m. Visit www.rideofsilence.org for all other ROS locations.

Even if there’s nothing organized, why not ride to work alone or with a friend or co-worker? Or just make it a point to ride as much as possible during the month. Who knows, it may just become a habit once you realize how much satisfaction and benefit it provides.

While on the subject of cycling, I received some feedback on my previous column about road position that I’d like to share. As I’ve stated many times, having the right to the road comes with responsibility as well. Here’s what one reader wrote: “Having read your article, a few thoughts come to mind. I’m sure your knowledge of the law in this regard is correct. I had no clue about the Florida DOT laws in this regard and learned quite a bit from the article. I also noticed that you did not discuss the fact that bicycles also are obliged to follow the rules of the road, same as cars. Living in Bonita Bay, I notice bikers do not think they need to stop for stop signs — ever! I believe this behavior and the fact that a bicyclist riding in the center of a lane at say 15 mph and holding up traffic instills in the driver a negative feeling that just may outweigh the slim possibility of being hit by a side mirror if hugging the right side of the lane. If a car was driving at 15 mph in front of you on a 30 mph road I’m thinking you may become a little impatient. I know I would.”

The issue of cyclists blowing stop signs and red lights is one I hear about a lot. While I’d like to see the Idaho Stop Law in place throughout the country (Title 49, Chapter 7, 49-720; cyclists may treat a red light as a STOP sign and a STOP sign as a YIELD sign), this is not the case in Florida and, as far as I’ve been able to determine only Delaware and parts of Colorado have some version of it.

So, particularly at locations where there are many eyes on us, it’s imperative that we obey traffic law pertaining to stopping. Flaunting the law — which also means being unpredictable — gives all cyclists a bad name and perpetuates the belief among many motorists (and some law enforcers) that cyclists should not be allowed to use the road when a pathway exists or at least must hug the gutter when in the travel lane. For those who routinely ignore traffic law when on a bike, please consider the overall effect of your behavior on your fellow cyclists and yourself. There’s no need to give certain motorists justification for disrespecting cyclists. ¦

- Dan Moser is a long-time bicycle/pedestrian advocate and traffic safety professional who cycles, runs and walks regularly for transportation, recreation and fitness. Contact him at bikepedmoser@gmail.com and 334-6417. 

For Lee County cycling and tri events visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (caloosariders.org); Florida Mudcutters (mudcutters.org); and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL). The Florida Bicycle Association (floridabicycle.org) is your source for statewide happenings. BikeWalkLee’s blog site has all the information you’ll need to stay abreast of advocacy efforts in Southwest Florida as well as statewide and nationally.








Monday, May 7, 2018

May 7: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Running/walking:
  • Saturday, May 12: Turtle Trot 5K. This unique trail course takes runners through a shady maritime hammock ecosystem on a hard packed shell path. No part of the course requires running through beach sand. The course ends at the pavilion overlooking the beach where refreshments will be served and awards will be presented. 8 a.m., Lovers Key State Park, Fort Myers Beach (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Saturday, May 19: Cape Cops 5K, 7:30 a.m., Cape Coral Yacht Club, Cape Coral (ftmyerstrackclub.com
  • Monday, May 28: SNIP Collier Memorial Day 5K, 8 a.m. (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday, June 9: Sugden Stride 5K, 7 a.m., Sugden Regional Park, Naples (eliteevents.org)
  • Saturday, June 16: Veterans 5K, Estero Community Park, Estero (active.com)
  • Wednesday, July 4: Freedom 5K, 7 a.m., Cape Coral Bridge (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Wednesday, July 4: USA Independence Day 5K, 7 a.m., Germaine Arena, Estero (eliteevents.org).
  • Wednesday, July 4: Moe’s Firecracker 5K, 7 a.m., Fleishmann Park, Naples (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday, July 28: Eagle Lakes 5K, 7 a.m., Eagle Lakes Regional Park, Naples (eliteevents.org)
  • For more running events visit gcrunner.org/calendar.html; ftmyerstrackclub.com/race-calendar; and 3dracinginc.com

Cycling:
  • Friday, May 11: NE-Lee Critical Mass ride, gathers at 7:30 p.m. at the Winn-Dixie, 14600 Palm Beach Blvd. Lights required, helmets recommended.  (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Saturday, May 12: Sanibel Critical Mass ride, gathers at 7:30 p.m. at Jerry’s Shopping Center, 1700 Periwinkle Way, on Sanibel. Lights required, helmets recommended. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Wednesday, May 16: Ride of Silence, to remember cyclists killed or injured on public roadways. Centennial Park, Fort Myers, ride starts at 7 p.m. Details at www.caloosariders.org.
  • Ongoing: Join the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club on one of their many weekly rides for members and potential members, with an array of paces and routes to choose from. Check them out online at www.caloosariders.org.
  • For more Lee County cycling and tri events, visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (caloosariders.org); Florida Mudcutters (mudcutters.org); and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL).

Triathlons:
  • Saturday, May 12: Cape Coral Yacht Club Sprint Tri (active.com).
  • Sunday, June 3: Fitness Challenge Sprint Tri, Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, Naples (active.com)
  • Saturday, July 14: Englewood YMCA Sprint Tri, Englewood. (active.com)
  • Check trifind.com to find regional and state tris.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Join a Ride of Silence event on May 16th

 May has arrived and time to firm up your plans to join one of the two local Ride of Silence events (Fort Myers and Sanibel) on Wed. evening May 16th to honor fallen cyclists and promote road safety.

What began in 2003 in Dallas as a spontaneous outpouring of grief for a friend and fellow rider, struck and killed by the mirror of a passing vehicle, has rolled across the globe to become an international annual event memorializing and honoring cyclists who have been injured and killed while riding.

The Ride of Silence is a worldwide event, with almost all USA States participating, along with 22 other countries.


 
 

Previous Ride of Silence, Fort Myers
 The many hundreds of 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 ten years in a row.

In 2017, 4 cyclists were killed in Lee County crashes, in 2016, 9 cyclists were killed, and 1 cyclist has been killed in 2018 to date.





The Ride of Silence, in memorializing riders injured and killed, seeks to draw motorist's attention to 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--downtown Fort Myers and Sanibel.

Fort Myers Ride of Silence: Sponsored by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club
Arrive by 6:45, ride begins promptly at 7:00 PM
Centennial Park 2000 W First St, Fort Myers (Under the Bridge at Heitman and Bay Streets)
 
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 accident.
· Everyone welcome, free of charge. No registration necessary.
· Helmets are required, no headphones please.
· For further details email: ros@caloosariders.org or check CRCBC website.

Sanibel Ride of Silence: Sponsored by the Sanibel Bicycle Club in partnership with Matzaluna Restaurant and Billy's Bikes.
Gathering for Sanibel ride at Matzaluna's
 
  • Riders are encouraged to arrive at 6:15 p.m. at Matzaluna Restaurant (1200 Periwinkle Way) for a short educational program.

    · At 7:00 p.m. promptly the ride will leave Matzaluna's, down Periwinkle Way to the Sanibel Causeway. The ride will cross over the first 2 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, contact Salli Kirkland 239-472-3620.












Monday, April 30, 2018

April 30: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Running/walking:
  • Sunday, May 6: Tropicool 5K. Enjoy a wonderful 5K race that showcases the beautiful streets of Olde Naples. This course is two loops starting on Broad Street. Proceeds of the Tropicool will go to the Gulf Coast Runners Youth Development Fund. 1161 Third Street South, Naples (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday, May 12: Turtle Trot 5K, This unique trail course takes runners through a shady maritime hammock ecosystem on a hard packed shell path. No part of the course requires running through beach sand. The course ends at our pavilion overlooking the beach where refreshments will be served and awards will be presented. 8 a.m., Lovers Key State Park, Fort Myers Beach (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Saturday, May 19: Cape Cops 5K, 7:30 a.m., Cape Coral Yacht Club, Cape Coral (ftmyerstrackclub.com
  • Monday, May 28: SNIP Collier Memorial Day 5K, 8 a.m. (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday, June 9: Sugden Stride 5K, 7 a.m., Sugden Regional Park, Naples (eliteevents.org)
  • Saturday, June 16: Veterans 5K, Estero Community Park, Estero (active.com)
  • Wednesday, July 4: Freedom 5K, 7 a.m., Cape Coral Bridge (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Wednesday, July 4: USA Independence Day 5K, 7 a.m., Germaine Arena, Estero (eliteevents.org).
  • Wednesday, July 4: Moe’s Firecracker 5K, 7 a.m., Fleishmann Park, Naples (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday, July 28: Eagle Lakes 5K, 7 a.m., Eagle Lakes Regional Park, Naples (eliteevents.org)
  • For more running events visit gcrunner.org/calendar.html; ftmyerstrackclub.com/race-calendar; and 3dracinginc.com

Cycling:
  • Friday, May 4: SW Florida Critical Mass ride. A family-friendly slow ride through Fort Myers starting at a special time: 7:15 p.m. Front and rear bike lights required. Grab your helmet, bring all your friends and meet in the open field next to Publix at First Street Village, 2160 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Friday, May 11: NE-Lee Critical Mass ride, gathers at 7:30 p.m. at the Winn-Dixie, 14600 Palm Beach Blvd. Lights required, helmets recommended.  (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Saturday, May 12: Sanibel Critical Mass ride, gathers at 7:30 p.m. at Jerry’s Shopping Center, 1700 Periwinkle Way, on Sanibel. Lights required, helmets recommended. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Wednesday, May 16: Ride of Silence, to remember cyclists killed or injured on public roadways. Centennial Park, Fort Myers, ride starts at 7 p.m. Details at www.caloosariders.org.
  • Ongoing: Join the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club on one of their many weekly rides for members and potential members, with an array of paces and routes to choose from. Check them out online at www.caloosariders.org.
  • For more Lee County cycling and tri events, visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (caloosariders.org); Florida Mudcutters (mudcutters.org); and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL).

Triathlons:
  • Saturday, May 12: Cape Coral Yacht Club Sprint Tri (active.com).
  • Sunday, June 3: Fitness Challenge Sprint Tri, Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, Naples (active.com)
  • Saturday, July 14: Englewood YMCA Sprint Tri, Englewood. (active.com)
  • Check trifind.com to find regional and state tris.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

BikeWalkLee: Passing on your left!


BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, 4/26/2018
by Ken Gooderham



Recently, a morning ride took me through Lakes Regional Park, a usually popular place made even more so that day by the weekly farmers’ market. Because of this, the shared-use paths were filled with walkers and the occasional cyclist.

As is (usually) my habit, I warned any walker I was approaching from behind with a “Passing on your left”… particularly useful, I’ve found, when you are actually passing on their left. Their responses fell into one of three categories:
  • “Thanks” and/or a friendly wave.
  • A startled scurry to the side of the path.
  • Complete ignorance, either due to headphones or an engrossing conversation.

Of course, there is no right response, but the range is typical – and interesting. It also raised the eternal quandary: “To warn or not to warn, that is the question.”

Those steeped in their Florida Statutes (you know who you are) know that there is no question on this – it’s the law to provide “an audible warning” before passing a pedestrian (F.S. 316.2065(10) for those keeping score).

Of course, just because it’s the law doesn’t mean it actually happens… which explains the range of responses above. Many walkers are not used to being warned before passing, but many of them appreciate the gesture.

The warning – whether by voice, bell or other device – is not to scare people, but to avoid surprising them – or having them inadvertently do something (such as swerve) that could cause a collision with the cyclist. (The same motivation should come into play when passing other cyclists… particularly the “avoiding collision” part.)

Such situations also underscore the importance of having something that will cut through the din when a shout just won’t do. One group walking four abreast could not hear my warning over their own conversations, but they sure did hear the bell that followed it up. Said bell also cuts through most (but not all) earphone noise, a useful trait.

Warnings also play a big role in many group rides, particularly larger groups whose riders are both experienced and fast. Riders will warn one another of approaching vehicles, pedestrians and hazards, as well as of impending actions such as turns and stops. Watching – or, even more, listening – to an experienced group keep every cyclist aware of what’s happening around them is a sight to behold (or be-hear).

Speaking of turns and stops, it’s also the law for any vehicle (including cyclists) to warn other vehicles in advance. It’s also a smart way for a cyclist to take control of an impending interaction with motor vehicles, to both warn them of your plans and show that you are being a responsible vehicle operator.

Will everyone warn or signal? Of course not. Should they? Yes!

Anything that can help everyone using the roadway or pathway safer and less likely to collide is a smart thing to do – for all parties involved.

Ready to ride or run?



Run? As the temperatures rise, the organized run season winds down… with a 5K Run/2 Mile Walk to Support Head & Neck Cancer Patients at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers Saturday, and the Tropicool 5K in Naples May 6. Details at 3dracinginc.com and gcrunner.org.
 
Ride? Critical Mass meets up for its Cape Coral ride tomorrow (April 27), and for its Slow Roll in downtown fort Myers Saturday morning. Then it’s back downtown on the night of May for the big CM ride. For thee night rides, lights are mandatory; for all rides helmets are suggested. Details at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/.

Both? Next up is the Cape Coral sprint at the Yacht Club (obviously, bacteria levels permitting) on Saturday, May 12 (details at active.com). Ahead:
  • Sunday, June 3: Fitness Challenge Sprint Tri, Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, Naples (active.com).
  • Saturday, July 14: Englewood YMCA Sprint Triathlon, Englewood (active.com)
  • Also, registration opens for the Galloway Captiva Tri on May 1; the race weekend is Sept. 15-16, with the kids’ events Saturday and the sprint tri Sunday.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RIDE:

Have a favorite route you like to bike, or a unique walk you’d like to share with others? Tell us about it at info@bikewalklee.org, and maybe we can feature it in an upcoming column.

# # #

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. 


 

Attend May 17th Open House re: Abel Canal Pathway Project

If you live, work, or play in Lehigh and support the proposed 5.5 mile pathway that will connect Lehigh Acres Trailhead Park, to the Lehigh Acres Community Park and the Harnes Marsh, allowing residents and visitors to bike or walk between these popular destinations, now is the time to make your voices heard. This proposed FDOT-funded project has been in the study/planning phases since 2013, and is now at the stage that alternative locations and conceptual designs are available for public input.  It's important that pathway supporters attend this open house to show their support for moving forward to implementation of this important project.Read  BWL's March 2017 blog post for background.

FDOT Press Release 4/25/18________________________________________________________________
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), District One, will hold an Alternatives Public Meeting for the Able Canal Pathway PD&E Study from Harns Marsh to Joel Boulevard (CR 884) in Lee County, Florida. We invite you to attend the meeting anytime from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 17, 2018, at the Veterans Park Recreation Center, 55 Homestead Road South, Lehigh Acres, FL 33936. The meeting will be held as an open house format with no formal presentation. A location map for the meeting is enclosed. FDOT will send notices to all property owners located at least 300 feet on either side of Able Canal within the project limits, as well as to public officials, regulatory agencies, organizations, and people interested in the project. People attending the meeting may review the proposed pathway alternatives under consideration and speak one-on-one with project team members. This meeting will give interested persons an opportunity to express their views concerning the location, conceptual design, and social, economic, and environmental effects of the proposed improvements.

Build Alternatives for the proposed shared-use pathway include one option on the north side of the Able Canal, one option on the south side of the canal, and combination options (“hybrids”) of the north and south alignments. All Build Alternatives include a connection to Harns Marsh, located north of the Able Canal. The purpose of the pathway is to facilitate the use of viable, non-motorized travel options for commuters and recreational users in the Able Canal corridor and within the Lehigh Acres community, by providing connections between nearby residential areas and Lehigh Acres park facilities. The No-Build Alternative will remain a viable alternative throughout the study.

If you have questions about the project or scheduled Alternatives Public Meeting, please contact the Project Manager, Steven Andrews, at (863) 519-2270 or by e-mail to steven.andrews@dot.state.fl.us seven (7) days prior to the meeting. You can also visit the project website at www.swflroads.com/ablecanalpathway.

 
 Previous BWL Blog
March 10, 2017: Action Alert: Support the Abel Canal Trail project in Lehigh Acres

 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Cyclists, pedestrians need to know safe and legal road position

Florida Weekly 'Outdoors' column, 4/25/18
danMOSER
bikepedmoser@gmail.com

This is a column topic I was hoping I’d not have to write about again. But it seems the misunderstanding/misuse of certain traffic laws by those who enforce these laws remain all too common when cyclists or pedestrians are involved. The Florida Bicycle Association alerted me to a news story about a cyclist in Cape Coral who was cited for riding near the middle of a travel lane on a four-lane road rather than hugging the right side. While riding close to the edge may sound reasonable to those who don’t know better, riding further into the lane is a practice consistently taught by American Bicycling Education Association and League of American Bicyclists, the two most prominent providers of such education programs.

Why are cyclists instructed to operate away from the right edge? Because it’s much safer and perfectly legal in most cases. Safer because motorists approaching from behind will recognize from a distance they can’t squeeze past without moving out of the lane. Too many cyclists riding on the edge have been buzzed, squeezed off the road, or even hit by a mirror by motorists who miscalculate space to pass or who believe the road position is an invitation to pass within the lane.

It’s legal to ride toward the lane’s center because whenever a vehicle travel lane is too narrow for a bike and motor vehicle to safely share a bicyclist using the lane may ride anywhere in that lane he or she deems safest. The vast majority of lanes are too narrow to be considered shareable. The exact wording of the Florida law addressing roadway position reads:

“Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride in the lane marked for bicycle use or, if no lane is marked for bicycle use, as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:

1. When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.

2. When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

3. When reasonably necessary to avoid any condition or potential conflict, including, but not limited to, a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, bicycle, pedestrian, animal, surface hazard, turn lane, or substandard-width lane, which makes it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge or within a bicycle lane. For the purposes of this subsection, a “substandard-width lane” is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.”


The third exception, specific to substandard-width lane, allows a cyclist to use any part of the lane. So, it boils down to two questions law enforcers (and all road users) should know the answers to: What is the definition of a substandard-width lane? And what constitutes legal obstruction of traffic as opposed to illegal obstruction?

The Florida Department of Transportation defines a substandard-width lane as less than 14 feet, even though the vast majority of FDOT’s and other local roadway lanes are 12 feet or less. That being the case, except in the rare situation where the lane is at least 14 feet (technically defined by FDOT as a Wide Curb Lane), a person operating a bike may use any part of the lane. In fact, FDOT’s own statement reinforces it: “With the exception of a few types of high-speed, limited-access roadways (for example an Interstate Highway or the Turnpike), every FDOT travel lane is also a bikeway — no special signs or markings needed. In the state of Florida, the bicycle is considered a legal vehicle and may be operated on the street, unless there is some guidance otherwise, such as marked bicycle lane. Standard travel lanes are 12 feet wide and too narrow to share, so you will need to control the lane.”

That makes clear lane position and it also reinforces that it is legal in such circumstances to obstruct traffic when operating below the speed limit. And it also means cyclists may ride two-abreast in substandard-width lane since two cyclists riding abreast are not impeding traffic any more than a single cyclist legally taking the lane in a substandard-width lane. Maybe it’s asking too much for the general public to understand or agree but law enforcers need to follow this clear guidance of the statute and logic behind it.

As a reminder, when bike lanes exist, cyclists are compelled to use them rather than the motor vehicle traffic lanes except when passing, preparing for turns, or when a number of conditions constitute exceptions, including poor design (i.e. next to on-street parking), lack of maintenance and debris/hazard avoidance, among others.

For more about this matter, visit flbikelaws.org and bikewalklee.blogspot.com. And don’t forget to sign up to climb Oasis Tower on Saturday, April 28. See www.ClimbFortMyers.org. ¦

- Dan Moser is a long-time bicycle/pedestrian advocate and traffic safety professional who cycles, runs and walks regularly for transportation, recreation and fitness. Contact him at bikepedmoser@gmail.com and 334-6417. 

For Lee County cycling and tri events visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (caloosariders.org); Florida Mudcutters (mudcutters.org); and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL). The Florida Bicycle Association (floridabicycle.org) is your source for statewide happenings. BikeWalkLee’s blog site has all the information you’ll need to stay abreast of advocacy efforts in Southwest Florida as well as statewide and nationally.








Monday, April 23, 2018

April 23: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Running/walking:
  • Saturday, April 28: 6th Annual 5K Run/2 Mile Walk to Support Head & Neck Cancer Patients. 100% of the funds will remain in Southwest Florida and will be used for Head & Neck cancer screening, treatment and follow-up care, financial assistance for Head & Neck cancer patients in need, and for educational programs related to Head & Neck cancer. Century Link Sports Complex at Hammond Stadium, 14100 Six Mile Cypress Pkwy, Fort Myers, FL 33912, 8 a.m. (3dracinginc.com) 
  • Sunday, May 6: Tropicool 5K. Enjoy a wonderful 5K race that showcases the beautiful streets of Olde Naples. This course is two loops starting on Broad Street. Proceeds of the Tropicool will go to the Gulf Coast Runners Youth Development Fund. 1161 Third Street South, Naples (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday, May 12: Turtle Trot 5K, This unique trail course takes runners through a shady maritime hammock ecosystem on a hard packed shell path. No part of the course requires running through beach sand. The course ends at our pavilion overlooking the beach where refreshments will be served and awards will be presented. 8 a.m., Lovers Key State Park, Fort Myers Beach (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Saturday, May 19: Cape Cops 5K, 7:30 a.m., Cape Coral Yacht Club, Cape Coral (ftmyerstrackclub.com
  • Monday, May 28: SNIP Collier Memorial Day 5K, 8 a.m. (gcrunner.org)
  • For more running events visit gcrunner.org/calendar.html; ftmyerstrackclub.com/race-calendar; and 3dracinginc.com

Cycling:
  • Friday, April 27: Cape Coral Critical Mass ride. Gather at 7:30 p.m. at 4706 SE 11th Place for a family-friendly ride through the Cape. Lights required, helmets recommended. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Saturday, April 28: Saturday Slow Roll. 8 a.m. meet-up at 2160 McGregor Blvd. Recommended for inexperienced/young riders. Distance is 6 miles, includes group ride instruction. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Friday, May 4: SW Florida Critical Mass ride. A family-friendly slow ride through Fort Myers starting at a special time: 7:15 p.m. Front and rear bike lights required. Grab your helmet, bring all your friends and meet in the open field next to Publix at First Street Village, 2160 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Wednesday, May 16: Ride of Silence, to remember cyclists killed or injured on public roadways. Centennial Park, Fort Myers, ride starts at 7 p.m. Details at www.caloosariders.org.
  • Ongoing: Join the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club on one of their many weekly rides for members and potential members, with an array of paces and routes to choose from. Check them out online at www.caloosariders.org.
  • For more Lee County cycling and tri events, visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (caloosariders.org); Florida Mudcutters (mudcutters.org); and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL).

Triathlons:
  • Saturday, May 12: Cape Coral Yacht Club Sprint Tri (active.com).
  • Sunday, June 3: Fitness Challenge Sprint Tri, Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, Naples (active.com)
  • Saturday, July 14: Englewood YMCA Sprint Tri, Englewood. (active.com)
  • Check trifind.com to find regional and state tris.

Monday, April 16, 2018

April 16: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Running/walking:
  • Saturday, April 21: Friends of Foster Children Forever 5K. Friends of Foster Children Forever is excited to announce its 2nd Annual 5K Race! This event is designed to bring awareness to our community about the foster care system. All proceeds from the race will benefit foster children in our community. Vineyards Community Park, Naples (gcrunner.org).
  • Saturday, April 21: Lipman 5K Run For Backpacks. Come help support students in Immokalee by signing up for the Lipman 5K Run For Backpacks. All proceeds from this event benefit the Lipman Backpack Giveaway in August. Runners and walkers are welcome! Registration on race day begins at 6:30am. Race begins 8 a.m. (active.com)
  • Sunday, May 6: Tropicool 5K. Enjoy a wonderful 5K race that showcases the beautiful streets of Olde Naples. This course is two loops starting on Broad Street. Proceeds of the Tropicool will go to the Gulf Coast Runners Youth Development Fund. 1161 Third Street South, Naples (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday, May 12: Turtle Trot 5K, This unique trail course takes runners through a shady maritime hammock ecosystem on a hard packed shell path. No part of the course requires running through beach sand. The course ends at our pavilion overlooking the beach where refreshments will be served and awards will be presented. 8 a.m., Lovers Key State Park, Fort Myers Beach (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Saturday, May 19: Cape Cops 5K, 7:30 a.m., Cape Coral Yacht Club, Cape Coral (ftmyerstrackclub.com
  • Monday, May 28: SNIP Collier Memorial Day 5K, 8 a.m. (gcrunner.org)
  • For more running events visit gcrunner.org/calendar.html; ftmyerstrackclub.com/race-calendar; and 3dracinginc.com

Cycling:

  • Wednesday, May 16: Ride of Silence, to remember cyclists killed or injured on public roadways. Centennial Park, Fort Myers, ride starts at 7 p.m. Details at www.caloosariders.org
  • Friday, April 27: Cape Coral Critical Mass ride. Gather at 7:30 p.m. at 4706 SE 11th Place for a family-friendly ride through the Cape. Lights required, helmets recommended. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Saturday, April 28: Saturday Slow Roll. 8 a.m. meet-up at 2160 McGregor Blvd. Recommended for inexperienced/young riders. Distance is 6 miles, includes group ride instruction. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Friday, May 4: SW Florida Critical Mass ride. A family-friendly slow ride through Fort Myers starting at a special time: 7:15 p.m. Front and rear bike lights required. Grab your helmet, bring all your friends and meet in the open field next to Publix at First Street Village, 2160 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/)
  • Ongoing: Join the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club on one of their many weekly rides for members and potential members, with an array of paces and routes to choose from. Check them out online at www.caloosariders.org.
  • For more Lee County cycling and tri events, visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (caloosariders.org); Florida Mudcutters (mudcutters.org); and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL).

Triathlons:
  • Saturday, May 12: Cape Coral Yacht Club Sprint Tri (active.com).
  • Sunday, June 3: Fitness Challenge Sprint Tri, Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, Naples (active.com)
  • Saturday, July 14: Englewood YMCA Sprint Tri, Englewood. (active.com)
  • Check trifind.com to find regional and state tris.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Editorial: Bringing walkable communities to Lee County



Bringing walkable communities to Lee County


Tom Hayden, THAYDEN@NEWS-PRESS.COMPublished 5:00 p.m. ET April 13, 2018



The standard blueprint for building a community over the last 50 years has become a predictable nightmare.

It went something like this: Find ways to pack as many homes into an area as possible, try and build a school nearby, and by all means build wide roads, to handle lots of traffic created by these huge residential developments and commercial centers.

The problem with the template is it encourages more cars, encourages more suburban development, takes people away from what could be enticing downtown centers and limits the ability of people to walk, cycle or take public transit to places. And in Lee County, the model has led to a high number of traffic fatalities,

Building bigger roads is not the answer for many designers and innovators of walkable communities using smart street designs. Encouraging walkable communities is working in places like Asheville, North Carolina, and even in bigger cities like Chicago and New York.

That's why local civic activist Ann Pierce has organized her second walkable community event, bringing in experts in redesign of communities who have wanted fewer cars, more walkers and cyclists, more public transit use and safer streets.

The event, called Creating the Future Today Designing for People, Place & Profit, is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, April 19 in Building U-102 on the campus of Florida Southwestern State College.

Communities encouraging less vehicle traffic are not someone's pipe dream. They are happening and working. Cape Coral has embraced some of it by creating over 90 miles of cycling paths. Fort Myers Beach has some of it with new sidewalks. Fort Myers has a walkable downtown area. But we need more, especially with new projects online for the Beach, Fort Myers and Cape Coral.

"We have got to put everything to better use," said Dan Burden, one of next week's speakers who has authored safe streets and walkable communities programs throughout the country. "We have to build the kind of streets that allow for the right development."

Young adults, the millennial's and the Generation X population, aren't interested in being dependent on their vehicles to get around their communities. According to the National Association of Realtors, 79 percent want to live in walkable communities, and only 14 percent of them live in neighborhoods they consider walkable.

Collier County is looking at putting sections of U.S. 41 on a road diet, decreasing the number of vehicle lanes from six to four. The other two lanes could be used for street parking or for buffered bike lanes.

Building more roads or expanding current roads to handle more traffic isn't working in Lee County. More cars simply increase the chances for more road fatalities. The National Complete Streets Coalition ranked the state the most dangerous in the nation for pedestrians, with 5,189 people killed between 2003-12, including 163 in Lee County.

And the number of people killed has only continued to go up as 117 people died in Lee County crashes in 2017. Reversing this horrifying trend is not in our near future as the state continues to be a popular destination for domestic visitors with a record 98 million coming last year, as well as another 14.8 million international visitors. In the Dangerous By Design Report issued by Smart Growth America in 2016, the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area ranked the worst for pedestrian deaths.

Communities are not ignoring the importance of complete streets as 1,200 policies are now in place at state, regional and local levels. Lee County created a Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Action Plan in 2013 with the goal of reducing fatality and serious injury rates each year through 2019. There is plenty of work to be done to reduce those rates by 17 percent over three years.

It starts with parking cars, and walking, cycling or using public transit as next week's speakers will frame in their presentations.

Joe Minicozzi, who analyzes return on investment outcomes of local government decision making, will tell you government engineers need to break from the habit of building wider roads. "They don't understand the diet problem," he said. "You just don't go out and buy a bigger set of clothing. You don't induce people to go farther out (from urban areas)."

He wants people to look at how much their cities are worth in terms of taxable value and how suburbs can drain a government budget because of the need to try and keep up with infrastructure as people crowd into gated communities.

He uses a baseball analogy to sum up the wrong thinking of some community planners. He says one has a better chance of getting to "home," if you take more pitches and draw a walk, rather than the low percentage route of swinging big and trying for a home run.

Minicozzi wants city planners to not focus on parking requirements where there is no real return on investment for businesses, but rather a design that limits parking spots and encourages people to leave their car in one location and then walk from place to place.

Another speaker, Victor Dover, who helps create sustainable, walkable communities, says it's only a myth that bigger, wider routes help move vehicles through an area quicker. He believes roads should be built to give a person a choice: driving, walking, cycling or public transit.

He believes in tree-lined streets because shade - especially in Florida - can encourage walking. He believes in restoring dying shopping centers and malls into small communities where people can live, work, shop and play. "There is a need for more housing at all price points," he said. "We need to look at life between the buildings."

People want to be encouraged to get out of their cars and away from the congestion. It's good business and it's good health.

Walkable communities event

When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, April 19

Where: Building U-102, Florida SouthWestern State College in Fort Myers

Cost: $90. Breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack included.

To register: MoveForward.ezevent.com

Speakers

Dan Burden, director of Innovation and Inspiration, Blue Zones, LLC. He will talk on Blue Zones or community improvement initiatives.

Jerry Champa, engineer, GHD. He will talk on transportation systems and other safety innovations.

David Clark, deputy secretary, Florida DEP. He will talk on integrating greenways and trails.

Victor Dover, principal-in-charge at Dover, Kohl and Partners. He will talk on thriving, walkable, thriving communities

Billy Hattaway, director, DOT, Orlando. He will talk on local government integration of land use and the new FDOT program.

Ian Lockwood, engineer, Toole Design Group. He will talk on solutions to increasing safety, economic and social value.

L.K. Nandam, FDOT Division 1 Secretary and DeWayne Carver, AICP. They will talk on the state's new complete streets program.

Joe Minicozzi, Urban 3. He will talk on analyzing return on investment outcomes of local government decision making.

Tom Hayden, senior engagement editor at The News-Press, writes this editorial on behalf of the editorial board.









Thursday, April 12, 2018

Getting your bike back home


BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, 4/12/2018
by Ken Gooderham



If you’re one of our many winter residents who is also a cyclist, what do you do with your bike when it’s time to head north?

For many, the choice is between taking it with you vs. leaving it here until you come back next fall. Either way, you’ll need to be prepared to ensure everything goes smoothly.

If you’re planning to take your bike back home, great. You can ride through the summer and keep your fitness level up (in temperatures hopefully more moderate than the ones we’ll be riding in here). Your choices will be guided by how you are transporting yourself northward.

If you’re driving, invest in a bike rack to carry your bike safely. You can find styles that strap onto your vehicle (behind or above) or that attach to your vehicle using a trailer hitch attached to the frame.

The removable racks can be eliminated once the need for transport is done, but they also are less secure (unless you have a way to lock your bike to something that cannot be removed easily) and will need to checked in route to ensure that straps and tie-downs have not loosened.

Trunk racks are easier to load than roof racks, and both types require you to get used to having something either behind or on top of your vehicle (so you adjust your driving habits appropriately).

The hitch racks enable you to lock your bike(s) down and are the best choice for carrying multiple bikes. If you’re planning to carry your bikes a lot, it’s probably the best choice and a wise investment… particularly to keep an expensive bike safe.

If your transportation northward is by air, you face the decision of whether to treat your bike as luggage or to leave the transport to someone else.

Flying with bikes can be expensive (it’s the airlines, after all) and potentially dangerous for your bike unless you invest in a sturdy case to protect it in transit. (Imagine what the airlines already do to your luggage – on steroids).

You could also look into a bike shipping service, which cuts hassle and the potential for damage. Your local bike store may be able to help with this, or let Google search one for you.

Of course, there may be a few hardy souls up for the Plan C option – ride your bike up north. If that’s your idea of a good time --  hood luck, have a great trip and send postcards from the road.

You could always leave your bike here, awaiting your return next fall. If that’s for you, just a few thoughts:
  • Store your bike in a secure place indoors. You do not want to see what a Florida summer could do to your ride.
  • Remove any electronics (or remove the batteries) and stow your water bottle (after cleaning, of course).
  • Speaking of cleaning, give your bike a good going-over to remove dirt and grime… one less thing you’ll need to do on your return.
  • Either have your bike mechanic give it a tune up, or do it yourself. In particular, lubricate the chain and cables, check the brake pads and top off the tires.
  • Depending on how long you’re going to be gone, you may want to flip your bike over so it’s resting on the seat and handlebars. Takes the pressure off the tires.
  • If you’re planning to hang it up, say in your garage, hang it by the frame rather than the wheels to avoid warping the rims.
That’s it! Enjoy your summer!

Blue Zone update

Want to find out more about the Blue Zones Project, an effort to learn from some of the world’s longest living citizens on ways to help you live a healthier and longer life?

You have an opportunity to hear from project co-founder Dan Buettner next Monday. He will share insights on living longer and better… and celebrate National Walking Day with a short jaunt (optional).

Many may not know that Southwest Florida is one of nine Blue Zones sites in the U.S. Per the website: “A Blue Zones Community® is an area in which citizens, schools, employers, restaurants, grocery stores, and community leaders have come together to optimize residents' longevity and well-being. ... By impacting environment, policy, and social networks, Blue Zones Project makes healthy choices easier.”

RSVP at https://southwestflorida.bluezonesproject.com/ for the event, which starts at 6 p.m. April 16 at Alico Arena. The event is free, and the project is worth finding out about.


Ready to ride or run?


Run? The Friends of Foster Children Forever 5K and the Lipman 5K Run for Backpacks will both compete on Saturday, April 21 (and both in Collier County), while the sixth annual 5K Run/Walk to Support Head & Neck Cancer Patients will be held at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers on April 28.
 
Ride? Critical Mass meets up for its NE Lee ride tomorrow (April 13), and for its Sanibel ride Saturday (April 14). Both are night rides, so lights are mandatory; for all rides helmets are suggested. Details at  Details at  Details at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL/events/.

Both?  Sunday brings the FGCU Eagle Sprint Tri and Dualthon, and bring your wetsuit if you wish; details at active.com Other upcoming tris:
  • Saturday, May 12: Cape Coral Yacht Club Sprint Tri (active.com).
  • Sunday, June 3: Fitness Challenge Sprint Tri, Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, Naples (active.com).
  • Saturday, July 14: Englewood YMCA Sprint Triathlon, Englewood (active.com)
  • Also, registration opens for the Galloway Captiva Tri on May 1; the race weekend is Sept. 15-16, with the kids’ events Saturday and the sprint tri Sunday.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RIDE:

Have a favorite route you like to bike, or a unique walk you’d like to share with others? Tell us about it at info@bikewalklee.org, and maybe we can feature it in an upcoming column.

# # #

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.