Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Cops: If you see something, do something


Florida Weekly 'Outdoors' column, July 31, 2019
danMOSER
bikepedmoser@gmail.com


It’s hard to miss this big rig blocking the sidewalk but it remained for weeks. DAN MOSER / FLORIDA WEEKLY

“If You See Something, Say Something” is an awareness campaign slogan that came to be after the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Obviously, it’s intended to spur the public to let law enforcement know whenever something seems suspicious, initially to thwart terrorist attacks. I’d like to suggest a new phrase with the intended target not being the public but rather the law enforcement community: “See Something, Do Something.” While it would seem obvious that anytime law enforcement officials see something amiss or illegal they act upon it in one way or another, the fact is it’s quite common for many illegal and dangerous acts that are traffic related to be overlooked or ignored.

Considering how horrific our traffic crash statistics are here in Southwest Florida I don’t believe it’s unreasonable to expect traffic law enforcement be a high priority. Vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and people on bikes are killed and injured at a rate almost double the national average, a rate that’s been this way for decades. One reason may be due to the lack of adequate traffic law enforcement which results in drivers realizing there’s little chance of them being stopped, warned or cited for violating traffic law.

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 239-334-6417.
I write this with the best of intentions and as one who frequently works with the various enforcement agencies to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities, especially among non-motorists. I’ve taken part in high visibility enforcement operations, ride-alongs and crosswalk enforcement operations so I appreciate the efforts being undertaken. But whether the apparent ongoing nominal level of enforcement is because it’s a low priority within the various law enforcement agencies or just thought of as inconsequential and not worthy of the time and effort required I’m not sure. Whatever the reason, far too many traffic infractions are witnessed by law enforcers but not acted upon. Anyone who pays attention while on our roads and pathways witnesses what I’m describing on a regular basis.

Data comparing traffic-related deaths, injuries, and financial loss to those same costs for crime are hard to come by but a recent University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute study did just that. Researchers found serious crime in Michigan in 2015 resulted in $2 billion in monetary costs and $8 billion in total costs (monetary and nonmonetary quality-of-life) versus overall traffic crashes resulting in $4.6 billion in monetary costs and $19.3 billion in total costs. More significantly, they documented 539 criminal homicides versus 1,011 fatal crashes and 28,775 non-fatal violent crimes versus 76,065 crash-related injuries. When comparing nonmonetary statistics for Florida, in 2017 there were 561 homicides versus 3,117 traffic fatalities and 42,877 non-fatal violent crimes versus 254,310 crash-related injuries (sources: flhsmv.gov and fdle.state.fl.us). Even when only the human factor is considered, traffic incidents are clearly more of a societal problem than crime. However, other than Florida Highway Patrol, most law enforcement agencies dedicate only a fraction of their budgets and manpower for traffic law enforcement.

If nothing else, the following common violations that affect non-motorists’ safety and access could initially be targeted:

Blatant violations by motorists turning right on a red light without first stopping, putting vulnerable road users at high risk when attempting to cross at intersections.

Folks on bicycles operating against the flow of traffic instead of riding in the same direction as other traffic.

Motorists obstructing foot and bicycle traffic by parking on sidewalks.

Each of these violations is obvious when occurring so the only reason I can speculate they are not addressed is because they are purposely ignored.

No one wants to see our roads turned into places where everyone must fear being pulled over each time we’re out there but something needs to change because the current approach isn’t working, as confirmed by our year-after-year crash statistics. Understanding the time and effort it takes to write citations and knowing that not all law enforcement personnel will be able to drop what they’re doing whenever they witness traffic violations we should at least expect many more contacts made with violators if only to educate and raise awareness. I suspect an encounter that results in nothing more than a reminder or a verbal warning would probably be much more impactful for the violator, at least for those who aren’t “the usual suspects” who make it a habit to break traffic laws and have the record to confirm as much. For those folks, a written citation is in order.

To learn about this topic and more, visit bikewalklee.blogspot.com and www.streetsaliveswfl.org



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, July 29, 2019

July 29: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Running/walking:


Cycling:

  • Monday, July 29: Monday Minions Ride. This is a weekly ride that rolls in the 13-15 mph range. Total distance around 15 miles. After the ride most go over to Square 1 restaurant for the $5 burger and fries deal. If you are looking to get into cycling beyond the casual roll, this is an ideal ride for you. 6 p.m., Fort Myers Cyclery, 3630 Cleveland Avenue, Fort Myers (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL) 
  • Tuesday, July 30: Taco Tuesday Ride. Every Tuesday night, We Ride For Tacos! After a 21 mile ride on Treeline/Old Airport/Daniels/6 Mile Cypress roads and paths, we'll finish at Tijuana Flats for Taco Tuesday. B RIDERS: 16 to 18 mph for the basic group. A RIDERS: The faster group rides at 20mph plus. We finish well after dark, so Front And Rear Lights are Required. 6:30 p.m., Trek Bicycle Store of Fort Myers, 8291 Dani Drive, Fort Myers (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL) 
  • Friday, Aug. 2: SW Florida Critical Mass ride. A family-friendly slow ride through Fort Myers gathering at 7:15 p.m. and starting at 8 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)
  • Sunday, Aug. 4: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. This is a weekly ride for riders of most skill levels and most types of bicycles (hybrids, fitness, and road). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, thus helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. 7.30 a.m., location varies, visit (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL) for details.
  • Saturday, Aug. 10: 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)
  • 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, Aug. 4: Siesta Sprint Triathlon/Duathlon (trifind.com
  • Monday, Sept. 2: Venice Sprint Tri, Sharky’s on the Pier, Venice (trifind.com)
  • Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 7-8: Galloway Captiva Tri. Sprint on Saturday, kids’ events Sunday (www.gearedup.biz)
  • Saturday, Sept. 21: The Original Siesta Key Tri, sprint (runsignup.com)
  • Sunday, Nov. 17: Longboat Key Sprint/Olympic Triathlon and Duathlon and 5K (imathlete.com)
  • Check trifind.com to find regional and state tris.









Monday, July 22, 2019

July 22: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Running/walking:

Cycling:
  • July 22-26: Wheel Lee Fun Session 6 (final session) summer camp for ages 8-15, 1941 Hill Ave., Fort Myers (caloosariders.org)
  • Monday, July 22: Monday Minions Ride. This is a weekly ride that rolls in the 13-15 mph range. Total distance around 15 miles. After the ride most go over to Square 1 restaurant for the $5 burger and fries deal. If you are looking to get into cycling beyond the casual roll, this is an ideal ride for you. 6 p.m., Fort Myers Cyclery, 3630 Cleveland Avenue, Fort Myers (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL) 
  • Tuesday, July 23: Taco Tuesday Ride. Every Tuesday night, We Ride For Tacos! After a 21 mile ride on Treeline/Old Airport/Daniels/6 Mile Cypress roads and paths, we'll finish at Tijuana Flats for Taco Tuesday. B RIDERS: 16 to 18 mph for the basic group. A RIDERS: The faster group rides at 20mph plus. We finish well after dark, so Front And Rear Lights are Required. 6:30 p.m., Trek Bicycle Store of Fort Myers, 8291 Dani Drive, Fort Myers (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL) 
  • Friday, July 26: Cape Coral Critical Mass ride. Gather at 7:30 p.m., roll at 8 p.m. at the Southwest Florida Military Museum parking lot at 4820 Leonard Street for a family-friendly ride through the Cape. Lights required, helmets recommended. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Saturday, July 27: 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)
  • Sunday, July 28: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. This is a weekly ride for riders of most skill levels and most types of bicycles (hybrids, fitness, and road). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, thus helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. 7.30 a.m., location varies, visit (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL) for details.
  • Friday, Aug. 2: SW Florida Critical Mass ride. A family-friendly slow ride through Fort Myers gathering at 7:15 p.m. and starting at 8 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)
  • Saturday, Aug. 10: 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)
  • 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, Aug. 4: Siesta Sprint Triathlon/Duathlon (trifind.com
  • Monday, Sept. 2: Venice Sprint Tri, Sharky’s on the Pier, Venice (trifind.com)
  • Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 7-8: Galloway Captiva Tri. Sprint on Saturday, kids’ events Sunday (www.gearedup.biz)
  • Saturday, Sept. 21: The Original Siesta Key Tri, sprint (runsignup.com)
  • Sunday, Nov. 17: Longboat Key Sprint/Olympic Triathlon and Duathlon and 5K (imathlete.com)
  • Check trifind.com to find regional and state tris.









Thursday, July 18, 2019

BikeWalkLee: Safety? Think inside the box

BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, July 18, 2019
by Ken Gooderham

Motorists and cyclists who frequent the Daniels Parkway-Treeline Avenue intersection will see some changes in the weeks ahead – hopefully changes for the better.

bike box design picture
Courtesy Florida Dept. of Transportation


As part of an ongoing resurfacing project contractors with the Florida Dept. of Transportation (FDOT) are planning to install bike turn boxes at this high-volume (for both cars and cyclists) intersection. This is a pilot project partnered by FDOT, the county DOT and the county’s Metropolitan Planning Organization.

It’s another step in the slow evolution of local roadways to better accommodate on-road cyclists and motorists sharing the same asphalt – by ensuring everyone has a space on which to travel in a way that’s safer for both users.

In this instance, the test bike boxes are meant to make it easier for cyclists making left-hand turns at intersections such as this one – multi-lanes, lots of signals and traffic, plenty of potential for confusion. These green-colored boxes make it clear where and when cyclists should go to safely turn. Here’s how it works:
  1. Cyclists heading east on Daniels (and wanting to turn north onto Treeline) approach the Treeline intersection using the “keyhole” lane (the narrow lane at an intersection between the right-hand turn lane and the right-hand straight lane of traffic). If the light is red, they gather in the green box in front of the right-hand lane of eastbound traffic (but clear of the right-turn lane leading south on Treeline).
  2. When the left-turn signals turn green, vehicles from both directions on Daniels make their left-hand turns. Cyclists wait.
  3. When the straight-ahead signal turns green, vehicles proceed east and west on Daniels. Cyclists leave the first green box and cross the intersection to gather in the green box on Treeline in front of the right-hand lane of traffic (but, again, clear of the right turn lane from Treeline to Daniels).
  4. After the left-turn signals for Treeline onto Daniels have cycled through and the straight-ahead green comes on, cyclists proceed north on Treeline with the northbound vehicle traffic.

Trust me, explaining it in writing is confusing, seeing this work in a graphic or video (one is in the works) is easier to understand.

So how is this better for everyone moving through the intersection?


Cyclists: The keyhole lane gives them a safe way to approach the intersection from the bike lane without impeding motor vehicles wanting to turn right onto Treeline. They can gather in front of vehicles and out of the crosswalk (and pedestrian traffic), and move across the intersection with traffic to the northbound Treeline box – again, out of the crosswalk and the Treeline left-turn lane. Once the Treeline signal turns green, cyclists can proceed with traffic north on Treeline to the bike lane. It might end up taking a little longer for cyclists to make the turn, but it will be a whole lot safer.

Motorists: By giving cyclists their own space at the intersection, motor vehicle traffic can continue on its merry way in concert (not in conflict) with cyclists. Right- or left-hand turns can proceed based on traffic, and crosswalks will be reserved for pedestrians only – which, to be blunt, already are an endangered species at this and many other SW Florida intersections. For the most part, motorists will be able to proceed at the same forward speed cyclists or no cyclists… just not so much season (snowbirds) or no season.

By moving with traffic, cyclists are safer. By creating distinct and separate spaces for cyclists with a clear path to proceed, drivers can worry less about sharing the road with bikes and more whether that big truck pulling up behind is really going to stop.

A brief shout-out to keyhole lanes, which are being added to more and more intersections locally. If you’re up to riding on the road to begin with (a big IF for some cyclists), these lanes are a much safer way to go through intersection by moving with traffic – rather than hoping a driver sees you in the crosswalk, or doesn’t pull so far forward to see oncoming traffic prior to a turn that they block the crosswalk altogether. Let’s hope Lee DOT keeps adding these lanes wherever possible, and thanks.

Nevertheless, these boxes are a safe solution for intersections such as this – lots of lanes and lights, not much opportunity for cyclists to proceed with traffic safely, and plenty of both bicycles and motor vehicles trying to get from Point A to Point B. (Both Daniels and Treeline are popular with road cyclists both because of their bike infrastructure and because they tie in to other bike networks well used by local (and serious) cyclists.)

At smaller, less frantic intersection, cyclists can still act like vehicles when approaching and traversing… pulling into the left-hand turn lane (if one exists) to turn left with the other traffic, or using the keyhole land (if one exists) to proceed straight ahead. It’s only the big, busy intersections that benefit from thinking outside (or, rather, inside) the box.

Want to find out more about the boxes? Download the explanatory handout at FDOT.

Ready to ride or run? 

Run? A pretty empty calendar for organized events, as you’d expect given the weather… with only two Elite Events offerings through the end of August – the Eagle Lakes 5K on July 27 at Eagle Lakes Community Park, Naples, and the Rampage 5K on Aug. 24 at North Collier Regional Park (runelitevents.com).

Ride?  Critical Mass amasses tomorrow (July 19) for the NE Lee ride, July 26 for Cape Coral ride, and July 27 for the morning Slow Roll through downtown Fort Myers. For the night rides, front and rear bike lights required; helmets recommended for all (meetup.com). Next week is the final session for the Wheel Lee Fun camp for ages 8-15, details at caloosariders.org.


Both? Upcoming events include:

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, July 17, 2019

Upgraded bike infrastructure features finally appearing in Lee County


Florida Weekly 'Outdoors' column, July 17, 2019
danMOSER
bikepedmoser@gmail.com

Sharrows remind drivers that bikes will be using the whole travel lane. COURTESY PHOTO
Anyone who’s travelled outside Lee County has likely seen or used features and treatments on roads, pathways and intersections that are intended to make the environment safer and more accessible for non-motorists. In many transportation-progressive communities, state-of-the-art signage and pavement marking are being incorporated to assist non-motorists on roads and pathways, particularly at intersections. Lee County, unfortunately, hasn’t been among those places. But maybe a baby-step in that direction will lead to some progress on that front.

Other than FDOT recently expanding the width of bike lanes and adding a second white line between the bike lane and motor vehicle traffic lanes on segments of U.S. 41 — the current standard required whenever adding bike lanes or resurfacing existing roads with them already in place — the only “new” feature that’s been used in decades are sharrows (chevrons and a bike symbol pavement marking reminding road users that bicycles may be using the entire travel lane). And even those are few and far between. Now, finally, FDOT is placing road markings to assist on-road bicyclists in making left turns on a multi-lane intersection. Indeed, a baby-step, but a move in the right direction nonetheless.

“Two-stage bicycle turn boxes” will be painted at the four quadrants of Daniels Parkway and Treeline Avenue. Ironically, both roads and the intersection are within the jurisdiction of Lee County DOT. But because it’s close to the Daniels Parkway interchange with I-75 — where Daniel Parkway is within FDOT’s jurisdiction — and resurfacing and other improvements are being done in the whole area, FDOT is funding this pilot project in partnership with Lee County DOT and Lee County MPO.

Here’s how FDOT’s describes this feature in its informational flyer: “Two-stage bicycle turn boxes are high-visibility traffic control devices that offer an alternative way for cyclists riding in bike lanes to make left turns at signalized intersections. They can be especially effective at multi-lane, high-volume intersections where they can reduce cyclist and motorist conflicts.”

As Lee MPO’s Ron Gogoi further describes it, “For cyclists weaving across traffic to make a left from an existing turn lane, it can be challenging and sometimes dangerous, especially on busy, multi-lane roadways. Two-stage turn boxes split the left turn movement into two separate, through movements, which allow the cyclist to travel through the intersection in a much safer manner.” The FDOT flyer can be found at www.leempo.com.

It might be compared to a jug-handle turn but without the user having to complete a right-turn and then a U-turn, which can be as difficult as trying to use the left-turn lane in the first place since the operator may have to cross multiple thru-lanes after making a right-turn in order to make that U-turn. The bike box user simply rides straight across most of the intersection, lands in the box positioned in front of the bike lane at that intersection, then turns the bike to the left and awaits the green light for through traffic. For intersections with as many lanes as Daniels and Treeline (one quadrant has 10 lanes) having this option can be very helpful.

If this pilot project is successful, perhaps it will lead to other features such as green bike lanes, buffered bike lanes, leading pedestrian signal phases, contraflow bike lanes on one-way roads (Evans Avenue could use one until Fowler Street is finally reconfigured), better detection of cyclists at signalized intersections, and many more sharrows (west First Street in downtown Fort Myers is long overdue for them). FDOT appears to be taking the lead so we may see some new features on Cleveland Avenue once this current project is complete. As well, the city of Cape Coral, being a Bike Friendly Community, is a good prospect for using state-of-the-art features. I know there are knowledgeable traffic planners working for all of our transportation departments and consulting firms who are anxious to implement forward-thinking features. Now it’s up to their bosses — and our political leaders — to have the will to do so.

To learn about this topic and more, visit bikewalklee.blogspot.com and www.streetsaliveswfl.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, July 15, 2019

July 15: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Running/walking:

Cycling:
  • Monday, July 15: Monday Minions Ride. This is a weekly ride that rolls in the 13-15 mph range. Total distance around 15 miles. After the ride most go over to Square 1 restaurant for the $5 burger and fries deal. If you are looking to get into cycling beyond the casual roll, this is an ideal ride for you. 6 p.m., Fort Myers Cyclery, 3630 Cleveland Avenue, Fort Myers (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL) 
  • July 15-19: Wheel Lee Fun Session 5 summer camp for ages 8-15, 1941 Hill Ave., Fort Myers (caloosariders.org)
  • Tuesday, July 16: Taco Tuesday Ride. Every Tuesday night, We Ride For Tacos! After a 21 mile ride on Treeline/Old Airport/Daniels/6 Mile Cypress roads and paths, we'll finish at Tijuana Flats for Taco Tuesday. B RIDERS: 16 to 18 mph for the basic group. A RIDERS: The faster group rides at 20mph plus. We finish well after dark, so Front And Rear Lights are Required. 6:30 p.m., Trek Bicycle Store of Fort Myers, 8291 Dani Drive, Fort Myers (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL) 
  • Friday, July 19: NE-Lee Critical Mass ride, gathers at 7 p.m. at the Winn-Dixie, 14600 Palm Beach Blvd. Lights required, helmets recommended. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Sunday, July 21: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. This is a weekly ride for riders of most skill levels and most types of bicycles (hybrids, fitness, and road). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, thus helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. 7.30 a.m., location varies, visit (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL) for details.
  • July 22-26: Wheel Lee Fun Session 6 (final session) summer camp for ages 8-15, 1941 Hill Ave., Fort Myers (caloosariders.org
  • Friday, July 26: Cape Coral Critical Mass ride. Gather at 7:30 p.m., start at 8 p.m. at the Southwest Florida Military Museum parking lot at 4820 Leonard Street for a family-friendly ride through the Cape. Lights required, helmets recommended. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Saturday, July 27: 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)
  • 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, Aug. 4: Siesta Sprint Triathlon/Duathlon (trifind.com
  • Monday, Sept. 2: Venice Sprint Tri, Sharky’s on the Pier, Venice (trifind.com)
  • Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 7-8: Galloway Captiva Tri. Sprint on Saturday, kids’ events Sunday (www.gearedup.biz)
  • Saturday, Sept. 21: The Original Siesta Key Tri, sprint (runsignup.com)
  • Sunday, Nov. 17: Longboat Key Sprint/Olympic Triathlon and Duathlon and 5K (imathlete.com)
  • Check trifind.com to find regional and state tris.









Monday, July 8, 2019

July 8: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Running/walking:

Cycling:
  • Monday, July 8: Monday Minions Ride. This is a weekly ride that rolls in the 13-15 mph range. Total distance around 15 miles. After the ride most go over to Square 1 restaurant for the $5 burger and fries deal. If you are looking to get into cycling beyond the casual roll, this is an ideal ride for you. 6 p.m., Fort Myers Cyclery, 3630 Cleveland Avenue, Fort Myers (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • July 8-12: Wheel Lee Fun Session 4 summer camp for ages 8-15, 1941 Hill Ave., Fort Myers (caloosariders.org)
  • Tuesday, July 9: Taco Tuesday Ride. Every Tuesday night, We Ride For Tacos! After a 21 mile ride on Treeline/Old Airport/Daniels/6 Mile Cypress roads and paths, we'll finish at Tijuana Flats for Taco Tuesday. B RIDERS: 16 to 18 mph for the basic group. A RIDERS: The faster group rides at 20mph plus. We finish well after dark, so Front And Rear Lights are Required. 6:30 p.m., Trek Bicycle Store of Fort Myers, 8291 Dani Drive, Fort Myers (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Saturday, July 13: 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)
  • Saturday-Sunday, July 13-14: Wheels & Wings, 15/32/50/62 mile rides from Beef O’Bradys, Punta Gorda (peaceriverridersbicycleclub.com
  • Sunday, July 14: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. This is a weekly ride for riders of most skill levels and most types of bicycles (hybrids, fitness, and road). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, thus helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. 7.30 a.m., location varies, visit (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL) for details.
  • July 15-19: Wheel Lee Fun Session 5 summer camp for ages 8-15, 1941 Hill Ave., Fort Myers (caloosariders.org)
  • Friday, July 19: NE-Lee Critical Mass ride, gathers at 7 p.m. at the Winn-Dixie, 14600 Palm Beach Blvd. Lights required, helmets recommended. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • July 22-26: Wheel Lee Fun Session 6 (final session) summer camp for ages 8-15, 1941 Hill Ave., Fort Myers (caloosariders.org
  • Friday, July 26: Cape Coral Critical Mass ride. Gather at 7:30 p.m., start at 8 p.m. at the Southwest Florida Military Museum parking lot at 4820 Leonard Street for a family-friendly ride through the Cape. Lights required, helmets recommended. (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Saturday, July 27: 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)
  • 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, Aug. 4: Siesta Sprint Triathlon/Duathlon (trifind.com
  • Monday, Sept. 2: Venice Sprint Tri, Sharky’s on the Pier, Venice (trifind.com)
  • Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 7-8: Galloway Captiva Tri. Sprint on Saturday, kids’ events Sunday (www.gearedup.biz)
  • Saturday, Sept. 21: The Original Siesta Key Tri, sprint (runsignup.com)
  • Sunday, Nov. 17: Longboat Key Sprint/Olympic Triathlon and Duathlon and 5K (imathlete.com)
  • Check trifind.com to find regional and state tris.









Thursday, July 4, 2019

The simple joys of being able

BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, July 4, 2019
by Ken Gooderham


It’s amazing how much we take for granted the simple act of being able.

Able to walk. Able to stand up. Able to do the mundane motions and everyday activities that most of do without thinking.

Losing your ability to be able, even temporarily, can be a dramatic change in your daily life. Your independence is challenged, your routine is wrecked and your world can become a smaller and more difficult place to endure.

Keep that in mind when you hear people advocate for better streets, more bike/ped facilities and steps to make more areas accessible to all. Because that really comes down to a fight to be able – on two fronts.

First is the ability to engage in exercise as the means to make yourself more fit – more able. Second is the opportunity to succeed despite your ability, because your world, your environment, is more able to accommodate whatever challenges you physically face.

Having bike/ped facilities more accessible and more inviting encourages people to ride, run or walk more regularly – the key to both getting healthy and staying healthy (or more able). And that ability to be able can mean you’re able to keep your physical skills sharper longer or help your recovery those skills more quickly in the aftermath of illness, surgery or other physical setbacks.

Biking can help your mental abilities as well. A recent study in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research claimed people scored higher on tests of memory, reasoning, and planning after 30 minutes of spinning on a stationary bike than they did before they rode. (This applies to other forms of exercise as well.)

The flip side of more bike/ped facilities and more “complete” streets (designed with all users in mind) is opening up options and taking down obstacles to people dealing with physical challenges. Providing a safe place for folks to ride, run or walk also provides a similarly safe place for people with physical challenges to move about. And designing our roadways to accommodate more than cars and trucks means creating space for people to move safely without the benefit of motorized transport.

There are other good reasons to improve our bike/ped facilities, of course… to help people who bike or walk for transportation, as a recreational amenity that attractive to visitors, even as a way to boost businesses by getting people out of their vehicles and walking or riding in front of shops and restaurants (since it’s really hard to window-shop at 50 mph).

But if better facilities help people get fit and stay fit, better able to do all those routine activities that make up your average day, that’s a big boost to make people more able to enjoy life – whatever physical challenges may come their way.

Best bike cities cited

A new list of best cities for biking worldwide was recently released, this one focused on places working aggressively to make their urban spaces more amenable to bikes (and less to cars) through infrastructure, investment and incentives.

Ad you might expect, no American cities cracked the Top 20; in fact, only two North American cities showed up, with Vancouver and Montreal tied for 18th place. The preponderance of places ranked high were European, as you would expect, although Bogota, Tokyo and Taipei did make an appearance.

What’s interesting is how this particular ranking is organized. Researchers looked at investment, of course, but also the bike culture, the streetscape, the leadership – and the places where these places could still improve.

Interested in finding out more? Go to www.copenhagenizeindex.eu.

Ready to ride or run? 

Run? Unless you got up early this morning, you missed the traditional Fourth of July 5Ks – the Freedom 5K on the Cape Coral Bridge, Moe’s Firecracker 5K at Fleishmann Park in Naples, and the USA Independence Day 5K at Hertz Arena in Estero. No other organized runs on the horizon until late July.

Ride? You can extend your holiday celebrations to Friday night by joining the SW Florida Critical Mass ride through downtown Fort Myers. Front and rear bike lights required, helmets recommended (meetup.com). If you miss that, the next Critical Mass ride is July 13 on Sanibel. Planning ahead? Plan on joining Wheels & Wings July 13-14, with ride lengths of 15, 32, 50 and 62 mile rides in and around Punta Gorda (peaceriverridersbicycleclub.com), The cyclin summer camp Wheel Lee Fun returns July 8 for ages 8-15 at 1941 Hill Ave., Fort Myers (caloosariders.org).


Both? Upcoming events include:

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, July 3, 2019

Trails, greenways are important community assets


Florida Weekly 'Outdoors' column, June 19, 2019
danMOSER
bikepedmoser@gmail.com

A sign at Colonial Boulevard and Ortiz Avenue marks a trailhead park and linear trail. DAN MOSER / FLORIDA WEEKLY
Being an admitted hyper-critic of our environment for pedestrians and bicyclists, I can still nonetheless recognize the good things happening and understand the potential we can achieve.

For example, at a recent Healthy Lee steering committee meeting, the keynote speaker was Dale Allen, president of Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation, an organization that wields significant sway in our state for projects and funding related to the foundation’s namesake. This is not Mr. Allen’s first visit to Southwest Florida or his only presentation to a room full of heavy-hitters. Mr. Allen’s message was to convince committee members that embracing trails and greenways for non-motorized uses benefits everyone in many ways.

Before getting into the advantages, I’d like to define the kind of trail I’m writing about: paved, non-motorized shared-use paths, 10 feet to 14 feet wide, preferably not adjacent to a roadway but if so, separated with a significant buffer. John Yarbrough Linear Park Trail is an example.

 Trails like these exist in much of Florida and include networks such as SUNtrail (Shared-Use, Non-motorized Trails). SUNtrail traverses the state from Pensacola and Jacksonville to Key West and includes many inland counties. One important segment of it which is soon to be complete is the Coast-to-Coast Regional Connector that runs from the Tampa Bay area to the Space Coast.

There are also a number of Railsto Trails facilities throughout Florida, including one in Lee County on Gasparilla Island. As well, parts of the East Coast Greenway and U.S. Bicycle Route System are within Florida.

So, trails are no stranger to our state, although ones of significant distance and substance are relatively rare here in Southwest Florida. We’re missing out on the many benefits they represent.

Naysayers who believe trails are a waste of money and serve only a small segment of those who pay for them overlook their multitude of economic, safety, health, quality of life, transportation and environmental benefits. Some benefits are obvious, such as improved health among users and providing transportation options other than driving, something that benefits both the individual taking advantage of it and the overall environment by keeping cars off the road.

Transportation equity and safety for those who can’t afford or otherwise don’t have access to motor vehicles is another advantage. For those only looking at dollars, the purely economic pluses are many, from increased property values near trails to savings on healthcare and transportation for society and individuals.

Regarding job creation, a high quality of life is a key factor necessary to attract skilled employees when businesses are opening or relocating; nearby access to trails is one of the elements known to improve that factor. As for small businesses, many mom-and-pops — from bike shops to caf├ęs — spring up along trails, especially in rural areas.

And lower income areas that are frequently where rail corridors exist — whether active or abandoned — are positively impacted once a trail is established with business growth, lowered crime rates and improved transportation equity.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s “Florida’s Greenways and Trails System Plan, 2019-2023” includes a detailed overview of the many benefits as well as excellent maps and other useful information. It can be found on their website at www.floridadep.gov.

There’s really no downside to having a robust network of trails as part of our infrastructure. But misinformation and misperception too often equate to NIMBYism, a phenomenon that has resulted in shooting down trails and other bike/ped infrastructure on a regular basis. And elected representatives and other government officials who are not well educated about the value of them sometimes look only at the cost or cave in to NIMBYism rather than examining the benefits.

But from what I witnessed when Mr. Allen came to town and made the case for including trails as an integral part of our community, I’m hopeful that our elected officials and others who have influence make that a reality. One example is that there’s agreement among all the pertinent jurisdictions to buy out the lease Seminole Gulf Railroad has with CSX so the rail corridor that runs down the middle of Lee County can be turned into a rail-to-trail or even a rail-with-trail that includes a light passenger train. John Yarbrough Linear Park/Trail runs adjacent to over five miles of that, with another two-mile segment to be added to Hanson Street. Extending it to the Collier County line would go a long way in completing our segment of SUNtrail. Wouldn’t that be a great asset for residents and tourists alike?

To learn about this topic and more, visit bikewalklee.blogspot.com and www.streetsaliveswfl.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, July 1, 2019

July 1: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Running/walking:

Cycling:
  • Monday, July 1: Monday Minions Ride. This is a weekly ride that rolls in the 13-15 mph range. Total distance around 15 miles. After the ride most go over to Square 1 restaurant for the $5 burger and fries deal. If you are looking to get into cycling beyond the casual roll, this is an ideal ride for you. 6 p.m., Fort Myers Cyclery, 3630 Cleveland Avenue, Fort Myers (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Tuesday, July 2: Taco Tuesday Ride. Every Tuesday night, We Ride For Tacos! After a 21 mile ride on Treeline/Old Airport/Daniels/6 Mile Cypress roads and paths, we'll finish at Tijuana Flats for Taco Tuesday. B RIDERS: 16 to 18 mph for the basic group. A RIDERS: The faster group rides at 20mph plus. We finish well after dark, so Front And Rear Lights are Required. 6:30 p.m., Trek Bicycle Store of Fort Myers, 8291 Dani Drive, Fort Myers (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Friday, July 5: SWFL Critical Mass (the MASSIVE monthly evening ride). Come out and enjoy a large group slow ride with SWFL Critical Mass! Meet up in the usual side lot next to Publix. Tailgate starts at 7:30 (though many arrive earlier). We roll at 8:00.   (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL
  • Sunday, July 7: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. This is a weekly ride for riders of most skill levels and most types of bicycles (hybrids, fitness, and road). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, thus helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. 7.30 a.m., location varies, visit (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL) for details.
  • July 8-12: Wheel Lee Fun Session 4 summer camp for ages 8-15, 1941 Hill Ave., Fort Myers (caloosariders.org)
  • Saturday-Sunday, July 13-14: Wheels & Wings, 15/32/50/62 mile rides from Beef O’Bradys, Punta Gorda (peaceriverridersbicycleclub.com
  • July 15-19: Wheel Lee Fun Session 5 summer camp for ages 8-15, 1941 Hill Ave., Fort Myers (caloosariders.org)
  • July 22-26: Wheel Lee Fun Session 6 (final session) summer camp for ages 8-15, 1941 Hill Ave., Fort Myers (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:
  • Sunday, Aug. 4: Siesta Sprint Triathlon/Duathlon (trifind.com
  • Monday, Sept. 2: Venice Sprint Tri, Sharky’s on the Pier, Venice (trifind.com)
  • Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 7-8: Galloway Captiva Tri. Sprint on Saturday, kids’ events Sunday (www.gearedup.biz)
  • Saturday, Sept. 21: The Original Siesta Key Tri, sprint (runsignup.com)
  • Sunday, Nov. 17: Longboat Key Sprint/Olympic Triathlon and Duathlon and 5K (imathlete.com)
  • Check trifind.com to find regional and state tris.