Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Cyclists and pedestrians get plenty of opportunities to be put in motion

Florida Weekly, March 10, 2010

Beginning this month, some important events are coming up for anyone who believes conditions on the roads should be better for cyclists and pedestrians.

BikeWalkLee hosts an event at Lakes Park from 10 a.m. to 2p.m. Sunday, March 28. The county’s bike/ped master planners have been invited to take some input from the public. We’ll also offer short bike skills clinics for adults and children at no cost. Bring your own bike and helmet (it’s required for any on-bike activities).

Florida cyclists gather at the state capitol in Tallahassee on April 8 to get the message out that much improvement to the bike/ped environment is needed throughout our state. The Florida Bicycle Association’s annual bike summit begins with an optional bike ride to the Capitol from St Marks Trail. At the Capitol courtyard, elected officials and government department heads will address those gathered before heading out to meet with senators and representatives. Connecting with legislators in Tallahassee is a great way to connect with those who make the important decisions that affect our bike/ped environment.

The ProBike/ProWalk Florida Conference takes place in Lakeland in mid- May. Besides all of the learning opportunities offered there, the Florida Department of Transportation will take public input on its 2060 plan. Although it may seem that planning for something that far out is little more than busy-work with effects we’ll never see, the fact is that what results from this effort will begin to take shape sooner than might be expected. Because it’s more about direction than specifics, convincing FDOT to move toward concentrating on complete streets and transit is vital if we want to change the status quo.

Upcoming local events

Not only are there two 5K runs to choose from this Saturday, March 13, but the City of Fort Myers is hosting “Get Out, Get Moving,” with multiple activities taking place in Centennial Park. There’ll be a marked walking course, opportunities to take part in yoga, Zumba, and stretching led by Lee Memorial Wellness Center staff, kids’ activities and more. The event is free.

A unique event is coming to Fort Myers that’s being organized by the American Lung Association. It’s a highrise stair climb, just like ones in the John Hancock Tower, Empire State Building, and Peachtree Tower. The 2010 “Fight for Air Challenge” is hosted by the residents of the 32-story High Point Place in downtown Fort Myers on Saturday, May 1. Those who register can train right where the event will happen. It is the same stairwell used by local firefighters for their training. As an added perk, a rooftop poolside celebration takes place after the climb.

Advocacy news
Readers of this column might remember that last year Gov. Charlie Crist was asked, via a letter sent by BikeWalkLee, to address the problem. A response has never been received, even after followup attempts were made. The question, now that the legislature is in session, is whether anyone will recognize the need to take actions that will result in Florida finally losing the inexcusable standing of having the worse environment in the nation for those who walk and bicycle.
Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and trails. 

— Dan Moser is league cycling instructor/ trainer and program manager for Florida Bicycle Association who cycles, runs and walks regularly for transportation, recreati on and fitness. He can be contacted at or 334-6417.

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