Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Dan Moser's Florida Weekly Column: Sanibel awarded ‘Bike-Friendly Community’ designation
Florida Weekly 9/22/10
It’s probably not a surprise to anyone who’s familiar with Sanibel Island that it was awarded bronze status as a Bike- Friendly Community in the League of American Bicyclists’ latest round of designations. The decision may seem like a no-brainer, but there are actually quite a number of activities and commitments that must be met in order for a community to become a BFC award-winner beyond having a network of multi-use paths. Remember that Lee County did not win recognition at any level, even with a very well-prepared application submitted.
While congratulations are in order to those who had the foresight when Sanibel was incorporated in 1974 to move in that direction right from the start, as well as to those who have kept on-track since, the island community still lacks any on road accommodation, and thus did not attain a higher level of recognition. Due to frequent congestion on the paths, the many, many driveway and side road conflict points, and the diverse user types and skill levels mixing it up, those who generally feel comfortable off the paths would be doing themselves and pathway users a favor if the island’s roads were a viable option.
Acknowledging that limited right of way and scant funds to widen roads to add bike lanes are major obstacles, other approaches should be used. For example, signing roadways to remind drivers and cyclists alike that bikes will be part of the traffic mix, along with law enforcement support, could be good first steps.
A bus with no engine
Just in time for the annual Walk to School Day, Oct. 6, comes something that could make this one-day event much more significant for those who’ve chosen to be a chauffeur rather than allow their child to use a healthy method of transportation: the walking (and biking) school bus.
Thanks to the addition of a new health program in our area, there’s a coordinated effort under way to identify and establish walking school buses wherever possible. The concept is simple: adult parents “drive” and chaperon the bus on foot or on a bike, picking up students along the way to either school or the bus stop. The program’s coordinator, Jennifer Robertson, will answer any questions you might have and set things in motion if you like what you hear. You can e-mail her at Jennifer_Robertson@doh.state.fl.us or visit this link for more information.
The city of Fort Myers is in urgent need of individuals to serve on its Bicycle/ Pedestrian Advisory Board. BPAB meets every other month on the third Thursday of the month from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at City Hall. Those interested must either be a city resident or own property or a business there. While Fort Myers has a pretty good environment for pedestrians (not as good for bicyclists), there’s still plenty that needs to be done to get us where we should be. To learn more and to apply, visit the city's website.
Finally, it looks like real progress has been made when one rides or drives Gladiolus Drive. The final road markings and signs are in place and include bike lanes and a first in our area: “sharrows” where no bike lanes exist. Those familiar with the roots of BikeWalkLee will recall that it came together because Lee County DOT officially took the position that itwould not create formal bike lanes on any county road. Thanks to both BWL and Lee DOT for making this happen.
Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and trails.
— Dan Moser begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting is a league cycling instructor/ trainer and program manager for the Florida Bicycle Association who cycles, runs and walks regularly for transportation, recreation and fitness. He can be contacted at email@example.com or 334-6417.