Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Moser Column: Great uses of our public places and streets

Florida Weekly, Dec. 19, 2012
Dan Moser
This week's column focuses on last week's great "Everyone Rides" event, and the costs for use of public facilities and services to put on these events; along with an update on the Kleinpell case.

If you run or cycle and missed Everyone Rides / Everyone Runs a few weeks ago, you’ll want to make a note on your 2013 calendar for the second Sunday in December so you won’t make that mistake again. What’s been a popular Century Ride led by world-class cyclists as a fundraiser for Boys & Girls Club has morphed into something not seen here before.
Besides the 100-miler, there are three more rides of other distances, from 15 to 62 miles. But the addition of a half marathon and 5K run make this unique to our area, as does the staging venue and activities that happened there. JetBlue Park included lots of exhibitors, vendors and activities for kids, not to mention great food and drink.

Although the half marathon didn’t have elite runners as part of the field, it did have something just as appealing, particularly for Red Sox fans: The finish line was at home plate of Fenway South! And like the shorter distance rides, the 5K was meant for everyone, so next year don’t be intimidated — just come, participate and enjoy. Thanks to organizers, volunteers, sponsors, Lee County Parks and Rec and the Boston Red Sox who made this event a great success that’s sure to become a classic.

The finish line at the Everyone Runs event. 
The finish line at the Everyone Runs event.

Speaking of classic events, the 34th annual City of Palms River Run 10K and2-miler took place from Centennial Park in downtown Fort Myers on the first Saturday in December, as has been the case for many years. Being able to run over both the Caloosahatchee River Bridge and Edison Bridge makes this a very popular 10K, a distance that we really don’t have enough of in our area. The 2-miler went up the Edison Bridge and back, attracting almost as many walkers as runners.

What began in 1978 as the Lee Memorial Hospital Run that was staged in the hospital’s parking lot, this event has gone through many changes over the decades. At its height there was a 10K and 5K, attracting many hundreds of runners. But over the past decade, the numbers have been more modest, yet the cost of putting on this Children’s Hospital fundraiser has gotten very expensive — almost prohibitive — due mainly to costs of using the public park and personnel to manage the public roads on and around the routes. While it’s clear that there are real expenses for additional law enforcement and public works personnel, considering the many benefits events like this bring to the community, those who charge for public space and services should take those benefits into account. Everyone will lose if established events are run off and potential ones are scared off.

Advocacy update
By now it’s common knowledge that the driver of the vehicle that killed cyclist Tracey Kleinpell on the Sanibel Causeway in 2011, Theresa Shirley, was arrested for “doctor shopping” in order to obtain prescriptions for the kinds of medications found in her system at the time of the crash.
On the day of Ms. Shirley’s arrest Ms. Kleinpell’s parents were participating as advocates in a training workshop related to the development of a Bike/Ped Safety Plan that’s being developed by the Lee County Metropolitan Planning Council. As one would expect, Ms. Kleinpell’s mom and dad were relieved to learn that law enforcement continued to follow up on this matter, perhaps bringing some level of comfort to the whole family. BikeWalkLee and other advocates commend the Florida Highway Patrol, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Florida Attorney General’s Office for their persistence in investigating where and how Ms. Shirley illegally obtained the Oxycodone and other controlled substances she was using when she killed Ms. Kleinpell. Much more on this can be found at BikeWalkLee's blog. 

Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and trails. ¦
— Dan Moser is a league cycling and CyclingSavvy instructor/ trainer and programs director for the Florida Bicycle Association who cycles, runs and walks regularly for transportation, recreation and fitness. He can be contacted at or 334- 6417.

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