Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Dan Moser's Column:Get a jump on National Bike Month

Florida Weekly, April 24, 2013              Dan's column this week focuses on the many activities during Bike Month, including the Ride of Silence on May 15th.  The advocacy update highlights the various safety initiatives underway in Lee County.

Dan Moser
Throughout much of America people are just getting back on their bikes as the weather works its way toward consistently warmer temperatures. To help encourage more to ride, the League of American Bicyclists designated May as National Bike Month many years ago. But for those of us in Southwest Florida the month of May brings some of the hottest temperatures we’ll experience all season until regular rainstorms temper things just a bit. So May might not seem to be the best time to embark on a new physical challenge. However, since cycling on flat terrain can be as easy or as hard as one desires it to be, it’s actually quite a good way to recreate, get in a workout, or even travel for purpose when the heat would otherwise make outdoor human powered activity miserable.

Locally, a few things are planned for Bike Month. Most of the events will take place during Bike to Work Week, May 13-18. However, the week prior also has a couple of notable events. Wednesday, May 8, is Bike to School Day. At least one school — Three Oaks Elementary — plans to participate, but for anyone with a school-age child, the day offers a great opportunity to get your kids out of their chauffeur-driven motor vehicles (you, of course, being the chauffeur) and onto their own vehicles. It’s a chance to give them a taste of the kind of independence those of us who are older than 40 experienced, back before kids were driven everywhere they needed to go. Take a ride with them prior, to be sure they have the skills and knowledge they need to get there safely.

If you’re tired of commuting from behind the wheel yourself, you can change things up a bit by instead getting behind the handlebars during the entire week. If nothing else, give it a shot on Friday, May 17, the official Bike to Work Day. I’ll be set-up outside the Oasis Restaurant in downtown Fort Myers (2260 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.) to offer complimentary refreshments and other items for anyone who drops by on a bike that morning. A couple of days before that, on Wednesday, May 15, the Caloosa Riders are facilitating our local Ride of Silence to remember those killed or injured while on their bikes. It starts and finishes at Centennial Park, beginning at 7 p.m. the Bonita Bay Bicycle Club is also hosting a Ride of Silence, but asks that non- BBBC member contact their organizer ( at least one day prior if you’d like to participate. Then on Saturday, May 18, a guided ride on a portion of our Tour de Parks route is planned for elected and appointed officials and staff of our local governments. The purpose of this “reality check” tour is to get our decision-makers out on the pathways and roads to experience the good, bad and ugly of the infrastructure that’s in place (or, in some cases, not in place). We hope the ride both educates and inspires.

Ghost Bike: A Tragic Symbol of Why There’s an Annual Ride of Silence
Ghost Bike: A Tragic Symbol of Why There’s an Annual Ride of Silence 

Advocacy update
Lee County’s Bicycle/Pedestrian Safety Action Plan is one step closer to completion  after a public workshop that took place last week. Once implemented, the various strategies and resources that are  intended to reduce bike/ped fatalities and serious injuries by 5 percent each year for the first five years. That goal should mesh well with the FDOT’s upcoming in the "Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow" initiative (ads have already been airing on local TV) and other approaches that were outlined at USDOT’s Southeast Regional Bicycle Safety Summit, held in Tampa earlier this month. Local representatives who attended that summit came back with high hopes and great ideas that were shared by others. Our own Complete Streets efforts were among those showcased there. You’ll find all the details on 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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