This week's BWL column highlights activities during Bike Month and the bike/ped safety campaign being launched next week.
News-Press "Go Coastal" Section: May 2, 2013 BikeWalkLee's Column
May is Bike Month, and that means it’s a perfect time to spend more
time on your bike (like we have to twist your arm), to get back on the
bike (if you’ve been off the road for a while) and to join others in
celebrating what makes bicycling great.
It’s also a time to tackle the issues that might be keeping more people from enjoying the open road on two wheels.
first among those issues is safety. Too many bikers limit their riding
or won’t even consider a bike alternative in fear of what awaits them
when they stray from their safe neighborhoods and sheltered bike paths.
It’s hard to argue with that: Florida ranks as the worst in the nation
for cyclist safety with the highest fatality rate for eight years in a
Just within the past four months in Lee County, three cyclists have been killed.
it’s appropriate that a new Florida Department of Transportation
campaign entitled “Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow! Safety doesn’t happen by
accident!” kicks off locally in Fort Myers this month. Keyed to a May 9
launch, FDOT messages will emphasize things motorists, bicyclists, and
pedestrians should do to keep themselves and others safe as they share
is committed to reducing fatalities involving bicyclists and
pedestrians in Florida,” said FDOT Secretary Billy Hattaway. “We have
important work to do in Lee County and the other nine focus counties
across Florida. Transportation engineers and planners, law enforcement,
drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians — are all part of the solution. If
all of us are in it together, we can make a difference.”
forget there’s safety in numbers. So the more people who ride, the more
awareness we’ll see by motorists and others to watch out for those on
two wheels. These local events can help:
May 8 is Bike to School Day. So far only one school (Three Oaks
Elementary) has something planned, but this could be a chance for any
student to break loose from the car/bus routine and bike to class
instead. (Just make sure they have the cycling skills and sense of
direction to get there safely.)
On the evening of May 15, two “Rides of Silence” will take place (in
downtown Fort Myers and Bonita Springs), part of an annual international
event to honor fallen cyclists and promote road safety.
Bike commuters can hit the road on Bike to Work Day on May 17, or
expand their celebration to Bike to Work Week on May 13-17 … or consider
a two-wheeled commute any day the mood strikes them, of course. If
you’re biking downtown May 17, there will be a refreshment stop outside
the Oasis Restaurant at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
and Jackson Street.
A fun family event called Safe Kids Day, with a cookout, games, and
education booths, is May 18 at Gulf Coast Town Center. Its goal is to
raise awareness about ways we can protect our children from injuries and
to raise funds to support local and national injury prevention
though the temperatures are starting to rise, you can still make Bike
Month a good time to bike more — and enjoy more of Southwest Florida.
— BikeWalkLee is 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. For more information, visit
BikeWalkLee.org, the BikeWalkLee blog at http://bikewalklee.blogspot.com/, or find us on Facebook and Twitter.