Streets Alive! is the signature event of the Healthy Lee Coalition, a “movement created to empower and inspire the people of Lee County regarding healthy lifestyle choices through education and action. The initiative reflects Lee County’s comprehensive sustainability strategy, promoting the integration of healthy lifestyle choices into the daily routines and the built environment, and supports the message of transformation based on free choice.” Streets Alive! embodies all those elements with the additional benefit of having a good time. Because this event is free to all comers, there’s a need for financial support to ensure the initial event is successful and that there are additional resources available to allow it to happen on a continuing basis. Healthy Lee’s plan is for Streets Alive! to move around the county on a rotating basis, eventually three to four times each year. In fact, a second event is already in the works for Cape Coral in the spring of 2014. If you’d like to learn more about sponsorship opportunities you can contact organizers Ken and Kate Gooderham at email@example.com. For more information on the event, visit www.streetsalivelee.org.
From the way too thick “What the heck are they doing in Tallahassee?” file comes the latest pathetic action by our elected officials, another one that puts vulnerable road users at more risk than we already face. Florida State Statute 316.074, the law that dictates the requirement for motorists to stop before proceeding when safe to do so in a right-on-red condition, has been amended in a way that makes one wonder if there’s any political will at all to reduce pedestrian and bicycle crashes and finally get Florida off the top of the list of most dangerous states in both categories. The requirement for vehicle operators to stop before the stop bar (a standard regulatory roadway marking) has been removed. Now a stop is only required at “some point.” While this may not seem like a big deal to many — and, in fact, is probably welcome by plenty of drivers who never heed the former requirement anyway — it’s now legal to put pedestrians and other users in an intersection in even greater peril because motorists can stop within or even after blowing through the crosswalk.
As is often the case when legislators begin weakening laws already on the books, this latest one is related to complaints about red light enforcement cameras going too far (forget the fact that they were serving the intended purpose of reducing red light violations and crashes). In this case, a minor tweak to the law that might have otherwise satisfied those who have problems with being cited by technology for breaking the law instead gutted the law intended to protect all road users by throwing out a key provision of it.
Besides the very real peril this puts vulnerable users in, law enforcement officials investigating crashes will now have even more difficultly determining who is at fault (including crashes involving two motor vehicles). Just as our representatives in Tallahassee did when they instituted a mandatory bike lane law a few years ago, they’ve again set up a tense and ongoing battle between road users. And like that wrong-headed tweak to the existing law, this one will likely have deadly consequences as well. You can stay on top of this matter through the Florida Bicycle Association (www.floridabicycle.org, www.facebook.com/ FloridaBicycleAssociation) and BikeWalkLee (bikewalklee.blogspot.com).
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 Bicy cle Association who cycles, runs and walks regularly for transportation, recreation and fitness. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 334- 6417.