Thursday, October 17, 2013

BikeWalkLee's Column: Three Es to help you remain safe

This week's BWL column highlights the new Lee MPO Bicycle Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, with specific goals and recommended actions to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety in Lee County. BikeWalkLee's Column in News-Press "Go Coastal" Section, October 17, 2013

The spot where cyclist Tracey Kleinpell was killed in 2011.

Fun and convenience are more subjective, but safety can be quantified in numbers — and, for Lee County and Florida, those numbers aren’t good. The state regularly ranks as one of the most dangerous places to ride or walk in the country, and Lee County likewise often shows up as a disproportionately dangerous place for pedestrians and bicyclists as well. 

That’s why, as a follow-up to its countywide bicycle/pedestrian master plan, at its Sept. 20 meeting the Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) adopted a Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, with specific goals and recommended actions laid out to achieve them along with milestones for progress.

The plan targets three main areas: 
Education: This aims to reduce the frequency and severity of bicycle and pedestrian crashes by correcting unsafe behaviors of all road users to increase compliance with existing laws through coordinated education. This targets people on both sides of the handlebars, to motorists more aware of bikers/walkers and to make bikers/walkers safer both by avoiding risky behavior and by taking steps to increase their ability to survive potential problems.
Engineering: How roadway and facilities are designed can play a huge role in how safe they are to use. The impact is not just on making new roads better but also on fixing safety issues on existing roads — so, beside smarter designs, this also requires audit to identify current problems and creativity to craft solutions that work with the road (and right-of-way) that’s in front of you.
Enforcement: By partnering with law enforcement agencies, especially those in high bicycle/pedestrian crash areas, you can increase coordinated enforcement activities — again, looking at both the motorists and the biker or walker, since both have aspects of the law (not to mention common sense) to address here.
 The MPO’s focus on safety is timed nicely to coincide with the recently awarded federal grant to Lee County for enhancing its bike/walk facilities. As this improved infrastructure starts to entice more people to jump on their bikes, an uptick in safety will likewise help lure more people out onto the bike paths and roadways. And, as studies have shown, when it comes to biking and walking, there really is safety in numbers — because more people means more awareness from the other road users and, sometimes, more awareness of the safer ways to ride or walk.

In the end, safety is everyone’s responsibility and avoiding risk likewise falls on all the parties involved. Logic dictates, however, that any discussion of safety has to focus a little more on the elephant (the motor vehicle and its operator) than on the flea (the biker or walker) — since, in a confrontation between a car and a bike, it’s easy to predict who’s going come out ahead in that altercation.

So, everyone, let’s be careful out there.

Read the report: The MPO’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Action Plan is available online at

BikeWalkLee is a community coalition raising public awareness and advocating for complete streets in Lee County — streets for safe and convenient travel for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders. Information, statistics and background online at

Upcoming Events

• Saturday: Sanibel 10K Race 4 F.I.S.H., Sanibel Community House (
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• Sunday, Nov. 10: Streets Alive!, downtown Fort Myers River District (
• Monday, Nov. 11: Veterans Day 5K, Midpoint Bridge (
• Thursday, Nov. 28, Turkey Trot 5K, Cape Coral Hospital (
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Cycling and other events:
• Friday-Sunday, Oct. 25-27: Share the Road Celebration of Cycling, DeLand (
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• Sunday, Nov. 29: Turkey Leg Century Ride, Publix, Six Mile Cypress at Daniels Parkway ( (Note: A self-supported ride)
• Sunday, Dec. 8: Everyone Rides, JetBlue Park. 15, 30, 62 and 100 mile rides - Fort Myers (
• Saturday-Sunday, Jan. 18-19, Tour de Cape, Cape Harbour Resort, Cape Coral (
• Sunday, March 16: Royal Palm Classic, organized by the Caloosa Riders, details to come (

1 comment:

  1. Actually there are 6 E's you are missing Equality, Encouragement and Evaluation.


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