This week Dan's column highlights two important upcoming events: Streets Alive (11/10) and Midpoint Madness (11/11). The advocacy update focuses on troubling trends of increased bike and pedestrian injuries and fatalities and the higher level of legal responsibility for drivers to avoid collisions with anyone.
Streets Alive!, a new and locally unique event happening in the downtown Fort Myers River District, takes place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10. It promises to be a day of fun that will keep participants busy with many choices to be physically active, but at one’s own level of comfort. Besides traversing the motor vehicle-free streets on a bike, skating, skateboarding, walking, running, or any other human powered method, there will be five activity areas with a variety of things to engage in, from hop-scotch to boot camp training to disc (Frisbee) golf, all free of charge.
Along with the wide array of physical activities there will be a number of healthy food and beverages being given out as samples, as well as others that can be purchased, including fare from the many excellent downtown restaurants that will be open for the event. There’s way too much happening at Streets Alive! to mention it all here, so you’ll have to visit www.streetsalivelee.org and www.facebook.com/pages/Streets-Alive-Lee to get all the details. Coming by bike is the best bet, but for those who drive, free parking is available. Bicycle route suggestions and parking locations can be found on those websites as well.
The very next day, Monday, Nov. 11, is Veterans Day, so that means the YMCA’s well-established Midpoint Madness 5K moves back to the evening, taking runners and walkers across a bridge that is usually open only to those on wheels. This year will be the first “glow run” themed event, and participants are encouraged to wear their best glow-wear to help light up the bridge and the after-party at Royal Palm Square Shopping Center at the foot of the bridge. Besides the usual age group award categories there’ll be ones for military veterans. You’ll find all the details at www.swflymca.org and www.ftmyerstrackclub.com.
Pedestrian and bicycle crashes resulting in serious injuries and fatalities have spiked recently, a phenomenon that continues to haunt Southwest Florida. And while reports provided to the media by law enforcement investigators routinely place the blame on the victim, the legal responsibility of motorists to avoid colliding with anything or anybody, regardless of circumstances, seems to be lost on all of us, including investigators. Obviously, as vulnerable road users we should do everything we can to stay safe, including following the law (which, by the way, doesn’t require the use of crosswalk to get across a street). But even more important — due to the fact that motor vehicles are essentially loaded and aimed weapons — is that there’s an even higher level of legal responsibility for us as drivers.
Below are excerpts that I use in my presentation to court-ordered high-risk drivers. They are the essence of three laws confirming that fact that seem to be overlooked by motorists and law enforcement alike when it comes to driving behavior, especially as it relates to protecting vulnerable road users. Take these legal requirements seriously when driving and pass them along to your friends and family, including those in law enforcement.
¦ “Any person operating a vehicle upon the streets or highways within the state shall drive the same in a careful and prudent manner, having regard for the width, grade, curves, corners, traffic, and all other attendant circumstances, so as not to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person.” (FSS 316.1925)
¦ “Speed shall be controlled as may be necessary to avoid colliding with any person… regardless of posted speed.” (FSS 316.185)
¦ “...exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or human-powered vehicle and give warning when necessary and exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused or incapacitated person.” (FSS 316.130)
Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and trails.
— Dan Moser is CyclingSavvy instructor/ trainer and program director for Florida Bicycle Association who cycles, runs and walks regularly for transportation, recreation and fitness. He may be contacted at email@example.com or 334- 6417.