This week's Moser column suggests New Year's resolutions for all the players in bike/ped safety--bicyclists and pedestrians, motorists, law enforcement officials, local governments, and FDOT. If all the players take these resolutions to heart, Lee County could make 2014 much safer than 2013 for pedestrians and cyclists.
Bicyclists and pedestrians: Resolve to be hyper vigilant and cognizant of the ever-changing dynamics of the traffic we are part of whenever we step out of our doors and into public space. This includes knowing our rights and responsibilities as well as understanding our vulnerability as we interact with one-ton vehicles whose drivers are frequently operating at levels less than what the law requires due to distractions, inattentiveness, aggressiveness and a general lack of concern for other road users.
Motorists: Resolve to be mindful of our motor vehicle’s ability to injure and kill anytime we’re behind the wheel and operate it as if we are handling a weapon, which is exactly what we’re doing. That means driving with exceptional care and civility, particularly when encountering pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists — the most vulnerable users of our roads.
Law enforcement officials: Resolve to enforce traffic laws that have the most impact on protecting vulnerable road users from being injured and killed. In most cases, that will require focusing on motorists who fail to fulfill the legal responsibility to always operate motor vehicles with the utmost care, taking into account mistakes and transgressions made by others, especially the aforementioned vulnerable road users. And to take appropriate action when observing illegal sidewalk parking.
Local governments: Resolve to embrace and implement Complete Streets concepts and features whenever possible and, in particular, where safety and access problems are known because of the lack of necessary features. This may also mean convincing other governments whose roads run through your jurisdictions to do the same. Keeping speeds down, refraining from turning streets and roads into overbuilt multi-lane highways, and putting more focus and resources toward transit and access to it are part of this resolution.
Florida Department of Transportation: Resolve to continue moving in the direction FDOT Secretary Ananth Prasad has tasked Billy Hattaway to take your department, one of Florida’s most powerful and important departments in terms of how much tax money is spent and the impact on all of the public’s everyday lives. District One Secretary Hattaway has made real strides in changing the way FDOT plans and builds its projects by putting more emphasis on allowing people to use modes of transportation other than motor vehicles to get to where they need safely and efficiently. This institutional change in thinking and operating is difficult but necessary if we want to bring our dismal traffic crash numbers down, improve our quality of life and get our overall transportation expenditures under control.
There’s quite a smorgasbord of running and cycling events we’ll be able to participate in over the next few months. In fact, there are too many to mention, but here are a few I thought I’d feature:
¦ Tour de Cape 5K & Rides, on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 18-19; www.tourdecape.net.
¦ Verot Paint Run 5K, on Saturday, Jan. 25; www.bvhs.org/verotvikings5krun.
¦ Fallen Heroes Rides, on Saturday, Feb. 8; www.brotherhoodride.com
¦ Edison Fest 5K, on Saturday, Feb. 15; www.edisonfestival.org/race or www.ftmyerstrackclub.com
¦ Hooters Half Marathon, on Sunday, March 2; www.hootershalfmarathon.com
Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and trails.
— Dan Moser is C yclingSavvy 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.