Sunday, August 10, 2014

Spotlight on Bike/Ped Safety--August 2014

Bike/Ped safety continues to be a front and center issue.  Since our last overall update report in April there have been many developments. This post highlights the News-Press bike/ped safety campaign, bike/ped fatalities through July, cycling safety efforts in Naples, Lee County Sheriff's enforcement campaign, and Roadway Safety Audits conducted jointly by FDOT and the Lee MPO.  Track BikeWalkLee's Facebook page and subscribe to real-time blog emails for the latest updates on all safety developments. (sign-up for both at top right of BWL's Facebook page.) 

Media safety campaign
News-Press has partnered with BikeWalkLee and Naples Pathways Coalition to focus on bike/ped safety in Southwest Florida.  Since May, News-Press has featured at least a dozen articles on the topic.  They started a new Facebook page called"Share the Road Florida" to cover the good, bad and ugly about riding a bike in Southwest Florida. Be sure to "friend" it and share your thoughts. 

News-Press has created Cycling and Pedestrian Safety Pages on their website to make it easy to find articles, commentaries, and editorials on issue: 

The campaign has only just begun, so stay tuned. Thanks to News-Press, especially Janine Zeitlin, for their excellent work on this project.

Bike/Ped Fatalities through 7/31/14)
So far this year (through the end of July), Lee County has experienced 5 bicycle fatalities and 10 pedestrian fatalities.  The bicycle fatality numbers for 2014 reached five by May (only 5 months into the year)...while Lee County hasn't exceeded 5 per year since 2007.  At this rate,  Lee County could see a record number of biking fatalities this year. 

An alarming number of these fatalities have been "hit-and-run" cases.  Now that the State statute has been strengthened to increase the penalties for hit-and-run cases, it is hopeful that this trend will improve in the future.  As we've said in the past, fatality statistics are just the tip of the iceberg, with more than 10 times that number in reported injuries.  Of particular concern has been the rash of cyclists seriously injured, both in Lee and Collier counties, while on group rides and the number of both cyclists and pedestrians killed or injured by hit-and-run drivers.

Naples Aug. 1st bike safety event

The Naples Pathways Coalition (one of BWL's supporter organizations) sponsored an Aug. 1st ten mile recreational ride in Naples to promote bike safety. "The NPC is trying to calm the confrontations so that we can have a meaningful conversation on the issue and so that everyone can get home safely," said Jane Cheffy NPC President. Let's keep this safety measure front and center. Thanks to Naples Daily News, News-Press and NBC-2 News for the media coverage.

Enforcement Efforts:
The Lee County Sheriff's Office conducted another bike/ped safety enforcement detail on July 22nd, which got great media coverage.  Kudos to LCSO! LCSO recently received an FDOT grant to fund deputies to conduct special high visibility education enforcement operations in selected "hot spot" areas, as part of a comprehensive safety campaign that promotes safe pedestrian, bicyclist and driver behaviors.

See the July 22nd Naples Daily News article, which featured extensive quotes from Dan Moser.  

News-Press July 22nd article: Deputies look out for bicycle, pedestrian violations in Bonita Springs

Update on Roadway Safety Audits (RSAs) focused on bike/ped safety

One of the action items in the Lee MPO bicycle pedestrian safety action plan was to undertake RSAs.  These are formal safety performance investigations of a highway section or intersection by a multi-disciplinary team which considers the safety of all users, with an emphasis on bike/ped safety for ours. These two-day field visits to the site engage all stakeholders, and FDOT and the Lee MPO have partnered to conduct five of them in Lee County. 

RSAs for SW Pine Island Rd. at Santa Barbara Blvd. in Cape Coral and the Palm Beach Blvd. at Marsh Avenue in Fort Myers were conducted in May.  In June two more were conducted--US 41 at Gladiolus/Six Mile Cypress Parkway; and the Colonial Blvd. at Six Mile Cypress Parkway/Ortiz Ave. In July, the team conducted a 5th audit--this one at US 41 from Winkler Ave. to Victoria Ave.  BikeWalkLee and Lee Memorial Health System have participated on these RSA teams.  The next step is to receive the findings of each of these 5 audits and their recommendations for potential safety improvement projects.  We'll keep you posted.

Recent BWL Blog Stories on Safety:
Over the past month (since our last newsletter), the following BWL blog posts have focused on bike/ped safety:

July 20th:  Sharing the road important tokeeping bicyclists safe.  Commentary by local cyclist Craig Hersch about the need for cyclists and motorists to be vigilant and understanding around one another.  

June20th: BikeWalkLee Commentary: Facts and fears for Southwest Florida cyclists.  As a follow-up to News-Press feature series on biking dangers, BikeWalkLee wrote a commentary about the delicate balancing act between focusing on the dangers on our roadways for cyclists (and pedestrians), while at the same time encouraging more people to bike and walk.  Our message is that we hope people and policymakers read the News-Press coverage and decide that we need to make this a safer place to bike and walk.

  This in-depth editorial, accompanied by a major Sunday edition feature on the cycling safety, called for stronger enforcement and prosecution of drivers who kill or injure cyclists.  Thanks to News-Press for shining a spotlight on the need for action to make SWFL a safer place to walk and bike.  

Recent articles about bike/ped fatalities and injuries in Lee County:

Articles related to the Aug. 9th pedestrian killed by hit-and-run driver in Fort Myers

Article related to July 12th incident of three cyclists, riding with Naples Velo Club were hit and seriously injured on Fort Myers Beach bridge while on a Saturday morning ride.  This incident was the spark that gave rise to NPC's August 1st Bicycle Safety event in Naples.

NBC-2 News' story on dangers of texting while walking.

No comments:

Post a Comment

BikeWalkLee is not responsible for the validity of any comment posted at this site and has the right to remove any comment at any time.