Sunday, February 15, 2015

Correct practices for bicycle users, by Dan Moser

Recently, there have been several letters to the editor that have incorrectly stated the facts about bike/ped rules.  BikeWalkLee's Dan Moser decided that these errors needed to be corrected and penned the below column in today's News-Press Opinion Page.  Thanks to News-Press for giving us the opportunity to respond.

News-Press, Sunday 2/15/15 ("Sound Off" column in Views section of the paper)
By Dan Moser

I'm writing to correct statements in two recent letters to the Mailbag that, if left unaddressed, will serve only to perpetuate the horrible environment we've created here for people on foot and bikes.

In one, the writer opines that "roads are for cars." The public rights-of-way are owned by and intended for people, some who are in motor vehicles, some on foot or wheelchairs, and others on bicycles. Indeed, there are rules for each, but they do not limit non-motorists from being in the road in places other than marked crosswalks and only when no vehicles are moving, as the writer stated.

In the other, the writer states as fact that people on bikes must ride three feet from the curb and no further into the travel lane. This is totally false. The actual language in Florida Statute 316.2065.5, Bicycle Regulations, states:

"Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride in the lane marked for bicycle use or, if no lane is marked for bicycle use, as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:
When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
When reasonably necessary to avoid any condition or potential conflict, including, but not limited to, a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, bicycle, pedestrian, animal, surface hazard, turn lane, or substandard-width lane, which makes it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge or within a bicycle lane. For the purposes of this subsection, a "substandard-width lane" is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane."

The lanes on almost all roads are too narrow to allow safe travel for a car and bike within the same lane, thus a person on a bike may ride as far into the lane as deemed safe.

Finally, it's important that whenever something is stated or published as fact it's actually just that and not simply opinion or wishful thinking.

Dan Moser, a resident of Fort Myers, is a member of BikeWalkLee.

News-Press Letters to Editor, Sunday, 2/15/15

Floating is the new walking

In response to Frank Roth "Walkers, stay out of streets" on Feb. 7. He says "Please don't walk in the street! Cars belong there, not people." Roth has most likely never left Fort Myers.

Living in the southwest Cape the two main roads that go North and South have side walks, most of the streets, place, and courts do not. So does he want us to float down the road? He should explain what he thinks we should do.

Gene Hoffmann, Cape Coral

News-Press Letters to Editor 2/7/15
Below are the two letters to the editor that Dan Moser was responding to:
Cyclists, know the law

Lately there has been a lot of talk about bicycle safety especially with all the recent accidents. People want more bike paths, sidewalks and motor vehicle driver awareness. I agree with all this but why not start with something that is really easy to achieve.

Have the police and sheriff departments started enforcing the law. Everywhere you go in Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres, all you see are young children riding their bikes without helmets which are required up to the age of 16 by Florida law. I’m sure that is going on in our other communities as well.

Why not start officers confiscating the bicycles until the parents show up with helmets and receipts of purchase of helmets. If the bicycles aren’t reclaimed, they can be given out to deserving children next Christmas. By law they should be getting citations, holding the parents responsible, which would help pay for the program.

I know someone will say the police don’t have time for this. Currently, they do go out and spend time doing public awareness checks and education programs handing out information. In Cape Coral, we do have police volunteers driving around which can help in picking up the confiscated bicycles. Also publicize these confiscations through our local media and I’m sure this would have a greater impact on protecting our children and enforcing the law.

Ray Uryga, Cape Coral

Walkers, stay out of streets

Are there any sidewalks north of Florida? There are fine, wide sidewalks in Brandywine and Myerlee communities but many people don’t use them and walk in the street, instead.

Believe me, walking in the street is quite dangerous, especially in the early morning or late afternoon. It is very difficult to see someone with a low sun behind them. At other times some walkers won’t get out of the street when cars are coming both ways and if you blow the horn they look at you like you have just committed a heinous crime.

Please, people, don’t walk in the street! Cars belong there, not people. The only time someone should be in the street is to cross at a designated crosswalk when traffic is at a standstill. Otherwise, after seeing some of the drivers around here, you stands a very good chance of becoming a hood ornament on a Lincoln Town Car.

Frank Roth, Fort Myers

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