Sunday, March 8, 2015

Overview of News-Press March 8th feature coverage on biking safety and a call to action

The News-Press Sunday March 8, 2015 edition ( both the front page section and the "views" section) is focused on the dangers for bicyclists on SWFL roads and what can be done to make them safer. This reporting is part of the News-Press year-long focus on making the roads safer for the state's most vulnerable road users, including bicyclists and walkers, as part of its "Share the Road Florida" campaign. Also listen to the related 3/18 WGCU/Gulf Coast Live: Improving Safety for Florida Bicyclists, and read BWL's 3/19 guest opinion in response:BWL Guest Opinion:Responsibility for safety falls on road users.

This is truly an amazing piece of outstanding journalism, first-rate writing/story-telling, in-depth data analysis, heart-wrenching stories of cyclists who have been killed on SWFL roads in the past year, thought-provoking questions for our community from guest opinion writers, and an excellent editorial calling for specific actions by both our local and state officials. The outstanding quality of this work should convince even those who feel their roadway behavior doesn't affect others to be something they should reconsider, whether they are behind the wheel or handlebars. This kind of deep reporting, storytelling, education and connection with our community has the power to save lives.

The outstanding News-Press team, led by Janine Zeitlin, has worked with BikeWalkLee, the Naples Pathways Coalition, the Injury Prevention Coalition, Stay Alive..Just Drive!, and other partners throughout the year to help raise bike/ped safety awareness in SWFL.  BikeWalkLee wants to thank everyone on the News-Press team for their contributions to this important work: Janine, Zeitlin, Melanie Payne, Laura Ruane, Mike Donlan, Andrew West, J. Wesley Hulette, Terry Eberle, Tom Hayden, and others.

We hope you will take the time to read these articles, join the community conversation online, through social media, and letters to the editor.  Take this as a call to action, contacting our local officials and state legislators asking them to act, take Sarah Owen's challenge to "come together to form our own bright orange flag moments," or be inspired by Tessa to teach your child to ride a bike or walk to school. There's something each and everyone of us can do to make a difference.
by Darla Letourneau

 Below are links to all the articles in News-Press Sunday 3/8/15 Bike Safety Feature:

Share the road: Bicycle crashes facts

Paths of peril--SWFL's heartbreaking bike deaths

Sarah Owen Guest Opinion: As cyclists, let’s create those 6-foot flag moments

Editorial: Cyclists deserve to be protected, safe 

  Also listen to the related 3/18 WGCU/Gulf Coast Live: Improving Safety for Florida Bicyclists.

 read BWL's 3/19 guest opinion in response:BWL Guest Opinion:Responsibility for safety falls on road users.

Read BikeWalkLee's previous columns re: how to respond to this spotlight on biking fatalities:

BWL June 26, 2014 Column: responding to biking fatalities by redoubling efforts to make it safer

This excellent BikeWalkLee column (written by Ken Gooderham of BWL), appeared in the June 26, 2014 News-Press "Go Coastal" section (and somehow is missing from our blog and was re-posted on 3/9/15), was our response to the initial News-Press feature by Janine Zeitlin about how to respond to the spotlight on biking fatalities.  Its message is worth reading again after the March 8, 2015 series...."we hope people (and policy makers) read coverage such as this and decide that we need to make this a safer place to bike and walk".

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