Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Sanibel Bicycle Club receives Florida Bicycle Association 2015 Club of the Year Award

FBA's Afonso (R) presents award to SBC team (L)
Congratulations to the Sanibel Bicycle Club on being named the Florida Bike Club of the Year by FBA. A big "Thank You" to the Florida Bicycle Association for recognizing their accomplishments.

At its monthly potluck this week, the Sanibel Bicycle Club (SBC) was honored as Florida's Bicycle Club of the Year by the Florida Bicycle Association (FBA). FBA's Executive Director Becky Afonso was on hand to present the award to Club President Diane Olsson, VP Patti Sousa, and Tom Sharbaugh. Vice-Mayor Denham and City Manager Judie Zimomra were in attendance to celebrate SBC's honor.

In presenting the award, Afonso highlighted the outstanding "Cycling on Sanibel" safety video, along with the Club's overall safety education initiative. "The Sanibel Bicycle Club's 'Cycling on Sanibel' video is a high quality product that communicates the safety message using a "fun" approach. It is one of the best bike safety videos I've seen," said Afonso.

The video project was initiated by the Club In 2014, when they proposed to the City of Sanibel that it apply for a Tourist Development grant to support the development of a tourist-focused "Cycling on Sanibel" safety video. The City applied for the TDC grant, and received a grant of $4,000 in November 2014, which served as seed money to get started. SBC was made the project manager by the City, and Tom Sharbaugh and Patti Sousa led the project on behalf of the Club. Its team first went door to door to businesses and organizations on island to raise over $20,000 to pay for the production of the video, which they successfully raised by January 2015. This fundraising effort also got community buy-in and support for the project. The SBC team selected a top notch video company to do the project and worked closely with them on the development of the video. The finished video was rolled out in May to widespread critical acclaim by local officials, residents, the business and tourism industry, and media, both locally and statewide. The SBC team then got to work on making sure the video was receiving the broadest distribution by all travel related organizations and businesses.

"Cycling on Sanibel" video

Building on this success and the relationships developed through this You Tube video project, the SBC team pursued a second safety education opportunity--developing nine key messages on how to be safe on Sanibel's shared use paths and displaying them on electronic displays in island and businesses, in partnership with Blue Ash Media Group. These messages have been running in 14 popular locations on Sanibel and Captiva since August 2015.

"Not only are these two innovative projects improving the safety and the biking experience for visitors on Sanibel, they are serving as models for other communities throughout Florida. The Sanibel Bicycle Club received the FBA's 2011 Club of the Year award, and it's gratifying to see this outstanding Club continue to serve as a model for other Clubs in Florida," Afonso said.

SBC has a long tradition of building successful public/private partnerships to improve the island's shared use path system and this latest effort is yet another stellar example of what can be accomplished through this approach. Congratulations to the Sanibel Bicycle Club, and a big "Thank You" to the Florida Bicycle Association for recognizing their accomplishments.

Report by Darla Letourneau 

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