Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Look to kids to get traffic safety message across

Florida Weekly 'Outdoors' column, 9/21/2016

We live in an area that’s potentially ideal for cycling, walking and running.

Flat terrain, overall good weather and a growing infrastructure that’s slowly becoming a solid bicycle and pedestrian network. But it’s no secret that too many bicyclists, pedestrians, and especially drivers engage in inappropriate and sometimes dangerous behavior when using our roads and pathways.

Traffic safety messages are fairly common but are clearly falling on deaf ears, as evidenced by our consistently outrageous crash, injury and fatality statistics here in Lee County. Could awareness messages created by middle and high school students make a difference? Lee County Emergency Medical Services and the Injury Prevention Coalition think it’s worth a try to find out.

An EMS grant, awarded through the Lee County IPC application process, will be used to entice high school and middle school students to produce videos focusing on traffic safety specific to bicycles and pedestrians. Of course, motorists can be the message’s focus as much as nonmotorists since they do the most damage. The BikeWalkSafely2Live video contest seeks 10-, 15-, or 30-second videos that can net winning schools $1,000 for media supplies and equipment and/ or for bicycle/pedestrian safety initiatives at their school. Second and third place schools will receive $500 and $250 respectively. The deadline for submissions is Nov. 18, and winners will be announced in January. Winning videos will be widely distributed as part of a countywide public safety campaign facilitated by the city of Cape Coral and its partners, which include Cape Coral Bike- Ped, BikeWalkLee, Lee County IPC, Lee County School District, Streets Alive, FDOT, MPO and other business and community safety advocates. More about the contest can be found at and

This contest has been announced within the school district but encouraging students you know to enter would be helpful as well, especially if they are enrolled in a private or charter school, where the announcement may not have gotten to them. It’s an opportunity for students to do something good for the community, their schools and themselves as they develop skills and begin to build their resumes. Having the messages crafted and delivered by young people can have a real impact on other young people, whether while on foot, riding a bike, or behind the wheel. And it can impact adults as well. Fort Myers Track Club 2016-2017 schedule

FMTC, our area’s premier running club and race organizer, has another season full of top-notch events on tap. Unless otherwise noted all races occur in the morning and on Saturdays.

See for more information.

Oct. 1 - Lexington Cares 5k,
Lexington Country Club
Oct. 8 - Cops and Joggers 5K,
Centennial Park (night)
Oct. 15 - Sanibel Race-4-FISH 10K,
Sanibel Community House
Oct. 22 - Race the Roof 15K, 5K,
Verandah Country Club
Nov. 11 - Midpoint Madness 5K, Royal
Palm Square (night)
Nov. 24 - Turkey Trot 5K,
C.C. Hospital/Wellness Center
Dec. 3 - River Run 10Krun/2Mwalk,
Centennial Park

Jan. 8 - River, Roots & Ruts
Half Marathon / 5K fun run,
Caloosahatchee Regional Park
Jan. 28 - Bug Chase 5K,
Calusa Nature Center
Feb. 4 - Strides for Education 5K,
Florida Southwestern College
Feb. 12
- Edison Fest kids races,
Downtown Fort Myers
Feb. 18 - Edison Festival 5K,
Centennial Park (evening)
Feb. 25 - Swamp Stomp 5K,
Rodeo Bar & Grill, LaBelle
March 5 - Hooters Half Marathon,
Hooters of Fort Myers
March 11 - Scope-for-Hope 5K,
Hammond Stadium
March 19* - Lehigh Spring Festival 5K,
Veterans Park, Lehigh
May 13 - Turtle Trot 5K,
Lovers Key State Park
May 20 - Cape Cops 5K,
Cape Coral Yacht Club
May 29
- Run-the-Green 5K, Eastwood
Golf Course
June (date TBA) - FMTC
Membership Run 5K, Hammond
July 4 - Freedom 5K, Cape Coral
Chamber of Commerce,
Downtown CC ¦

*Race may move to Jan. 21 and new location

- Dan Moser is a long-time bicycle/pedestrian advocate and traffic safety professional who cycles, runs and walks regularly for transportation, recreation and fitness. Contact him at and 334- 6417.

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