Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Firsthand experiences are valuable

Florida Weekly 'Outdoors' column, 2/1/2017 

Dan Moser
Organizers of Million Mile Movement, which is taking place until the end of March, have added a new element to the challenge. They’re seeking firsthand reports of the good, bad and downright dangerous aspects of our infrastructure as well as behaviors witnessed when out and about.

In fact, because this kind of information is so valuable, anyone is welcome to provide input - including photos and videos - whether or not you’re registered with MMM.

If this option is utilized as envisioned, it will prove useful in getting the Cape Coral-Fort Myers metro area off the top of the list of most dangerous places in the U.S. for pedestrians.

Your “field reports” of experiences will be collected, analyzed and sent to transportation and recreation decision makers with the intention to spark action, both in specific locations you’ve identified and for the bigger picture.

Beyond documenting user experiences, the hope is that a critical planning element will finally be undertaken as a result. Transportation professionals and Complete Streets advocates are well aware that one of the major shortcomings in our area’s planning process for accommodating pedestrians and bicyclists with the proper design is the almost total lack of any method of counting users on existing sidewalks, paths, trails and bike lanes. Knowing who is using a facility is crucial to making improvements when necessary.

Latent demand estimation is yet another missing aspect of our current process. Private road developers may sometimes build roads strictly on speculation but those who fund our motor vehicle transportation projects with public tax dollars would (almost) never consider investing a dollar without doing their due diligence of using well established (although sometimes flawed and outdated) methods of knowing how many vehicles can be expected. For bike/ ped accommodation planning, other than the existence of well-worn goat paths or when human tragedies make it abundantly clear there’s a need, formal latent demand data isn’t part of decision making, at least from my experience.

It’s easy to pass along your experiences and insights from navigating our roads, pathways and parks. You can go to to find details of the various options or simply tag @HealthyLeeCounty on FB and use the hashtag #MilllionMileMovement to record your observations and experiences.

Some input you may want to submit includes: Did you feel safe during your activity? Why or why not? Did you notice any recent improvements in infrastructure or the overall environment? What were they? What more would you recommend? Were you able to find you way with ease, especially if the area where you were is new to you? Were there particular intersections or traffic conditions that concerned you? What do you suggest to make them better/safer?

Any feedback you deem appropriate is appreciated. By the way, be sure to also report hazard you happen upon to the department responsible for addressing the problem. Finally, to provide input specific to the bike/ped master plan currently being developed by Fort Myers Beach you can find the link at Additional information for all of these are at

Area bike rides

Once again city of Cape Coral Parks and Rec staff and volunteers did a great job of pulling off this year’s Tour de Cape in challenging conditions. With sustained winds at 15-25 mph (with much higher gusts) all morning, and the threat of thunderstorms and possible tornadic activity looming, the prudent decision was made to forego the 100-mile ride and adjust the metric half-century (62-miles) to loop the 30-mile route twice instead. The 30- and 15-milers went on as normal. This decision meant no riders would be stranded many miles away in the northern part of the Cape and rest-stop volunteers wouldn’t be put in harm’s way. Based on what I heard from those returning form their respective rides, no one complained about the adjustments — they were just happy to be back after a tough ride. Extra T-shirts were given out and a discount on next year’s Tour de Cape was offered to those who had registered to ride the century as a goodwill gesture.

Next up is the annual Royal Palm Classic Ride, organized by Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club ( It is Sunday, March 12. It’s being staged from Fort Myers Brewery in Gateway. Distances include 15, 40 and 62 miles. Proceeds will be donated to I WILL Mentorship Foundation (, an organization that includes bike riding as part of its work with local young people. ¦

- 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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