Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Honoring injured cyclists… with silence

BWL Column
The News-Press, 5/11/2017
by Ken Gooderham

Sometimes silence speaks louder than words… at least that’s the hope of the Ride of Silence.

The Fort Myers Ride of Silence is
Wednesday, May 17, starting at
7 p.m. from Centennial Park in
downtown Fort Myers.
What began in 2003 in Dallas as a spontaneous outpouring of grief for a friend and fellow rider, struck and killed by the mirror of a passing vehicle, has rolled across the globe to become an international annual event memorializing and honoring cyclists who have been injured and killed while riding. The Ride of Silence is a worldwide event; in 2016, 445 events were held in 50 states, 48 countries, and seven continents

All these events share the same goals: "To honor fallen cyclists, to promote road safety, and to make a difference."

Bike safety is not a fleeting issue, especially here in Florida which ranks as the very worst in the nation for cyclist safety, with the highest fatality rate for 10 years in a row. In 2016, nine cyclists were killed in Lee County crashes; in 2015, four cyclists were killed; and, in 2017 to date, there has been one.

There will be two Rides of Silence in Lee County, both May 17:

  • The Fort Myers ride leaves at 7 p.m. from Centennial Park in downtown Fort Myers, for an eight-mile ride at 10-12 mph.
  • The Sanibel ride also leaves at 7 p.m. from Matzaluna Restaurant, 1200 Periwinkle Way, for a slow seven-mile ride out and back on the Sanibel Causeway, turning around under the high bridge. There will be a short educational program beginning at 6:15 p.m. for interested riders, and Matzaluna will provide discounted food and drink for all riders.

Riders are requested to wear black armbands (or red if they have personally been injured in a cycling vs. motor vehicle accident.) Helmets are required, no headphones please, and lights required if you’re riding home after dark. Everyone welcome, free of charge. No registration necessary.

On a less somber note, Bike to Work Week is May 15-19, with Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 19 (check for events).

In other news…

LeeTran wants your input on improving the downtown intermodal center, and is holding a listening session on May 16 to hear your thoughts.

LeeTran invites you to stop by the Rosa Parks Transportation Center. 2255 Widman Way in Fort Myers, 1-5 p.m. on next Tuesday to discuss elements that you would like to see at the center. The expansion project includes planning and construction to improve circulation and alleviate congestion, improve security for transit operations, and expand and improve connections for bicycles, pedestrians and access for those with limited mobility. Current considerations include locked bicycle storage, increased bus capacity, additional indoor amenities, etc.

For more information, contact Kris Cella, Public Information Consultant, at (239) 337-1071 or 

Meanwhile, if you want to learn about the cycling opportunities in other areas of our country, check out “Pedal America,” which will air on WGCU’s Create Channel (202 on cable) beginning Sunday, May 14, at 9 a.m. The first episode spotlights Austin, TX, with subsequent ones looking at Savannah and Chicago. Or you can check out more episodes online at

Ready to ride or run?

Run? Saturday, head to the beach for the Lovers Key Turtle Trot 5K ( Sunday, it’s the Holly Morgan Fisher Memorial 5K XC Trail Run at North Port High School ( Then on May 20, run over to the Cape Cops 5K at Cape Coral Yacht Club (

Ride? Critical Mass rides tomorrow night (Northeast Lee at 7:30 p.m.), Saturday (Sanibel at 7:30 p.m.), May 19 (Estero at 7:30 p.m.), and May 20 (a new LaBelle Slow Roll, meets at 9 a.m. at 71 South Lee Street). For night rides lights are required; Helmets recommend for all riders, and required for those age 16 or under. Details at

Still time to sign up for the Cape Coral Sprint Tri this Saturday, May 13 (, or the Fitness Challenge Reverse Tri in Naples June 14 ( Also, registration is open for the Galloway Captiva Tri Sept. 9-10… spaces are limited and the kid’s races usually fill up first, so don’t miss out.


Have a favorite route you like to bike, or a unique walk you’d like to share with others? Tell us about it at, and maybe we can feature it in an upcoming column.

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Ken Gooderham writes this on behalf of BikeWalkLee, a community coalition raising public awareness and advocating for complete streets in Lee County — streets that are designed, built, operated and maintained for safe and convenient travel for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Information, statistics and background online at

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