Thursday, November 8, 2018

Less means more for safety

BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, 11/8/2018
by Ken Gooderham

Welcome to fall in Southwest Florida – or at least what passes for autumnal weather in the subtropics. It’s a time of year when we have to deal with less, and more.

Under the “less” category comes less heat and humidity – a welcome trend after a very long hot summer – as well as less daylight – which makes bikers, runners and walkers less likely to be seen by drivers.

On the “more” side, we definitely will have more people – as snowbirds return and visitors flock to fairer climes – which will mean more traffic (both vehicular and bike/ped) and more opportunities for unfortunate interactions between vehicles and non-vehicles.

It will also mean more people using our area’s bike/ped facilities – good news for awareness, bad news for possible accidents. So it’s time to brush up on your courtesy and competence skills, to ensure there’s room for all on the local paths and lanes.

More traffic and more bikers and walkers means more emphasis on safety – and that applies to all parties. It’s too easy to single out motor vehicles for blame in bike/ped incidents simply because they can do far more damage far too easily. But staying safe needs to be a mission undertaken by all the road (or road-adjacent) users, even though the risk is far higher for the more vulnerable users on foot or on bikes.

The Florida Department of Transportation has a campaign going on right now that emphasizes safety for all. Titled “Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow,” it focuses on safety steps for all road users to increase awareness of risks and requirements along with a range of tools and reports (hey, it’s DOT… there has to be studies!) to increase safety for all parties.

The campaign breaks down into three areas:

  • Engineering: Primarily focused on Complete Streets, to give all road users a place of their own on state roadways.
  • Education: A variety of pieces and PSAs to spotlight safety measures for all concerned, including some good reminders we call think we already know but could stand to brush up on nonetheless.
  • Enforcement: The part nobody wants and everyone needs, with an effort to target high-risk areas with high-visibility enforcement activities… because the only way you get through to some people is with a ticket and a fine.

You can check out the details at, which has a range of links and logos and more reports than you can count. A lot of this is recent material that have been repackaged (or at least re-linked) for this campaign, and some of it is pretty technical… but there’s plenty of good information for all road users, it’s a good collection of road safety and design information for anyone form the novice to the knowledgeable, and the focus on the full spectrum of safety is a welcome one indeed.

With less light and more motorists, sharing the road or path or lane is more crucial than ever if everyone is going to arrive home safe. Anything that increases awareness of the need for everyone to strive for safety is a good message to hear..

Ready to ride or run?

Run?  Plenty of options if you’re looking for a run (or even walk), with a variety of distances and venues as well. This Saturday, you’ll have a 10K run (2K walk) in Olde Naples, a 5K as part of the Cape’s Coconut Festival, a chance to run across the river thanks to Midpoint Madness, and a tot walk and 5K in Punta Gorda. Next weekend, you can handle a half-marathon in Naples or a 5K in Estero or Naples – all building up to the annual Turkey Trots to celebrate Thanksgiving. Info at,,, and

Ride? Two Critical Mass events – NE Lee on Friday night and Sanibel on Saturday night – lead a slimmed-down cycling schedule. Lights are required for the night rides and helmets are recommended for all; details at You can also join the no-drop Wakey, Wakey! Sunday morning ride leaving from Fort Myers Trek. The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, so helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group.

Both? Upcoming events include:
  • Sunday, Nov. 18: Longboat Key Triathlon & Duathlon, sprint and Olympic-distance tris, plus a sprint and Olympic duathlon. Longboat Key Club & Resort (
  • Sunday, Dec. 16: Christmas Sprint Triathlon/Duathlon, Sugden Regional Park, Naples (
  • Jan. 6, 2019: HITS Triathlon Series, with sprint, Olympic and half-Ironman distances. Nathan Benderson Park, Sarasota (
  • Willing to drive? Check or for tris around the state.


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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