Thursday, May 9, 2019

BikeWalkLee: Silence speaks loudly about safety

BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, May 9, 2019
by Ken Gooderham

May means National Bike Month. May also means the Ride of Silence – perhaps not the best way to celebrate cycling, some might say.

But you can’t celebrate cycling without promoting road safety, and riding to remember those who were injured or killed while on a bike is certainly an emphatic way to underscore how unsafe our roadways can be – particularly in Southwest Florida, where more cyclists have been killed so far in 2019 than in all of the previous year.

The Ride of Silence is a global event that takes place every May in 48 countries, seven continents and all 50 states (plus Washington, DC). Riders are requested to wear black arm bands (red if they have personally been injured in a cycling versus motor vehicle accident). Cyclists will ride in a silent, funeral-style procession at 10-12 mph for 7 miles.

Once again, there will be two Ride of Silence locally, both scheduled for Wednesday, May 15:
  • The Sanibel ride – organized by the Sanibel Bicycle Club, Billy’s Bike and Matzaluna Restaurant – will gather at 6:45 p.m. at Matzaluna, 1200 Periwinkle Way. The ride kicks off at 7 p.m. down Periwinkle to the Sanibel Causeway, crossing the two lower spans and turning around under the main span to return to Matzaluna. Helmets and lights required.
  • The Cape Coral ride – organized by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club and Streets Alive of Southwest Florida – departs from the Southwest Florida Military Museum, 4820 Leonard Street, at 7 p.m. The 7-mile ride will be on public streets at speeds not to exceed 12 mph. Helmets and lights also required.

The Cape event will also feature an inaugural Walk of Silence organized by Streets Alive, to focus on the roadway risks facing walkers, runners, skaters and wheelchair users throughout Southwest Florida. Participants in the 1-mile walk are encouraged to wear white or neon-color shirts and comfortable shoes, and to bring a flashlight if possible (although reflective wristbands and lights will be handed out as necessary).

Cape bike racks coming

Some better news for cyclists who ride to downtown Cape Coral: The Cape Coral Community Foundation in partnership with Cape Coral Bike-Ped has established a fund to bring more bike racks to downtown – a great way to encourage cycling as well as burnish the city’s Bronze status as a Bike-Friendly Community.

A check ceremony was held May 6 to hand funds over to the city, with special thanks to Mike Swanson of Cape Coral Bike Ped and Mike Holm of Fort Myers Cyclery for working together to raise these funds initially.

Keep an eye out for the new racks at the next Cape Coral Critical Mass ride, set for Friday, May 31… or grab your bike and head over to downtown on your own!

Cape tri Saturday

So we’ve covered biking and walking in the Cape… let’s end with an event that combines both (well, running rather than walking) and throws in swimming to kick things off.

Of course, that means Saturday’s Cape Coral Sprint Tri, celebrating its 10th year and once again using the Yacht Club as its base. Alas, if you haven’t already signed up the event website says the registration cut-off was May 6… but you can still come down and cheer on the triathletes Saturday morning.


Ready to ride or run? 

Run? Two 5Ks this Saturday – the Lovers Key run/walk on fort Myers Beach and the Lipman 5K Run for Backpacks in Immokalee – followed by the Cape Cops 5K run walk on May 18. Details at and

Ride? Critical Mass takes to the streets of Sanibel Saturday night and NE Lee a week from Friday (May 17). Lights are required for night rides and helmets are recommended; details at
Wednesday brings the two Rides of Silence outlined in the article.

Both? Upcoming events include:
  • Saturday, May 11: Cape Coral Sprint Tri (
  • Saturday, May 18: Life’s a Beach Tri, Sarasota (
  • Sunday, June 2: 33rd Annual Fitness Challenge Triathlon, Naples (
  • Sunday, June 9: Heartland Sprint and Olympic Tri, Sebring (
  • Sunday, June 23: Sirens Sprint Tri, Sarasota (
  • Registration is open for this year’s Galloway Captiva Tri on Sept. 7-8, which offers a new format this go-round with the sprint race on Saturday morning and the kids’ events Sunday morning. Details at
  • 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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