Thursday, February 27, 2020

BikeWalkLee: Runners and riders will be sharing the roadways

BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, February 27, 2020
by Ken Gooderham

Some upcoming running and riding events will be asking motorists to share the road… or, in one case, get off it altogether for a few hours.

That can draw drivers’ ire for the minor inconvenience, but it really should make motorists happier. Why? Safety.

Safety for the event participants, of course – but safety for motorists as well. By keeping runners or riders either out of traffic or keeping traffic away from them, everyone wins.

Runners and riders have a better experience, both in terms of safety and overall. And motorists ought to feel a little relief by knowing there will be separation from the more vulnerable road users and that this is a well-run event.

Because, trust me, no event organizer wants to close roads – they have to in order to ensure everyone’s safety. And the process of closing a road involves a lot of planning and moving parts, including deputies and other public safety personnel, strict scheduling and, of course, barricades and cones – both the boon and bane of any outdoor-event organizer.

The goal of any running or riding event is safety… fun and camaraderie, too, but safety first. That’s how you build a reputation for putting on a good event, that’s how you get permits (or at least signoffs) from the public safety agencies – and, most of all, that’s how you get people coming back year after year. Frankly, killing off your target audience is bad for business.

For drivers, the impact on traffic from this events this weekend and next will be minimal – again, the result of something that’s carefully planned, not accidentally achieved.

The three events are:

  • Saturday, Feb. 29: The City of Palms Half Marathon and 5K, which will take place essentially on the FGCU campus.
  • Sunday, March 1: The Lazy Flamingo Half Marathon and 2-Person Relay, which runs from the Lazy Flamingo restaurant just south of College Parkway up McGregor Blvd. to downtown and back.
  • Sunday, March 8: The Caloosa Riders offer the Royal Palm Challenge, with bike rides of 12, 40 and 62 miles starting and ending at the Collaboratory in downtown Fort Myers.

The first thing to know is that the two runs kick off when many people are still asleep (6:30 a.m.) while the ride starts anywhere between 7:45 a.m. to 10 a.m. depending on the length you choose.

The second is that the impact on motor traffic will be minimal in two of the three. The City of Palms event will only affect traffic on the FGCU campus, which is likely not very busy early Saturday morning. The Royal Palm rides will take off from downtown, but the two longer routes head over the Edison Bridge to North Fort Myers and Northeast Lee County – on roads either with decent shoulders or limited traffic.

As an aside, if you’re interested in riding in the challenge – or just learning more about safety in group rides – the Caloosa Riders offer an excellent one-page Safety Brief on the Royal Palm event website. Worth a look for any cyclist.

The most impact may be with the Lazy Flamingo run, which will close southbound McGregor Blvd. for three hours (6:30-9:30 a.m.) Sunday morning from West First Street to Camelot Drive; north- and southbound McGregor will be closed from Camelot Drive to College Parkway. There’s a strict three-hour time limit to finish the race, which will further minimize impact on the motorists; as the last runner heads south from the West First Street turnaround, crews will follow behind picking up cones/barricades and opening the road.

There may still be time to sign up for any of these events, but if you want to get in on the half marathons check to see when registration actually closes. (Needless to say, you should also be trained and ready to tackle 13.1 miles, as that’s not something you should do on a whim.)

If you’re so inclined, the events are probably still looking for volunteers, if you’d like to sign up and lend a hand. It’s a great way to see what goes on behind an event, and the organizers will be happy to see you – since events such as these live and die on capable volunteers willing to pitch in to make it a success.

Bike me out to the ballgame


With spring training in full swing, a reminder to baseball-loving cyclists that both local parks – Fenway South Park east of the interstate and Hammond Stadium inside the CenturyLink Sports Complex at Six Mile Cypress Parkway – are easily accessed by the Daniels Parkway bike path which ties into the larger bicycle network serving that part of the county. Since Daniels traffic can turn in to a slow-moving slog on game days, those who are willing to pedal to the parks can avoid the traffic hassle and work up a thirst for a ballpark beer to boot.

Ready to ride or run?


Run?  Besides the two half marathons mentioned above, this weekend also offers the Naples Golden Eagle 5K in downtown Naples on Saturday. The following weekend brings the Scope for Hope 5K (plus walk and fun run) at CenturyLink Sports Complex in Fort Myers and the Baker Park 5K in Naples – both on Saturday. Details at ftmyerstrackclub.com, runeliteevents.com, runsignup.com and gcrunner.org.

Ride?  Besides the Royal Palm Challenge on March 8, Critical Mass has these regularly scheduled rides on tap:
  • Friday, Feb. 28: Cape Coral Critical Mass ride. Gather at the Southwest Florida Military Museum parking lot at 4820 Leonard Street for a family-friendly night ride through the Cape. Lights required, helmets recommended.
  • Saturday, Feb. 29: Saturday Morning Slow Roll, meet-up at 2160 McGregor Blvd. Recommended for inexperienced/young riders. Distance is 6 miles, includes group ride instruction.
  • Friday, March 6: SW Florida Critical Mass ride. A family-friendly slow night ride through Fort Myers. Front and rear bike lights required. Grab your helmet, bring all your friends and meet in the Publix side lot at First Street Village, 2160 McGregor Blvd.
Lights required for night rides, helmets recommended for all, details and start times at meetup.com.

If you’re looking for a good ride and some cycling camaraderie, look no further than the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club. Check out their ride calendar and you see a ride for almost every day of the week (never on a Friday, but even more on weekends), all mapped and planned for your enjoyment. The Riders even tell you how fast (or not) you’ll need to be to keep up… click on the ride of your choice for all the details and even a map. All at caloosariders.org.

Both?  If you’re planning your tri schedule, here’s what is on tap in the next few months:

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RIDE:

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

# # #

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 www.BikeWalkLee.org. 


Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Design matters

Florida Weekly 'Outdoors' column, February 26, 2020
danMOSER
bikepedmoser@gmail.com

This keyhole bike lane won’t exist with FDOT’s new policy. DAN MOSER / FLORIDA WEEKLY
Vision Zero, the effort being undertaken by many governments and organizations to not just reduce traffic-related crashes but to eliminate them, is a worthy goal, but if plans aren’t fully thought through there will be unintended consequences.

Some consequences may result in the exact opposite of what Vision Zero is meant to do, such as making it more difficult to get around efficiently. A major change to Florida’s roadway design guidelines may be an example.

The change — outlining when bike lanes are to be used — was announced locally at the January meeting of the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinating Committee — an advisory committee that deals with bike/pedestrian matters throughout the county.

Specifically, bike lanes will no longer be included on state roads that have no curbs and with posted speeds of 45 mph or higher. In Lee County, that means that segments of U.S. 41, Pine Island Road/ Bayshore Road, McGregor Boulevard, San Carlos Boulevard, Palm Beach Boulevard and MLK Boulevard could be affected when resurfacing or other improvements are made. It includes the potential removal of existing bike lanes. U.S. 41 from around Alico Road to just south of San Carlos Park, which will soon be resurfaced, as the first example of this new policy..

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 bikepedmoser@gmail.com
and 239-334-6417.
The standards mandate that in populated areas where bike lanes are not constructed, a shared-use path (meaning at least 10 feet wide and made of asphalt) should be constructed to accommodate pedestrians and those on bicycles. If there’s only a concrete sidewalk (8 feet or less) or no sidepath, a 5-foot paved shoulder with right-turn lane keyholes (moving the shoulder from the right side of a right-turn lane over to the left of it so there’s no conflict at the intersection) is an option but not a requirement.

On U.S. 41 near San Carlos Park there are currently 5-foot concrete sidewalks (which frequently go underwater during rainy season) so a paved shoulder and keyholes may be how the final product ends up, unless the sidepath is upgraded to an asphalt shared use path. Or not.

FDOT’s intentions to separate those on bikes from high-speed motor vehicles is understandable, and the majority of people who ride bikes would prefer that be the case. But there are a number of other elements to consider, including how pedestrians might be affected. Those who prefer operating bikes on the road generally ride at higher speeds than is appropriate on pathways so that means if they are relegated to the path by design they pose a risk to pedestrians when traveling at high speeds.

And at each intersection, whether side streets or driveways, there’s now a much higher risk of conflict for cyclists since many motorists don’t stop where indicated or, in some situations, aren’t required to stop prior to crossing the pathway because it’s set back so far from the road.

Another major factor is the reality that e-bikes and other micro-mobility devices will soon be everywhere and will be operating at speeds way too high for sidewalks and shared-use paths. From my observations and experience it’s already a problem.

I have no doubt that FDOT is making its best effort to implement Complete Streets in a way that balances access and safety and that it’s committed to providing shared use paths wherever they forego bike lanes. But the reality is that it could/would never allocate enough funding to even come close to doing so, since the vast majority of state roads statewide have speed limits at or above 45 mph and without curbs.

To its credit, FDOT recently reversed its short-lived policy that any time it constructs a sidepath wider than a 5- or 6-foot concrete sidewalk local governments must take on maintenance and repair or default to having sidewalks. Most local governments would balk at that requirement and settle for a sidewalk designed and constructed exclusively for pedestrian traffic.

Another constructive step FDOT is taking will be to review all local bike/ pedestrian master plans so it will know where bike lanes on state roads are proposed or expected in order to come to some kind of agreement that will accommodate the most people.

That’s a good approach, assuming the micro-mobility element will be fully considered in whatever facility or treatment type is offered. Operating e-bikes under electric power is currently banned when on sidepaths (unless local ordinances are enacted to allow them) but it’s rarely enforced. And while the most common e-bikes now in use have a top electric-only speed of 20 mph the fact is that there will soon be a lot more in operation that have much higher speeds.

If adequate accommodation for all users isn’t provided, we lowly pedestrians will be most impacted. Bringing outside experts and users into the decision-making process is a must if FDOT is to get it right.

To learn about this topic and more, visit bikewalklee.blogspot.com and www.streetsaliveswfl.org


For Lee County cycling and tri events visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (caloosariders.org); Florida Mudcutters (mudcutters.org); and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL). The Florida Bicycle Association (floridabicycle.org) is your source for statewide happenings. BikeWalkLee’s blog site has all the information you’ll need to stay abreast of advocacy efforts in Southwest Florida as well as statewide and nationally.

Monday, February 24, 2020

February 24: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Running/walking:
  • Saturday, Feb. 29: City of Palms Half Marathon/5K. The event will take you on a tour of the beautiful Florida Gulf Coast University campus and surrounding areas. Florida Gulf Coast University (runeliteevents.com)
  • Saturday, Feb. 29: Naples Golden Eagle 5K. The course winds through the serene streets of beautifully maintained beachfront neighborhoods before looping back to Lowdermilk Park to the finish line. Downtown Naples (gcrunner.org).
  • Sunday, March 1: Lazy Flamingo Half-Marathon & Two-Person Relay, Fort Myers (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Saturday, March 7: Scope for Hope 5K run, 2-mile walk and fun run. Century Link Sports Complex, Fort Myers (21stcenturycare.org)
  • Saturday, March 7: Baker Park 5K, Naples (gcrunner.org). 
  • Saturday, March 14: The Shrimp Run 5K, Fort Myers Beach (3dracinginc.com)
  • Saturday, March 21: Cape Coral Animal Shelter Rescue Run 5K, 325 SW 2nd Avenue, Cape Coral (3dracinginc.com)
  • Saturday, March 21: Homeless Hustle 5K run/walk, Lakes Park, Fort Myers (runsignup.com)
  • Saturday, March 28: Lee Count Medical Society Foundation Wellness 5K, Jaycee Park, Cape Coral (3dracinginc.com)
  • Saturday, April 4: The Fast and the Furriest 5K run/1 mile walk, JetBlue Park, Fort Myers ((3dracinginc.com)
  • Saturday, April 4: Run for Music 10K or 1-Mile Walk, Artis-Naples (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday, April 11: Wellfit Girls Hop to the Top, 5K run and 1-mile run/walk, North Collier Regional Park (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday, May 9: Tropicool 5K, Olde Naples (gcrunner.org)
  • Monday, May 27: Snip Collier 5K, Cambier Park, Naples (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday, June 13: Sugden Stride 5K, Sugden Regional Park, Naples (runeliteevents.com)
  • For more running events visit gcrunner.org/calendar.html; ftmyerstrackclub.com/race-calendar; runeliteevents.com and 3dracinginc.com

Cycling:
  • Monday, Feb. 24: Monday Minions Ride. This is a weekly ride that rolls in the 13-15 mph range. Total distance around 15 miles. After the ride most go over to Square 1 restaurant for the $5 burger and fries deal. If you are looking to get into cycling beyond the casual roll, this is an ideal ride for you. 6 p.m., Fort Myers Cyclery, 3630 Cleveland Avenue, Fort Myers (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL) 
  • Tuesday, Feb. 25: Taco Tuesday Ride. Every Tuesday night, We Ride For Tacos! After a 21 mile ride on Treeline/Old Airport/Daniels/6 Mile Cypress roads and paths, we'll finish at Tijuana Flats for Taco Tuesday. B RIDERS: 16 to 18 mph for the basic group. A RIDERS: The faster group rides at 20mph plus. We finish well after dark, so Front And Rear Lights are Required. 6:30 p.m., Trek Bicycle Store of Fort Myers, 8291 Dani Drive, Fort Myers (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Friday, Feb. 28: Cape Coral Critical Mass ride. Gather at the Southwest Florida Military Museum parking lot at 4820 Leonard Street for a family-friendly night ride through the Cape. Lights required, helmets recommended. Details and start times at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL.
  • Saturday, Feb. 29: Saturday Morning Slow Roll, meet-up at 2160 McGregor Blvd. Recommended for inexperienced/young riders. Distance is 6 miles, includes group ride instruction. Details and start times at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL.
  • Sunday, March 1: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. This is a weekly ride for riders of most skill levels and most types of bicycles (hybrids, fitness, and road). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, thus helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. 7.30 a.m., location varies, visit meetup.com/Biking-SWFL for details.
  • Friday, March 6: SW Florida Critical Mass ride. A family-friendly slow night ride through Fort Myers. Front and rear bike lights required. Grab your helmet, bring all your friends and meet in the Publix side lot at First Street Village, 2160 McGregor Blvd Details and start times at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL.
  • Sunday, March 8: 22nd annual Royal Palm Challenge. The Caloosa Riders offer a fun-filled day – and rides for everyone, at 15, 40 and 62 miles. Starts and ends downtown at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation Collaboratory, so make a day of it! Online at www.caloosariders.org.
  • Saturday, March 14: Sanibel Critical Mass night ride, gathers at Jerry’s Shopping Center, 1700 Periwinkle Way, on Sanibel. Lights required, helmets recommended. Details and start times at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL
  • Friday, March 20: NE-Lee Critical Mass night ride, gathers at the Winn-Dixie, 14600 Palm Beach Blvd. Lights required, helmets recommended. Details and start times at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL.
  • Saturday, March 28: Pan Florida Challenge, distances of 10, 30, 62, 100 and 200 miles (this one is a two-day ride). All start and end at Florida Gulf Coast University. (panfloridachallenge.org)
  • Ongoing: Join the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club on one of their many weekly rides for members and potential members, with an array of paces and routes to choose from. Check them out online at www.caloosariders.org.
  • For more Lee County cycling and tri events, visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (caloosariders.org); Florida Mudcutters (mudcutters.org); and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL). On Sanibel, you’ll find the Sanibel Bicycle club at http://sbcsite.altervista.org. For Collier cycling, visit naplesvelo.com; for Charlotte biking, see peacerivrridersbicycleclub.com.

Triathlons:
  • Saturday, March 28: Escape from Fort Desoto Sprint Triathlon and Duathlon, plus Aqua Bike (thunderboltmultisport.com)
  • Sunday, April 26: St. Anthony’s Triathlon, sprint and Olympic distances, St. Petersburg (satriathlon.com)
  • Saturday, May 30: Sarasota Sprint Triathlon and Duathlon, Siesta Key (trisarasota.com).
  • Sunday, June 7: Naples Fitness Challenge reverse triathlon, Naples (thefitnesschallengetriathlon.com)
  • Saturday, June 13: Heartland Triathlon, sprint and Olympic triathlon, duathlon and Aqua Bike, Sebring (runsignup.com)
  • Check trifind.com and active.com to find more regional and state tris.





  

Monday, February 17, 2020

February 17: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Running/walking:
  • Saturday, Feb. 22: Run the Lakes for Cypress Lake Middle 5K, Lakes Park, Fort Myers (runsignup.com).
  • Saturday, Feb. 29: City of Palms Half Marathon/5K, Florida Gulf Coast University (runeliteevents.com)
  • Saturday, Feb. 29: Naples Golden Eagle 5K, downtown Naples (gcrunner.org).
  • Sunday, March 1: Lazy Flamingo Half-Marathon & Two-Person Relay, Fort Myers (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Saturday, March 7: Scope for Hope 5K run, 2-mile walk and fun run. Century Link Sports Complex, Fort Myers (21stcenturycare.org)
  • Saturday, March 7: Baker Park 5K, Naples (gcrunner.org). 
  • Saturday, March 14: The Shrimp Run 5K, Fort Myers Beach (3dracinginc.com)
  • Saturday, March 21: Cape Coral Animal Shelter Rescue Run 5K, 325 SW 2nd Avenue, Cape Coral (3dracinginc.com)
  • Saturday, March 21: Homeless Hustle 5K run/walk, Lakes Park, Fort Myers (runsignup.com)
  • Saturday, March 28: Lee Count Medical Society Foundation Wellness 5K, Jaycee Park, Cape Coral (3dracinginc.com)
  • Saturday, April 4: The Fast and the Furriest 5K run/1 mile walk, JetBlue Park, Fort Myers ((3dracinginc.com)
  • Saturday, April 4: Run for Music 10K or 1-Mile Walk, Artis-Naples (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday, April 11: Wellfit Girls Hop to the Top, 5K run and 1-mile run/walk, North Collier Regional Park (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday, May 9: Tropicool 5K, Olde Naples (gcrunner.org)
  • Monday, May 27: Snip Collier 5K, Cambier Park, Naples (gcrunner.org)
  • Saturday, June 13: Sugden Stride 5K, Sugden Regional Park, Naples (runeliteevents.com)
  • For more running events visit gcrunner.org/calendar.html; ftmyerstrackclub.com/race-calendar; runeliteevents.com and 3dracinginc.com

Cycling:
  • Monday, Feb. 17: Monday Minions Ride. This is a weekly ride that rolls in the 13-15 mph range. Total distance around 15 miles. After the ride most go over to Square 1 restaurant for the $5 burger and fries deal. If you are looking to get into cycling beyond the casual roll, this is an ideal ride for you. 6 p.m., Fort Myers Cyclery, 3630 Cleveland Avenue, Fort Myers (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL) 
  • Tuesday, Feb. 18: Taco Tuesday Ride. Every Tuesday night, We Ride For Tacos! After a 21 mile ride on Treeline/Old Airport/Daniels/6 Mile Cypress roads and paths, we'll finish at Tijuana Flats for Taco Tuesday. B RIDERS: 16 to 18 mph for the basic group. A RIDERS: The faster group rides at 20mph plus. We finish well after dark, so Front And Rear Lights are Required. 6:30 p.m., Trek Bicycle Store of Fort Myers, 8291 Dani Drive, Fort Myers (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL) 
  • Friday, Feb. 21: NE-Lee Critical Mass night ride, gathers at the Winn-Dixie, 14600 Palm Beach Blvd. Lights required, helmets recommended. Details and start times at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL.
  • Sunday, Feb. 23: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. This is a weekly ride for riders of most skill levels and most types of bicycles (hybrids, fitness, and road). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, thus helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. 7.30 a.m., location varies, visit meetup.com/Biking-SWFL for details.
  • Sunday, Feb 23: 10th annual Tour de Marco, 15- and 30-mile rides, to benefit Marco YMCA (www.marcoymca.org).
  • Friday, Feb. 28: Cape Coral Critical Mass ride. Gather at the Southwest Florida Military Museum parking lot at 4820 Leonard Street for a family-friendly night ride through the Cape. Lights required, helmets recommended. Details and start times at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL.
  • Saturday, Feb. 29: Saturday Morning Slow Roll, meet-up at 2160 McGregor Blvd. Recommended for inexperienced/young riders. Distance is 6 miles, includes group ride instruction. Details and start times at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL.
  • Friday, March 6: SW Florida Critical Mass ride. A family-friendly slow night ride through Fort Myers. Front and rear bike lights required. Grab your helmet, bring all your friends and meet in the Publix side lot at First Street Village, 2160 McGregor Blvd Details and start times at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL.
  • Sunday, March 8: 22nd annual Royal Palm Challenge. The Caloosa Riders offer a fun-filled day – and rides for everyone, at 15, 40 and 62 miles. Starts and ends downtown at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation Collaboratory, so make a day of it! Online at www.caloosariders.org.
  • Saturday, March 14: Sanibel Critical Mass night ride, gathers at Jerry’s Shopping Center, 1700 Periwinkle Way, on Sanibel. Lights required, helmets recommended. Details and start times at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL
  • Friday, March 20: NE-Lee Critical Mass night ride, gathers at the Winn-Dixie, 14600 Palm Beach Blvd. Lights required, helmets recommended. Details and start times at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL.
  • Saturday, March 28: Pan Florida Challenge, distances of 10, 30, 62, 100 and 200 miles (this one is a two-day ride). All start and end at Florida Gulf Coast University. (panfloridachallenge.org)
  • Ongoing: Join the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club on one of their many weekly rides for members and potential members, with an array of paces and routes to choose from. Check them out online at www.caloosariders.org.
  • For more Lee County cycling and tri events, visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (caloosariders.org); Florida Mudcutters (mudcutters.org); and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL). On Sanibel, you’ll find the Sanibel Bicycle club at http://sbcsite.altervista.org. For Collier cycling, visit naplesvelo.com; for Charlotte biking, see peacerivrridersbicycleclub.com.

Triathlons:
  • Saturday, March 28: Escape from Fort Desoto Sprint Triathlon and Duathlon, plus Aqua Bike (thunderboltmultisport.com)
  • Sunday, April 26: St. Anthony’s Triathlon, sprint and Olympic distances, St. Petersburg (satriathlon.com)
  • Saturday, May 30: Sarasota Sprint Triathlon and Duathlon, Siesta Key (trisarasota.com).
  • Sunday, June 7: Naples Fitness Challenge reverse triathlon, Naples (thefitnesschallengetriathlon.com)
  • Saturday, June 13: Heartland Triathlon, sprint and Olympic triathlon, duathlon and Aqua Bike, Sebring (runsignup.com)
  • Check trifind.com and active.com to find more regional and state tris.





  

Thursday, February 13, 2020

BikeWalkLee: Let’s be careful out there!

BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, February 13, 2020
by Ken Gooderham

Seasons means more people, which means more traffic. This is even true on our bicycle and shared-use facilities.

But, unlike our motor-dominated highways, cyclists are usually happy to say: “The more, the merrier!” More users means more support (and demand) for bike/ped facilities and more visibility for cyclists and runners/walkers overall – which then often translates to more safety thanks to increased motorist awareness of bike/ped users sharing the road (or at least the intersection).

The only downside to more cyclists and pedestrians can be less latitude for operator error. By that I mean a moment of inattention or indiscretion can be overlooked on an empty bike path… but has the potential for danger (or at least sparking path rage) on more crowded facilities.

This is where common sense and common courtesy come into play, to keep all users safe and happy (at least happy about sharing the path). Alas, even though they should be “common,” both sense and courtesy can be illusory at times.

How can we as bikers and walkers change that?

The first and best thing we all can do is pay attention. Sounds simple in practice, but in these distractive times it can be more challenging than one would think.

However, just as we say about driving, when you are cycling, running or walking, the most important thing you should is to cycle, run or walk – period. Not talk on the phone, not read or send texts, not listen to noise loud enough to take your attention away from your surroundings.

But that ubiquitous smart phone has the capacity to make even the most sensible among us pretty dumb unless we consciously work not to succumb to its distractions. I have seen people walk into traffic, almost ride into stationary objects and otherwise be completely oblivious to what’s around them while their attention is absorbed by that tiny screen.

It’s a recipe for disaster… so please, please, put down the phone when you are in motion. That goes for cycling, running, walking and, of course, operating a motor vehicle.

The second and third best things to do to stay safe are to be predictable and be visible. This matters when you’re dealing with motor vehicle traffic (because the stakes are higher, at least for you), but it is equally important when interacting with other cyclists and pedestrians.

If the other path users know you will bike predictably (stay in your lane, no weaving or swerving or sudden stops) or walk consistently (no sudden changes in direction, no errant kids or dogs), everyone wins. And the need to be seen is crucial, albeit less so than when dealing with motor vehicles… but particularly in lower light and busier settings.

There are plenty of other tips that can make you a safer biker or pedestrian; a simple online search will give you an array of options. However, experience often is the best teacher, so look around you when you ride or run and see what others are doing that puts them (and you) at risk. Then learn from their mistakes and remind yourself not to repeat them.

Examples? It only takes seeing one near-miss to remind you to walk or run facing traffic – particularly when you are on the same level, not on a sidewalk – so you can see that car that’s impinging on your space and either take evasive action or wave them back onto their part of the road.

Similarly, it only takes one near-miss when someone riding towards you on a bike path either is so busy looking at the scenery or talking to a fellow cyclist that they don’t see you heading their way in the opposite direction until you make enough noise to get their attention. Then you’ll remember to watch the road and not ride side-by-side on a narrow path with ongoing traffic.

Cyclists, always yield to pedestrians… and warn them as you approach if they seem to be clueless (and even when they’re not). Pedestrians, always be aware of your surroundings… and don’t just blindly expect that everyone else around you is looking out for you. Both of you, always move to the side of the path when you stop to talk, drink, take a picture or otherwise cease forward motion.

And everyone, always be a good person to your fellow bikers, runners and walkers. There’s enough rudeness and incivility in the world already, don’t feel the need to add to it when you should be enjoying a nice ride, a good walk and a pleasant time outdoors.

Ready to ride or run?


Run?   A burst of activity as the winter race season hits its stride… lead out by the venerable Edison 5K this Saturday night. Lots of participants, lots of spectators, lots of traffic and road closures… so be prepared. Looking for less noise and more miles? You have three half-marathons to choose from: The Paradise Coast half/5K at North Collier Regional Park this Sunday, the City of Palms half/5K at FGCU on Feb. 29, and the Lazy Flamingo half in Fort Myers on March. If 5Ks are your preference, there the Run the Lakes for Cypress Lake Middle at Lakes Park on Feb. 22 and the Naples Golden Eagle 5K in downtown Naples Feb. 29. Details at ftmyerstrackclub.com, runeliteevents.com, runsignup.com and gcrunner.org.

Ride?  Critical Mass has these regularly scheduled rides on tap:
  • Saturday, Feb. 15: 2020 Edison Festival of Light Parade Ride. A cyclist awareness ride, so they’re going for lots of riders and not a lot of speed. Gathers after 4 p.m. at the Edison restaurant to ride over to the Fort Myers high for the parade. Details at meetup.com.
  • Friday, Feb. 21: NE-Lee Critical Mass night ride, gathers at the Winn-Dixie, 14600 Palm Beach Blvd. Lights required, helmets recommended. Details and start times at meetup.com.
  • Friday, Feb. 28: Cape Coral Critical Mass ride. Gather at the Southwest Florida Military Museum parking lot at 4820 Leonard Street for a family-friendly night ride through the Cape. Lights required, helmets recommended. Details and start times at meetup.com.
  • Saturday, Feb. 29: Saturday Morning Slow Roll, meet-up at 2160 McGregor Blvd. Recommended for inexperienced/young riders. Distance is 6 miles, includes group ride instruction. Details and start times at meetup.com.
Lights required for night rides, helmets recommended for all, details and start times at meetup.com.

You can also head south for the 10th annual Tour de Marco, with 15- and 30-mile rides on Sunday, Feb 23, to benefit Marco YMCA (www.marcoymca.org). If you’re planning ahead, plan for the 22nd annual Royal Palm Challenge on Sunday, March 9. The Caloosa Riders offer a fun-filled day – and rides for everyone, at 15, 40 and 62 miles. Starts and ends downtown at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation Collaboratory, so make a day of it! Online at www.caloosariders.org.

If you’re looking for a good ride and some cycling camaraderie, look no further than the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club. Check out their ride calendar and you see a ride for almost every day of the week (never on a Friday, but even more on weekends), all mapped and planned for your enjoyment. The Riders even tell you how fast (or not) you’ll need to be to keep up… click on the ride of your choice for all the details and even a map. All at caloosariders.org.

Both?  If you’re planning your tri schedule, here’s what is on tap in the next few months:

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RIDE:

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

# # #

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 www.BikeWalkLee.org. 


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Hit-and-runs a continuing problem in Lee County

Florida Weekly 'Outdoors' column, February 12, 2020
danMOSER
bikepedmoser@gmail.com

Frequent walkers, runners and bike riders are considered vulnerable users of our public rights of way because of the lack of protection offered by those drivers of motor vehicles.

Like anyone navigating traffic, we must be extremely mindful of our own actions as well as anticipate the behavior of others. But besides being significantly more vulnerable when not traveling within a motor vehicle, another major difference is that using human power to get around is a right versus the privilege of operating a motor vehicle, a privilege that requires substantial responsibility. Rendering aid and staying at the scene of a crash with injuries or fatalities is not just morally appropriate but it’s also the legal responsibility of all motorists.

In 2014, the penalties for not doing so were significantly increased in order to further convince drivers to comply.

The Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act (Florida Statute 316.027) imposes a mandatory minimum prison sentence of four years to 30 years, as well as a $10,000 fine for a driver convicted of leaving the scene of a crash resulting in a fatality. Penalties for leaving crashes involving injuries and property damage were also increased.

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 bikepedmoser@gmail.com
and 239-334-6417.
Unfortunately — and inexplicably — this change has only resulted in hit and runs increasing throughout Florida back to pre-recession levels after having decreased each year until 2014. According to an NBC-2 story broadcast/published on Nov. 24 last year, between Jan. 1 and Nov. 24 of 2019 the Lee County Sheriff’s Office responded to 1,448 hit-and-run crashes, the Cape Coral Police Department to 608, and the Fort Myers Police Department to 107. The Florida Highway Patrol did not have 2019 statistics but reported responding to 3,000 in 2018, according to NBC- 2. Your guess is as good as mine as to why more people involved in crashes are deciding to leave the scene.

Although I was unable to find accurate accounting of hit-and-run crashes involving pedestrians and those on bikes, it’s clear to me that fatalities among nonmotorists in those incidents represent a higher rate than others, even considering that our overall bike/pedestrian fatality rate as a percentage of all crashes is always higher than the national average of 15-20%; Lee County is routinely at 25-30%. As of the writing of this column the three bike/pedestrian fatalities that have occurred so far in 2020 were all hit-and-runs, so it looks like the upward trend will continue, at least in our part of the state.

Freddie Santiago’s son, Patrick, was struck by a motor vehicle and left to die in the early morning hours of Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, as he walked home from work. The homicide occurred in North Fort Myers on Beau Drive, a short street that runs parallel to U.S. 41 between Hancock Bridge Parkway and North Key Drive. Freddie has been doing as much detective work as he can to help find his son’s killer but he’s also looking to raise awareness of the impact hit-and-run crashes have on others and our community.

To that end he’s hosting an awareness rally on Saturday, March 7, beginning at 4 p.m. on Beau Drive behind the new RaceTrac gas station near the site where Patrick was found. Freddie would like anyone who’s concerned or has been affected by hit-and-run crashes, whether it involved a pedestrian, person on a bike, or motorist, to take part. For more information about the event, call Freddie Santiago at 717-303-4445 or e-mail pi1stclass@aol.com. If you have any information about Patrick’s death, call 800-780- TIPS (8477) and be eligible for up to a $10,000 reward.

To learn about this topic and more, visit bikewalklee.blogspot.com and www.streetsaliveswfl.org


For Lee County cycling and tri events visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (caloosariders.org); Florida Mudcutters (mudcutters.org); and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL). The Florida Bicycle Association (floridabicycle.org) is your source for statewide happenings. BikeWalkLee’s blog site has all the information you’ll need to stay abreast of advocacy efforts in Southwest Florida as well as statewide and nationally.






Monday, February 10, 2020

February 10: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Running/walking:
  • Image: edisonfestival.org
    Saturday, Feb. 15: Edison 5K run/walk. Run along the streets of downtown Fort Myers that is lined with 200,000 (est.) cheering spectators. Proceeds go to the Edison Festival of Light, a non-profit 501(c) 3 tax-exempt organization that works with many other local non-profit and profit organizations to promote the arts, culture and history of Fort Myers and Southwest Florida. Through scheduled and sanctioned events, the Festival helps to promote and support local groups. 5.45 p.m., Downtown Fort Myers. (edisonfestival.org / ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Sunday, Feb. 16: Paradise Coast Half Marathon/5K, North Collier Regional Park (runeliteevents.com
  • Saturday, Feb. 22: Run the Lakes for Cypress Lake Middle 5K, Lakes Park, Fort Myers (runsignup.com).
  • Saturday, Feb. 29: City of Palms Half Marathon/5K, Florida Gulf Coast University (runeliteevents.com)
  • Saturday, Feb. 29: Naples Golden Eagle 5K, downtown Naples (gcrunner.org).
  • Sunday, March 1: Lazy Flamingo Half-Marathon & Two-Person Relay, Fort Myers (ftmyerstrackclub.com)
  • Saturday, March 7: Scope for Hope 5K run, 2-mile walk and fun run. Century Link Sports Complex, Fort Myers (21stcenturycare.org)
  • Saturday, March 7: Baker Park 5K, Naples (gcrunner.org).
  • For more running events visit gcrunner.org/calendar.html; ftmyerstrackclub.com/race-calendar; eliteevents.org and 3dracinginc.com

Cycling:
  • Monday, Feb. 10: Monday Minions Ride. This is a weekly ride that rolls in the 13-15 mph range. Total distance around 15 miles. After the ride most go over to Square 1 restaurant for the $5 burger and fries deal. If you are looking to get into cycling beyond the casual roll, this is an ideal ride for you. 6 p.m., Fort Myers Cyclery, 3630 Cleveland Avenue, Fort Myers (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL) 
  • Tuesday, Feb. 11: Taco Tuesday Ride. Every Tuesday night, We Ride For Tacos! After a 21 mile ride on Treeline/Old Airport/Daniels/6 Mile Cypress roads and paths, we'll finish at Tijuana Flats for Taco Tuesday. B RIDERS: 16 to 18 mph for the basic group. A RIDERS: The faster group rides at 20mph plus. We finish well after dark, so Front And Rear Lights are Required. 6:30 p.m., Trek Bicycle Store of Fort Myers, 8291 Dani Drive, Fort Myers (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Saturday, Feb. 15: 2020 Edison Festival of Light Parade Ride. This is the most viewed cyclist awareness ride in Southwest Florida and WE NEED YOU to be a part of the fun! Come and enjoy the energy, lights and smiles. You can light up your bike simply, or go all out; either way you will be sure to enjoy a positively memorable time. Gathers after 4 p.m. at the Edison restaurant to ride over to the Fort Myers high for the parade. Details at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL.
  • Sunday, Feb. 16: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. This is a weekly ride for riders of most skill levels and most types of bicycles (hybrids, fitness, and road). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, thus helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. 7.30 a.m., location varies, visit meetup.com/Biking-SWFL for details.
  • Friday, Feb. 21: NE-Lee Critical Mass night ride, gathers at the Winn-Dixie, 14600 Palm Beach Blvd. Lights required, helmets recommended. Details and start times at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL.
  • Sunday, Feb 23: 10th annual Tour de Marco, 15- and 30-mile rides, to benefit Marco YMCA (www.marcoymca.org).
  • Friday, Feb. 28: Cape Coral Critical Mass ride. Gather at the Southwest Florida Military Museum parking lot at 4820 Leonard Street for a family-friendly night ride through the Cape. Lights required, helmets recommended. Details and start times at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL.
  • Saturday, Feb. 29: Saturday Morning Slow Roll, meet-up at 2160 McGregor Blvd. Recommended for inexperienced/young riders. Distance is 6 miles, includes group ride instruction. Details and start times at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL.  
  • Sunday, March 8: 22nd annual Royal Palm Challenge. The Caloosa Riders offer a fun-filled day – and rides for everyone, at 15, 40 and 62 miles. Starts and ends downtown at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation Collaboratory, so make a day of it! Online at www.caloosariders.org.
  • Ongoing: Join the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club on one of their many weekly rides for members and potential members, with an array of paces and routes to choose from. Check them out online at www.caloosariders.org.
  • For more Lee County cycling and tri events, visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (caloosariders.org); Florida Mudcutters (mudcutters.org); and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL).

Triathlons:
  • Saturday, March 28: Escape from Fort Desoto Sprint Triathlon and Duathlon, plus Aqua Bike (thunderboltmultisport.com)
  • Sunday, April 26: St. Anthony’s Triathlon, sprint and Olympic distances, St. Petersburg (satriathlon.com)
  • Saturday, May 30: Sarasota Sprint Triathlon and Duathlon, Siesta Key (trisarasota.com).
  • Sunday, June 7: Naples Fitness Challenge reverse triathlon, Naples (thefitnesschallengetriathlon.com)
  • Saturday, June 13: Heartland Triathlon, sprint and Olympic triathlon, duathlon and Aqua Bike, Sebring (runsignup.com)
  • Check trifind.com and active.com to find more regional and state tris.





  

Monday, February 3, 2020

February 3: Upcoming running/walking/bicycling/tri events

Upcoming events

Running/walking:

Cycling:
  • Monday, Feb. 3: Monday Minions Ride. This is a weekly ride that rolls in the 13-15 mph range. Total distance around 15 miles. After the ride most go over to Square 1 restaurant for the $5 burger and fries deal. If you are looking to get into cycling beyond the casual roll, this is an ideal ride for you. 6 p.m., Fort Myers Cyclery, 3630 Cleveland Avenue, Fort Myers (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL) 
  • Tuesday, Feb. 4: Taco Tuesday Ride. Every Tuesday night, We Ride For Tacos! After a 21 mile ride on Treeline/Old Airport/Daniels/6 Mile Cypress roads and paths, we'll finish at Tijuana Flats for Taco Tuesday. B RIDERS: 16 to 18 mph for the basic group. A RIDERS: The faster group rides at 20mph plus. We finish well after dark, so Front And Rear Lights are Required. 6:30 p.m., Trek Bicycle Store of Fort Myers, 8291 Dani Drive, Fort Myers (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL)
  • Friday, Feb. 7: SW Florida Critical Mass ride. A family-friendly slow night ride through Fort Myers. Front and rear bike lights required. Grab your helmet, bring all your friends and meet in the Publix side lot at First Street Village, 2160 McGregor Blvd Details and start times at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL.
  • Saturday, Feb. 8: Sanibel Critical Mass night ride, gathers at Jerry’s Shopping Center, 1700 Periwinkle Way, on Sanibel. Lights required, helmets recommended. Details and start times at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL.
  • Saturday, Feb. 8: Ride for Tiny Town, 10-, 30- and 60-mile rides, around Arcadia to benefit Desoto Cares; helmets required (www.ridefortinytown.com).
  • Sunday, Feb. 9: Wakey, Wakey! Weekly Sunday Morning Ride. This is a weekly ride for riders of most skill levels and most types of bicycles (hybrids, fitness, and road). The ride is sanctioned by the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club, thus helmets are required, no ear buds, and no aero bar use while in the group. 7.30 a.m., location varies, visit meetup.com/Biking-SWFL for details.
  • Saturday, Feb. 15: 2020 Edison Festival of Light Parade Ride. A cyclist awareness ride, so they’re going for lots of riders and not a lot of speed. Gathers after 4 p.m. at the Edison restaurant to ride over to the Fort Myers high for the parade. Details at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL.
  • Friday, Feb. 21: NE-Lee Critical Mass night ride, gathers at the Winn-Dixie, 14600 Palm Beach Blvd. Lights required, helmets recommended. Details and start times at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL.
  • Sunday, Feb 23: 10th annual Tour de Marco, 15- and 30-mile rides, to benefit Marco YMCA (www.marcoymca.org).
  • Friday, Feb. 28: Cape Coral Critical Mass ride. Gather at the Southwest Florida Military Museum parking lot at 4820 Leonard Street for a family-friendly night ride through the Cape. Lights required, helmets recommended. Details and start times at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL.
  • Saturday, Feb. 29: Saturday Morning Slow Roll, meet-up at 2160 McGregor Blvd. Recommended for inexperienced/young riders. Distance is 6 miles, includes group ride instruction. Details and start times at meetup.com/Biking-SWFL.  
  • Sunday, March 8: 22nd annual Royal Palm Challenge. The Caloosa Riders offer a fun-filled day – and rides for everyone, at 15, 40 and 62 miles. Starts and ends downtown at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation Collaboratory, so make a day of it! Online at www.caloosariders.org.
  • Ongoing: Join the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club on one of their many weekly rides for members and potential members, with an array of paces and routes to choose from. Check them out online at www.caloosariders.org.
  • For more Lee County cycling and tri events, visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (caloosariders.org); Florida Mudcutters (mudcutters.org); and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL).

Triathlons:
  • Saturday, March 28: Escape from Fort Desoto Sprint Triathlon and Duathlon, plus Aqua Bike (thunderboltmultisport.com)
  • Sunday, April 26: St. Anthony’s Triathlon, sprint and Olympic distances, St. Petersburg (satriathlon.com)
  • Saturday, May 30: Sarasota Sprint Triathlon and Duathlon, Siesta Key (trisarasota.com).
  • Sunday, June 7: Naples Fitness Challenge reverse triathlon, Naples (thefitnesschallengetriathlon.com)
  • Saturday, June 13: Heartland Triathlon, sprint and Olympic triathlon, duathlon and Aqua Bike, Sebring (runsignup.com)
  • Check trifind.com and active.com to find more regional and state tris.





  

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Dan Moser shares thoughts on Fort Myers Beach bicycle lanes


Image: refreshfmbeach.com

Image: refreshfmbeach.com
Avid bicyclist Dan Moser, a founding member of BikeWalkLee and current chair of the Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinating Committee, shared his thoughts on the Fort Myers Beach bicycle lanes to date, along with bicycle safety 'Do’s & Don’ts'.

“Remember when you drive a car, you are a threat to take someone’s life. If a car going 30 miles-per-hour hits a bicyclist, the biker only has a 50/50 chance of survival; at 40 mph, that drops to roughly 15% and those who live will most likely endure a life-long, life-changing physical condition, so please keep that in mind, especially on Fort Myers Beach where cars, bicycles and pedestrians are so close together in large numbers and tight conditions."

Read the entire interview at fortmyersbeach.news.

Dan Moser





Thursday, January 30, 2020

BikeWalkLee: A region with lots of rides and riders

BikeWalkLee Column
The News-Press, January 30, 2020
by Ken Gooderham

If you like to bike, Southwest Florida is right for you. Great weather (especially if you like it hot), flat terrain and a growing list of bike facilities all make this area a great place to ride.

You see plenty of cyclists taking advantage of these advantages this time of year, with cooler temperatures drawing more people out of the house and onto their bikes. (It can also be a great way to run your errands without getting tied up traffic, if you’re willing to plan ahead a little.)

But what a lot of cyclists may not know is that Southwest Florida is also a great place to ride with other cyclists. No matter what your skill level or location, there’s a good chance you can find a group ride to join.

Why ride with a group? To push yourself outside your usual routine, either in where you ride, at what pace or for what distance. There’s also strength in numbers, both in safety (easier to be seen in a group and people who can help if you break down) and in speed (if you’re willing to learn how to ride in a pace line, you’ll find you can go farther and fastest as a group than you ever will alone).

Courtesy Photo

But the real draw for most is riding with other cyclists… the social interaction, the camaraderie, the food and drink (did we mention how many rides include a stop for dining and/or drinking?). It’s an easy way to find a group of like-minded people and a ready-made social calendar – good for your body and mind alike.

Rather than just talking about it, you should take a look for yourself. The following club websites will give you a great sense of what each offers – even down to recommendations as to who should join which ride based on pace and distance. (This list is by no means complete, and don’t forget to check if you live where there’s a neighborhood bike group you could join.)

  • Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (caloosariders.org): The most rides and riders in Lee County, and literally something for everyone (except on Friday). The ride list is extensive, each with maps, cue lists and downloadable details.
  • SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL): The Critical Mass headquarters, with rides in downtown Fort Myers, downtown Cape Coral, Sanibel and Northeast Lee. Definitely entry-level riding, easy on both speed and distance and big on camaraderie.
  • Sanibel Bicycle Club (sbcsite.altervista.org): Great for Sanibel-Captiva cyclists, but more seasonal and fewer rides.
  • Naples Velo Bicycle Club (naplesvelo.com): Rides every day of the week and, like the Caloosa Riders, lots of work to support more biking, more education and more safety (as well as more fun).
  • Peace River Riders Bicycle Club (peaceriverridersbicycleclub.com): Not as many organized events, but a lot of opportunities and outreach for Charlotte cyclists.
  • Florida Mudcutters (mudcutters.org): The home for trail riders, with two maintained trail areas – Caloosahatchee Regional Park in Alva and Pepper Ranch Preserve in Immokalee.

This area also offers the option of a range of rides – everything from the slow roll of Critical Mass to the fast pace of the Caloosa Riders, from an easy eight-miler to a ride covering 100 miles or more in a day.

The Critical Mass ride list is both online and included in this article, a great starting point for riders interested in trying out an organized ride. When you’re ready for more, check on the clubs listed above nearest you to see where you fit on their ride calendar; the descriptions are usually very honest and explicit, because the clubs want you to fit in and come back – not be discouraged when you can’t keep up.

Critical Mass Riders (courtesy photo)

Another entry point for organized rides can be the “something for everyone” events, with a variety of distances and paces all starting and ending in the same site – and, thus, usually tied to food and drink as well. They are also usually SAG supported – SAG for “support and gear,” meaning a vehicle that will ride the course for the entire ride (usually with a cutoff time) offering help to cyclists with mechanical or fatigue issues. This is another major plus for the newbie rider, to know that help will be on the way if something goes wrong.

Aside from the just-completed Tour de Cape, some other upcoming multi-mileage rides are:

  • Saturday, Feb. 8: Ride for Tiny Town, 10-, 30- and 60-mile rides, around Arcadia to benefit Desoto Cares; helmets required (www.ridefortinytown.com).
  • Sunday, Feb 23: 10th annual Tour de Marco, 15- and 30-mile rides, to benefit Marco YMCA (www.marcoymca.org).
  • Sunday, March 8: 22nd annual Royal Palm Challenge. The Caloosa Riders offer a fun-filled day – and rides for everyone, at 15, 40 and 62 miles. Starts and ends downtown at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation Collaboratory, so make a day of it! Online at www.caloosariders.org.

Not everyone is up for group rides all the time, but it’s a great chance to try something different and an even better chance to meet some fellow cyclists. Give one a try!

Ready to ride or run?


Run?  Saturday brings two 5Ks – Strides for Education at Florida SouthWestern in Fort Myers and Running Water at Jaycee Park in Cape Coral. Sunday, come downtown for the Publix Run to the Arts 5K (tied to ArtFest in Fort Myers). Feb. 8 has the Rotary’s Run for the Rose Garden 5K in Cape Coral, followed on Sunday by the Edison Junior Races in downtown Fort Myers. Yes, that means the big Edison 5K is the following weekend on Feb. 15… so plan accordingly. Details at ftmyerstrackclub.com, 3dracinginc.com and runtothearts.com.

Ride?  Critical Mass has these regularly scheduled rides on tap:
  • Friday, Jan. 31: Cape Coral Critical Mass ride. Gather at the Southwest Florida Military Museum parking lot at 4820 Leonard Street for a family-friendly night ride through the Cape. 
  • Friday, Feb. 7: SW Florida Critical Mass ride. A family-friendly slow night ride through Fort Myers.
  • Saturday, Feb. 8: Sanibel Critical Mass night ride, gathers at Jerry’s Shopping Center, 1700 Periwinkle Way, on Sanibel.
  • Saturday, Feb. 15: 2020 Edison Festival of Light Parade Ride. A cyclist awareness ride, so they’re going for lots of riders and not a lot of speed. Gathers after 4 p.m. at the Edison restaurant to ride over to the Fort Myers high for the parade. 
Lights required for night rides, helmets recommended for all, details and start times at meetup.com.


For more mileage look to the Ride for Tiny Town on Saturday, Feb. 8 – 10-, 30- and 60-mile rides, around Arcadia to benefit Desoto Cares; helmets required (www.ridefortinytown.com).

If you’re looking for a good ride and some cycling camaraderie, look no further than the Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club. Check out their ride calendar and you see a ride for almost every day of the week (never on a Friday, but even more on weekends), all mapped and planned for your enjoyment. The Riders even tell you how fast (or not) you’ll need to be to keep up… click on the ride of your choice for all the details and even a map. All at caloosariders.org.

Both?  If you’re planning your tri schedule, here’s what is on tap in the next few months:

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RIDE:

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

# # #

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 www.BikeWalkLee.org. 


Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Vision Zero

Florida Weekly 'Outdoors' column, January 29, 2020
danMOSER
bikepedmoser@gmail.com

It’s no secret that I’m critical of both our local and state elected leadership regarding commitment toward implementing Complete Streets and other measures to improve access and safety for non-motorists.

Lee County’s history of having one of the worst overall traffic safety records year after year doesn’t seem to present a problem for our top decision-makers. Fortunately, organizations and individuals on the frontline are engaged in ongoing efforts to affect positive change. One such undertaking just getting started here is part of a worldwide initiative called Vision Zero, as in zero traffic fatalities.

Keeping in mind that pedestrians and people on bikes make up 1 in 4 traffic fatalities each year in Lee County (that’s almost double the national average rate), any effort that reduces overall numbers would undoubtedly decrease bike/pedestrian deaths as well. But while having no loss of life from traffic crashes — whether motorist, bicyclists or pedestrian — should always be the goal, even the most optimistic among us must realize it’s not possible. Or is it?

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 bikepedmoser@gmail.com
and 239-334-6417.
A major European city is doing just that. Smart Cities Dive (www.smartcitiesdive.com) reports that Oslo, Norway, had no pedestrian or cyclist deaths in 2019 and the sole traffic-related fatality was a motorist who ran his car into a fence. Oslo leaders developed plans in 2015 and began implementing them two years later. Among the actions undertaken are encouraging car-free trips, making infrastructure safety improvements, removing over 1,000 parking spaces, adding miles of bike lanes and sidewalks, expanding their bike-share program, investing more resources to significantly improve public transit, and making some downtown areas car-free zones. The benefits of these changes go beyond safety: the reduction on motor vehicles means less congestion for delivery and transit vehicles and fewer cars also equates to less emissions, something that results in better air quality for its residents and is important to a city and country that’s taking committed to taking significant steps to deal with climate change.

Per www.visionzeronetwork.org, Vision Zero is an effort begun in Sweden in the 1990s and is based on “the ethical belief that everyone has the right to move safely in their communities, and that system designers and policy makers share the responsibility to ensure safe systems for travel.” That means having safe public right of way for pedestrians, transit users, people on bikes and other human-powered devices, and drivers should be expected and provided by those having the power to make that a reality.

Locally, the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research has received a grant from National Safety Council to help communities focus on effective and appropriate messaging when it comes to how traffic crashes are reported.

All too often the most vulnerable road users who are victims of crashes are inappropriately blamed, either in law enforcement reports or in media stories. In some cases it’s inadvertent due to the use of certain phrases and terms such as “the pedestrian was hit by the car” versus “by the driver of the car” and “the pedestrian darted into the road,” implying fault before investigation is completed. I’ve read a number of crash reports that include clearly biased narratives against the non-motorist with statements like “for some reason the pedestrians didn’t see the vehicle” but didn’t include a similar statement like “for some reason the driver didn’t see the pedestrian.” Or “the victim (pedestrian) was in a portion of the roadway not intended for pedestrians.” Statements like these merely reinforce the misperception that public right of way are meant only for motor vehicles.

Another recent example of problematic reporting that can have major implications as to how the general public perceives the environment for those who cycle here is a U.S. News and World Report story in early January on the topic of best places to live. Whenever there are best places there are those on the other end of the list. According to the article’s author, Cape Coral (a League of American Bicyclists’ Bike Friendly Community since 2015) ranks as the most dangerous place in the U.S. for folks riding bikes, at least when using the fatality rate for those commuting by bike. Between 2014 and 2017 there were four fatalities in Cape Coral involving people on bikes but when using the formula the author cited that equates to 1,333 cyclist deaths for every 100,000 commuters who use bikes to get to work.

While that may be technically accurate (although I’m not sure of that because League of American Bicyclists’ rate for Cape Coral is almost half that), the fact that there are less than 100 Cape Coral residents who use that mode of transportation to travel to work (per www.carinsurance.org) means using such a statistic makes the environment appear infinitely worse than the reality of four (too many) deaths in four years.

To learn about this topic and more, visit bikewalklee.blogspot.com and www.streetsaliveswfl.org


For Lee County cycling and tri events visit Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (caloosariders.org); Florida Mudcutters (mudcutters.org); and SW Florida Biking Meetup Group (meetup.com/Biking-SWFL). The Florida Bicycle Association (floridabicycle.org) is your source for statewide happenings. BikeWalkLee’s blog site has all the information you’ll need to stay abreast of advocacy efforts in Southwest Florida as well as statewide and nationally.