The News-Press, January 16, 2020
by Ken Gooderham
For many, riding a bike is a natural thing, something they learned as a child and have maintained as a lifelong skill. But the smart cyclist knows a lot has changed since they were kids – particularly when it comes to the rules of the road.
Think you know the laws when it comes to bicycling in Florida? Test your knowledge:
- What’s the minimum distance a motor vehicle must maintain when passing a cyclist?
- Bicycle helmets are required for which riders?
- If a cyclist is riding on the road, what rights do they have?
- If a cyclist is riding on a sidewalk, what rights do they have?
- Can a cyclist wear a headset or headphones while riding?
- Is a cyclist required to have lights on their bikes if riding between sunset and sunrise?
- Is a cyclist safer riding with traffic or facing it?
- Are cyclists bound by traffic control signals meant for vehicles (traffic lights, stop signs, etc.)?
- Are cyclists allowed to ride side by side on a roadway?
- If cyclists are riding with pedestrians (on a sidewalk or shared-use path), are they required to warn pedestrians when passing them?
- Three feet (but that’s still too close when travelling at speeds over 25MPH).
- Any cyclists under age 16 is required to wear a helmet (and it’s smart for every cyclist to do so).
- Cyclists have the same rights as vehicles when riding on the road, as well some special bike-only regulations.
- On sidewalks, cyclists have the same rights (and duties) as pedestrians – except they must yield rights of way to pedestrians and must provide an audible warning prior to passing).
- No, except for hearing aids.
- Yes, white lights front and red lights rear (this is required anywhere you’re riding other than private property without public access).
- Much safer riding with traffic (and it’s the law, just as is the case for motorists to drive with traffic).
- Yes (although many of them don’t always do so, it’s still the law).
- Yes, if in a single lane and not impeding other traffic.
- Yes (again, not always complied with but it’s required by law).
Ride class aheadThe Caloosa Riders Bicycle Club (CRBC) is hosting a Florida Bicycle Association (FBA) Ride Marshal/Ride Leader class on Saturday Jan. 25, 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The class will be held at the United Way building, 7273 Concourse Drive, Fort Myers. It’s a great opportunity to take your group riding experience to the next level!
The workshop includes:
- Bike safety and Florida Bicycle and Pedestrian laws and cyclist rights on the road.
- Preparation from bodies to bikes, helmet fitting, and nutrition.
- Communication from hand signals to how to give great pre-ride tutorials, on the ride coaching and how to brand your club or organization through cycling professionalism.
- Coaching and Mentoring skills to develop stronger, safer cyclist in your club or organization.
- Advanced cycling skills for 17+ mph group rides like paceline etiquette and how to control speed with skill.
- Accident and rider down tips and preparation.
- Community and family ride leader skills (if applicable).
- Written test for certification.
Ready to ride or run?
Run? Saturday offers two 5Ks – the Run to Home Base at JetBlue Park and the Tour de Cape 5K at Cape Harbour. Sunday is for the distance runners, with the Naples Daily News Half Marathon on tap. The following weekend brings two more 5Ks – the BUG Chase 5K at the Calusa Nature Center in Fort Myers and the Run for the Paw 5K in Naples. Details at ftmyerstrackclub.com, gcrunner.org and tourdecape.net.
Ride? Critical Mass has these regularly scheduled rides on tap:
- Friday, Jan. 17: NE-Lee Critical Mass night ride, gathers at the Winn-Dixie, 14600 Palm Beach Blvd. Lights required, helmets recommended.
- Saturday, Jan. 25: Saturday Morning Slow Roll, meet-up at 2160 McGregor Blvd. Recommended for inexperienced/young riders. Distance is 6 miles, includes group ride instruction.
- 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.
Jan. 18-19 is the Tour de Cape weekend, with multiple-length bicycle rides, a 5K run and more, based at Cape Harbour, Cape Coral (tourdecape.net).
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:
- Saturday, March 28: Escape from Fort Desoto Sprint Triathlon and Duathlon, plus Aqua Bike (https://www.thunderboltmultisport.com/Events/Escape-From-Ft-Desoto)
- Sunday, April 26: St. Anthony’s Triathlon, sprint and Olympic distances, St. Petersburg (https://satriathlon.com)
- Saturday, May 30: Sarasota Sprint Triathlon and Duathlon, Siesta Key (trisarasota.com).
- Sunday, June 7: Naples Fitness Challenge reverse triathlon, Naples (http://www.thefitnesschallengetriathlon.com)
- Saturday, June 13: Heartland Triathlon, sprint and Olympic triathlon, duathlon and Aqua Bike, Sebring (runsignup.com)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 www.BikeWalkLee.org.