Sunday, July 26, 2015

July 27th: Upcoming running/biking/tri events


Upcoming events 
Running/walking:
·        Saturday, Aug. 15: 7th annual Cape 5K, Jaycee Park, 4125 SE 20th Place, Cape Coral. 7 a.m. (www.3dracinginc.com)
·         Saturday, Aug. 22: North Collier Regional Rampage 5K, North Collier Regional Park, 1500 Livingston Road, Naples. 7 a.m. (www.eliteevents.org).
·         Saturday, Oct. 10: Cops and Joggers 2015 5K, Starts from Centennial Park, downtown Fort Myers, at 7:45 p.m. (www.ftmyerstrackclub.com)
·         Saturday, Oct. 10: 2015 Busey Bank Run For Prevention 5K, 7:45 a.m. at Florida Gulf Coast University. (www.3dracinginc.com)
·         Saturday, Oct. 17: 7th annual 10K 4 FISH (Friends In Service Here). Starts at  Sanibel Community House, 2173 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, at 7:30 a.m. (www.ftmyerstrackclub.com)


     
Cycling:
·         Friday, Aug.7: SWFL Critical Mass ride. Join a family fun slow ride through Fort Myers. Front and rear bike lights required. Grab your helmet, bring all your friends and meet in the open field next to Publix (at 7:30 p.m.) at First Street Village, 2160 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers. (twitter.com/swflcm)

   Sunday, Aug. 30th. Starts at 7 a.m. Global Solidarity Ride to bring awareness and show support of the ladies in Afghanistan who are empowering themselves and their rights by riding a bicycle. There are 3 distances (15, 30, 45 miles), with food and entertainment at Go-Girl Cycling upon return from ride. (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/global-solidarity-page-registration-17712182615?aff=es2)
 
·         Saturday, Sept. 5: 33rd annual Tour of Sebring. Enjoy one to three days of cycling in the gently rolling hills of Highlands County. Fully supported routes, on-road route marks, rest stops, and dispatched SAG service vehicles. Daily rides ranging from 11 to 62 miles plus a Sunday Bok Tour Century (100 miles). (www.caloosariders.org)

Triathlons:
·         Saturday, Aug. 1: Siesta Beach Olympic and Sprint Triathlon. Starts at 7 a.m. (multirace.us)
·         Sunday, Sept. 5: Venice YMCA Triathlon. Sprint distance, based at Sharky's on the Pier, 1600 Harbor Drive, Venice. (www.swflymca.org/programs/venice-triathlon)
·         Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 12-13: Galloway Captiva Triathlon. Kid’s events Saturday, three age groups with different distances. Adult sprint tri Sunday, all based at South Seas Island Resort, Captiva. (www.captivatri.org)
·         Sunday, Oct. 4: Marco Island Triathlon (sprint0. Starts at 8 a.m. from Marco Mariott Beach Resort. (www.thefitnesschallengetriathlon.com)
·         Sunday, Oct. 18: Longboat Key International/Sprint Triathlon/Duathlon. Starts at 7:30 a.m. from Longboat Key Club & Resort. (www.lbktriathlon.com)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

BWL Column: Cyclists should ride right and go with the flow

Wrong-way bicycling has gotten a lot of attention lately. Yesterday's News-Press included an open letter to wrong-way bicyclists (http://bikewalklee.blogspot.com/2015/07/an-open-letter-to-wrong-way-bicyclists.html) and today's BikeWalkLee bi-weekly News-Press column (below) also explains why it's important to ride with traffic, not against it.

News-Press "Go Coastal" section, BikeWalkLee Column, July 23, 2015


So, which direction is the right one to ride?

If you read the letters to the editor, you’d see the occasional assertion that cyclists would be safer if only they rode facing traffic rather than in the same direction as traffic.

The logic goes that cyclists able to see what’s headed their way would be more able to take evasive action to avoid a collision with the much faster and heavier vehicles sharing the roadway.

Granted, there’s a certain simplistic sense to this at first glance. But take a moment to ponder the possibilities (and perhaps do a little research) and you’ll find out where this logic goes wrong and why riding with traffic is the smarter way:

It’s the law. Florida statutes are unequivocal: Cyclists on the roadway must ride in the same direction as other vehicles… because that’s what they are in the eyes of the law — a vehicle. (It’s the law in other states as well.)

It makes you more visible. Drivers are geared to look out for other vehicles on the road… at least the ones we want to drive beside. What are those drivers looking for? Other vehicles! So when you act like one of those other vehicles, you improve your chances of being seen by other drivers. Let’s also remember that all car-bike interactions occur on open roadways with both moving in the same plane. There are also turning drivers, passing drivers, drivers coming to an intersection or pulling on to the road. All those drivers are looking for other vehicles, so if you’re not acting like one of those you’re much more at risk of a collision.

It’s safer for you (even when you’re not sharing the road). One study (http://www.bicyclinglife.com/Library/riskfactors.htm) concluded your risk when riding against traffic on the roadway was almost doubled vs. riding with traffic. Ride on the sidewalk against traffic and your risk is quadrupled (again, for the visibility factor of where drivers normally look).

Another consideration (at least in low-speed conditions) is that riding with traffic lowers the impact factor should a collision occur. If a car going 30 mph interacts with a cyclist going 10 mph in the same direction, the impact factor is 20 mph (30-10). Have the cyclist going in the opposite direction (into traffic), and the impact factor doubles (30+10). That makes a major difference in survivability.

A final consideration is that, if everyone on a bike is riding in the same direction, it’s safer for all — even the motorists, since swerving cyclists trying to avoid each other inevitable can end up in the roadway.

Now, sharing the road is not for every cyclist — that’s why we have bike paths, shared-use paths and other more protective options. For those willing to ride right in traffic, however, there are a number of accessories — mirrors, lights, vests, etc. — that enable you to see and be seen by whoever is approaching from behind. But if you’re riding the roadway, you need to be confident, you need to be predictable and you need to be wary and aware as if your life depended on your defensiveness. It very well might.

The two-wheeled types reading this may ask: Why does all the burden of shared-road safety fall on the cyclist? Well, in a perfect world, that would not be the case. In the world we live in, however, cyclists are out-weighed and out-powered by motor vehicles — so cyclists have a lot more at stake, and it behooves the bicyclist to take precautions to prevent collisions. After all, if a motorist’s mistake ends up in an unfortunate car-cycle interaction, the driver might get a ticket — but the cyclist might get a trip to the emergency room, or worse.

BikeWalkLee is 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.


Ready to ride or run?

Run: There are two 5Ks Saturday for your running pleasure… one in Cape Coral (Beat the Heat at www.3dracinginc.com) and one in Naples (Eagle Lakes 5K at www.eliteevents.org).
Ride: Join the Caloosa Riders this Sunday to ride 100km (62 miles) as part of the Rapha Women’s 100, a global event getting thousands of women around the world to ride 100km. Meet at Daniels Crossing Plaza and ride from Fort Myers to Captiva Island, in a non-supported, self-contained no-drop ride. Please be able to ride 18-20 mph, and helmets are required. (www.caloosariders.org).
Both: While the Sept. 12-13 Galloway Captiva Tri is sold out, if you’re willing to drive north a little there are two choices on the horizon: The Siesta Beach Tri (Olympic and sprint) on Saturday, Aug. 1 (multirace.us), and the Venice YMCA Triathlon (sprint) on Sunday, Sept. 5 (www.swflymca.org/programs/venice-triathlon).



Safety movement
Want to support the “6ft Flag” Safety Movement — Bike Lights Campaign? It’s a grassroots movement to help improve the safety of cyclists in Southwest Florida? Go to http://www.gofundme.com/SWFL6ftflaglights for details.

Dan Moser column: Vacation travel can be enjoyable and enlightening

 Dan reflects on his recent trip to Toronto and Nova Scotia and how their biking and walking infrastructure and experience compares to ours in SWFL.

Florida Weekly Outdoors Section: July 22, 2015


Taking a real vacation for the first time in a number of years to celebrate our 25th anniversary, my wife, Maria, and I had as much fun as we could have hoped for. Visiting other parts of the country and world does wonders for recharging one’s batteries and reminding us that our own little world of Southwest Florida is just that. For us, traveling to Toronto and Nova Scotia provided both of those benefits.

Although I characterized our trip as a “real vacation,” I couldn’t help but look critically at the communities we visited, always considering their transportation options and infrastructure, green spaces and other quality-of-life indicators. As is usually the case when being exposed to places people enjoy visiting, there’s much to learn and bring home.

This was our third time in Toronto and second in Nova Scotia, allowing me an interesting perspective because my last visit included meetings with transportation, community-planning, transit and parks and recreation officials. At that time, the city of Toronto was in the first stages of moving to drastically improve conditions for people using bicycles and transit. What I saw during this recent visit was the result of their commitment, which is significant in enhanced infrastructure and increased bike ridership, something I’ll write more about in my next column.

View of friendly streets of Toronto
In the cities we visited -— Toronto, Ontario and Nova Scotia’s Dartmouth and Halifax — transit options abounded. Of course, Toronto had the most robust, with everything from an excellent subway and streetcar system to ferries and water taxis. But even Dartmouth, which is much smaller (population 70,000) than its neighbor across the harbor, Halifax (population 300,000), provided very good bus service as well as ferries and water taxis between the two cities. One thing I found very telling was that those on foot and bicycle are provided a 24/7 free shuttle service while major renovations are taking place on one of two bridges connecting the cities — work that will take years to complete. Additional ferry capacity is also part of a plan to ensure access during this massive project. In contrast, Lee County residents and visitors traveling on foot can’t legally use any of our bridges across the Caloosahatchee River at any time, other than one span of the newer Edison Bridge, which doesn’t even directly link Fort Myers to Cape Coral. Additionally, there are no features specific to bicycles on any bridge; merely breakdown lanes intended for motorists’ use.

The pedestrian environment in each of the cities we visited was very good in compliance to crosswalk laws by motorists and non-motorists alike. But one glaring difference between the U.S. and Canada is the apparent lack of implementation of something similar to our Americans With Disabilities Act, which requires public places to adequately accommodate those with mobility problems and other physical limitations. While there are curb ramps in most places where needed, tactile features for people with visual impairments are rare.

But the most surprising oversight is in access to many of the businesses we visited, especially restaurants. In researching Canadians laws related to access, there is indeed a version of our ADA that has been in place since the late 1970s, but specific requirements and implementation appears to be well behind ours, at least from what Maria and I encountered.

Other than the ADA-related shortcomings, most other aspects of the pedestrian experience were much more positive than what we’ve come to expect here. Whether it was running or walking, it quickly became apparent that there was less aggressiveness among drivers toward pedestrians and other motorists, even on the busiest inner-city streets. Horn blowing and antagonistic behavior was almost nonexistent, at least from what I observed. Likewise, pedestrians were less timid when interacting in traffic and took fewer risks since, as I mentioned earlier, compliance among motorists was an expectation that was generally met, unlike here. Illegally parked cars and other items that obstruct sidewalks were not an issue, either in the inner city or surrounding residential neighborhoods. And although I read and heard about incidents and complaints that were opposite of what we witnessed, I came away with the impression that whether it was in the metropolis of Toronto or more modest-sized Halifax and Dartmouth, there’s a lot more respect and tolerance among the different types of road users than in Southwest Florida. Navigating in traffic in what was for us a low-stress atmosphere made for an excellent experience that can and should be the case in our own communities.

To find out more about how other communities around the country and world are making life better for residents and visitors, visit BikeWalkLee’s blog (bikewalklee.blogspot.com).

Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and pathways.
— 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 or 334- 6417.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

An open letter to wrong-way bicyclists

Tired of reading all those letters to editors by local citizens suggesting that cyclists should ride against traffic?? Here's a great piece in today's News-Press: "An open letter to wrong-way bicyclists". Thank you, Robert Sciolino of Cape Coral for speaking up and for saying it so well! (And thanks to News-Press for publishing it.) Watch for BikeWalkLee's column later this week on the same topic.


By Robert J. Sciolino 
Photo from News-Press

You are in more danger, not less, when you ride facing traffic.

I get it, but it is against the law.

I know you truly think if you see cars coming you can avoid them when they suddenly swerve into you.

You cannot.

If you are on a residential street and the traffic is approaching you while on your bike and you are going about 15 mph, that traffic is headed at you at 45 mph. I don’t care if you are a world-class athlete; you are not “stepping” out of the way of a 45 mph approach.

Sorry.

Had this been the same “distracted” driver on the other side and you were riding with traffic, the impact would be 15 mph … a 30 mph car hitting a 15 mph cyclist. Yes, the impact still occurred, yet now you have a fighting chance to survive.

You’ve already made the decision to ride in traffic, so, since you are there … give yourself a chance.

Here’s another thing you may not have thought about; cars pulling out in front of you from a side street are not looking your way … almost ever. Their concern is approaching traffic to their left, not you on your bike going the wrong way on their right.

I save the best for last; other people.

Other cyclists.

When you ride on the wrong side you endanger cyclists who are riding legally. When you approach each other it’s head-on.

Who goes left? Who goes right?

Who heads for the grass? Who heads for the street?

When you both head the same way you end up … if lucky with bad headaches and ruined bikes.

And it’s your fault.

You’re going to be paying someone’s hospital bills and buying them a new bike.

I ride 10,000 miles every year on the road. I ride with traffic. I have never had a close call. Thousands of cars pass me every single day on my way and coming home from work, on the busiest streets in Lee County, including Colonial Boulevard, the Midpoint Bridge and Veterans Parkway. Never a close call.

However, years ago when I didn’t know any better, and rode the sidewalks and the wrong way on the road — close calls three or four times each week and three crashes with motor vehicles.

The only crash I have had in five years involving another vehicle was a bicyclist riding the wrong way. I broke my collarbone, cracked ribs, chipped a tooth and had a severe concussion — and lost my bike.

He rode off. It was a hit-and-run — somehow, no injuries.

I say all this because I ran into a couple taking a leisurely ride on Cultural Park Boulevard in Cape Coral recently, going the wrong way. I tried to politely explain the issues involved and instead was treated to laughter and sarcasm — and plain ignorance. 

Well, I truly hope we don’t “run into each other” again because I ride an expensive bike and he may not want to finance a new one for me. Hopefully, in his ignorance that’s the only price he ever pays for an enjoyable neighborhood ride. 

Be safe, ride with traffic.  

Robert J. Sciolino lives in Cape Coral.

Local road impact fees can now be used for bike/ped and transit infrastructure projects

Although it hasn't been picked up in the media, over the past six months both the Lee Board of County Commissioners and the Bonita Springs City Council have updated their road impact fee regulations to allow road impact fees to be used for bike/ped and transit infrastructure projects. 

BikeWalkLee supports the actions by Bonita and BoCC to begin to move the road impact fees into a more multi-modal transportation approach.  The next step needed is to move to mobility fees, which not only takes a multi-modal approach in the use of the funds, but also provides a growth management tool to promote infill and redevelopment and curtail sprawl. 

Background
On July 15th, the Bonita Springs City Council adopted an ordinance (Ordinance No. 15-16), which amends the definition in the road impact fee ordinance to include alternative roadway capacity improvements, similar to action taken by Lee County BoCC in March.  The Bonita Springs ordinance further states that the Council will take further action as it moves forward with implementation of its complete streets policies as part of its upcoming EAR process.

This trend in providing more flexibility in use of road impact fees for other transportation modes is not unique to Lee County.  Just last week, the Tampa City Council took action on the same issue.  

 In the past, road impact fees could only be used to build roads to meet the transportation needs of the new developments and businesses.  Since road impact fees were put in place throughout Florida in the late 1980s and 1990s, there has been a major shift at the national, state, and local level to a multi-modal transportation system, not just cars, to get people to where they want to go.  Thus,  the road-only use of those funds is inconsistent with this approach.

In the Lee County Comp Plan amendments (called Horizon 2035) developed by staff and approved by all the relevant committees (with extensive public input and involvement) over the period of 2010-2014, the Plan as recommended to BoCC included incorporating a multi-modal transportation approach, and moving away from road-only transportation approaches, such as auto-only Level of Service (LOS) and road impact fees.  The draft Comp Plan amendments envisioned a mobility plan and mobility fee approach as a replacement for road impact fees.  [Note: this BoCC has taken no action on the Horizon 2035 Plan and has given no indication that they plan to consider it.]

As part of the County's deliberations on impact fees, in January,  Duncan and Associates updated the impact fees to reflect current costs, as required by State law.  Their January report on road impact fees had a section on multi-modal improvements (p. 16-13), which reviewed  the County Commission's discussions about transitioning to a mobility fee and recommended that the ordinance be amended to provide flexibility to spend road impact fees on improvements such as sidewalks, bikeways, trails and bus pull-out lanes that are not part of a road widening project.   Thus, road impact fees may be used to fund additional improvements as long as they expand the capacity of the roadway.  Like the current impact fee system, the projects funded must be in the impact fee district within which the fees were collected.   
 
2015 Duncan Report: Update of Road Impact Fees
 Including this new definition resulted in a lowering of the County's net road impact fee.  That's because including stand-alone bike/ped improvements meant that the revenue credits increased, i.e., you can reduce costs by taking some of the trips off the road and instead putting them on biking/walking/transit facilities; thereby lowering the net road impact fee.  
 
As we pointed out to the BoCC in our public comments on March 3rd, there are several  recent developments that could have benefited from this flexibility language--Fiddlesticks Blvd, Palomino Rd, and Estero Parkway.  Instead of taking some of the trips off the road with needed walking and biking facilities at the time the housing developments were built, the Fiddlesticks community, for example, has had to wait 10 plus years at 10 times the cost to provide these needed transportation facilities, and communities along Palomino Rd. and Estero Parkway probably have another 5-10 year wait.  It's a win-win for everyone to have this flexibility language.

Click here for BikeWalkLee's Jan. 29, 2015 letter to BoCC stating our support for this provision.

Click here for the Lee County March 3, 2015 ordinance (Ordinance 15-03) with new flexibility language.

Click here for the Jan. 2015 Duncan report on impact fees.

BikeWalkLee will be tracking the implementation of this new flexibility language and will report on the use of this language to provide bike/ped/transit infrastructure on transportation projects necessitated by growth.  We also encourage the County and Bonita Springs (and other local jurisdictions) to consider taking the next step--replacing road impact fees with a mobility fee system.

Report by Darla Letourneau



Sunday, July 19, 2015

July 20th: Upcoming running/walking/biking/tri events



Upcoming events 

Running/walking:
·         Saturday, July 25: Eagle Lakes 5K, Eagle Lakes Community Park, 11565 East Tamiami trail, Naples. Starts 7 a.m. (www.eliteevents.org)
·         Saturday, July 25: 7th annual Beat the Heat 5K. Jaycee Park, 4125 SE 20th Place, Cape Coral. 7 a.m. (www.3dracinginc.com)
·         Saturday, Aug. 15: 7th annual Cape 5K, Jaycee Park, 4125 SE 20th Place, Cape Coral. 7 a.m. (www.3dracinginc.com)
·         Saturday, Aug. 22: North Collier Regional Rampage 5K, North Collier Regional Park, 1500 Livingston Road, Naples. 7 a.m. (www.eliteevents.org).
·         Saturday, Oct. 10: Cops & Joggers 2015 5K, Starts from Centennial Park, downtown Fort Myers, at 7:45 p.m. (www.ftmyerstrackclub.com)
·         Saturday, Oct. 10: 2015 Busey Bank Run For Prevention 5K, 7:45 a.m. at Florida Gulf Coast University. (www.3dracinginc.com)
·         Saturday, Oct. 17: 7th annual 10K 4 FISH (Friends In Service Here). Starts at  Sanibel Community House, 2173 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, at 7:30 a.m. (www.ftmyerstrackclub.com)
·          
Cycling:
·         Sunday, July 26: Join the Caloosa Riders to ride 100km as part of the Rapha Women’s 100, a global event getting thousands of women around the world to ride 100km. Meet at Daniels Crossing Plaza and ride from Fort Myers to Captiva Island, in a non-supported, self-contained no-drop ride. Please be able to ride 18-20 mph, and helmets are required. (www.caloosariders.org).
·         Friday, Aug.7: SWFL Critical Mass ride. Join a family fun slow ride through Fort Myers. Front and rear bike lights required. Grab your helmet, bring all your friends and meet in the open field next to Publix (at 7:30 p.m.) at First Street Village, 2160 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers. (twitter.com/swflcm)
·         Saturday, Sept. 5: 33rd annual Tour of Sebring. Enjoy one to three days of cycling in the gently rolling hills of Highlands County. Fully supported routes, on-road route marks, rest stops, and dispatched SAG service vehicles. Daily rides ranging from 11 to 62 miles plus a Sunday Bok Tour Century (100 miles). (www.caloosariders.org)

Triathlons:
·         Saturday, Aug. 1: Siesta Beach Olympic and Sprint Triathlon. Starts at 7 a.m. (multirace.us)
·         Sunday, Sept. 5: Venice YMCA Triathlon. Sprint distance, based at Sharky's on the Pier, 1600 Harbor Drive, Venice. (www.swflymca.org/programs/venice-triathlon)
·         Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 12-13: Galloway Captiva Triathlon. Kid’s events Saturday, three age groups with different distances. Adult sprint tri Sunday, all based at South Seas Island Resort, Captiva. (www.captivatri.org)
·         Sunday, Oct. 4: Marco Island Triathlon (sprint0. Starts at 8 a.m. from Marco Mariott Beach Resort. (www.thefitnesschallengetriathlon.com)
·         Sunday, Oct. 18: Longboat Key International/Sprint Triathlon/Duathlon. Starts at 7:30 a.m. from Longboat Key Club & Resort. (www.lbktriathlon.com)

How are we doing on campaign to make Lee County safer for walking and biking?: A 2015 midyear review

 Report by Darla Letourneau 

At the halfway mark through 2015, it's time to look at the bike/ped injury and fatality data and see how we're doing towards our goal of making Lee County a safer place to walk and bike.  While the data to date (Jan. - June 30, 2015) indicates that Lee County is not likely to repeat last year's shockingly high bicyclist fatality number (9), our pedestrian fatalities numbers are rising.  Most troubling, injury levels for both cyclists and pedestrians are heading in the direction of record highs by the end of 2015. 
 
During this same period, there has been a great deal of media attention and local government activity aimed at making our communities safer for biking and walking--from the News-Press "Share the Road" campaign and in-depth feature stories on cycling dangers and ways to make our community safer; the Bicycle Friendly Communities national expert visits to four local communities; three Lee County cities signing on to USDOT Secretary Foxx's Mayor Challenge to address bike/ped safety; to targeted education and enforcement efforts by local law enforcement agencies.

The bottomline is that while there are lots of efforts underway to make it safer for people walking and biking in Lee County, we need to step up our game, if we expect to lower our stubbornly high bike/ped fatality and injury numbers.

Background
Lee County has consistently ranked in the top quarter of the most dangerous areas in Florida for pedestrians and cyclists...in a state that is the most dangerous state in the country for these vulnerable road users.  In September 2013, the Lee MPO Board adopted a Countywide Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Action Plan aimed at reducing bicycle and pedestrian injury and fatality crashes through a wide range of recommended activities--from education, engineering, to enforcement.  The Action Plan focuses on 18 specific recommendations (both short-term and long-term), with specific milestones and assignments for action.  Click here to review the plan

The Lee MPO staff reports to the MPO Board at least every quarter on the status of bike/ped crashes and implementation of the Action Plan, and updates a series of graphs that track the bike/ped injury and fatality numbers from 2000 to 2015, with the latest monthly data.  

Bike/Ped Injury and Fatality Data
Below are the graphs prepared by MPO staff (thanks, Brian Raimondo) that tell the story about how we're doing so far in 2015 at the halfway point, as compared to previous years.  Here's what we know:



So far this year (through the end of June), Lee County has experienced 3 bicycle fatalities and 11 pedestrian fatalities.  While the bicycle fatality number indicates that we hopefully won't repeat last year's record high of 9 fatalities, we are already above the level in our best years.  In terms of pedestrian fatalities, the 11 fatalities to date is likely to mean we'll have a higher than average number of pedestrian fatalities this year, although not likely to repeat the 2013 high of 24.  Again, the 11 to date is already higher than our annual numbers in our best years.



Even more troubling is the upward trend in both bicycle and pedestrian injuries.  To date, we've already had 106 pedestrian injuries and 128 bicycle injuries.  Historically, about 54% of our bike/ped crashes occur in the first 6 months of the year, with about 46% in the last 6 months of the year.  if those trends hold, we could see historic highs in injuries, esp. for bicycle injuries, which have been trending up each year since 2006.  Although we don't have the breakdown yet for how many of these are "hit-and-run" cases, this is something of grave concern, as Lee County saw a 50% increase in these cases over the past two years.

Although it's too early to know whether these trends will hold for the remainder of the year, any way you look at it, having 14 fatalities and 234 injuries in the first half of this year is not welcome news.
Below are links to the four safety-related efforts underway over the past six months:

1.  Media Campaign
For more than a year, News-Press has focused on bicycle safety issues and what can be done to make SWFL roads safer for cyclists through their "Share the Road" campaign and in-depth feature reporting.  So far this year, they have done two major in-depth features-- one in March and one in June. (see links below)

 The media coverage has helped raise awareness about the problems and the responsibilities of everyone for taking action to address them--from individual citizens' roadway behavior and attitudes, to elected officials and law enforcement officers.  In June they focused on both national and local solutions to create a bicycle-friendly environment, and left us with a bottom-line message:  we need to step up our game!

BikeWalkLee Blog: June 25, 2015: BWL Column: Southwest Florida has plenty of bike/walk successes (our response to the News-Press  June 14th feature story, "Political will is needed to make cycling safer")

BikeWalkLee Blog: June 15, 2015: News-Press: Political will is needed to make cycling safer

BikeWalkLeeBlog: March 8, 2015: Overview of News-Press March 8th feature coverage on biking safety and a call to action


(BWL's response to some comments in letter to editor to dispel myths and explain what it means to share the road.)

2. Three Local Jurisdictions Participate in USDOT Secretary Foxx's "Mayor's Challenge" for safety
USDOT Secretary Foxx launching Mayor's Challenge
In January, USDOT Secretary Foxx challenged mayors and local elected officials to take significant action to improve safety for bicycle riders and pedestrians of all ages and abilities over the next year,  launching his " Safer People, Safer Streets" initiative.   This local-based major bike/ped safety initiative takes a complete streets-approach, which provides further support for the FDOT bike/ped safety and complete streets initiative, and the related Lee County efforts, and re-enforces the Bicycle-Friendly Communities expert visits. 


 (BikeWalkLee's Darla Letourneau was interviewed by the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) for their feature story on the Mayors Challenge and how it can help local communities.)

BikeWalkLee Blog: March 19, 2015: City of Cape Coral joins USDOT Secretary's "Mayors Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets"

BikeWalkLee Blog: March 19, 2015: City of Bonita Springs first in SWFL to join USDOT Secretary's"Mayors Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets"

BikeWalkLee Blog: January 22, 2015: USDOT Secretary Foxx Launches Mayors' Challenge for Safer People,Safer Streets

3.  LAB's Bicycle Friendly Communities' visits to Lee County
Steve Clark's field trip with Sanibel officials and advocates
Lee County was selected as one of the 100 communities that the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) visited in 2015, as part of its new initiative to bring bicycle-friendly expertise directly to the local level.  These visits are an opportunity for local communities to get some hands-on technical assessment of its bicycling infrastructure and to learn about best practices from other communities, with the goal of making communities such as Lee County more bicycle friendly. In January and February 2015, BFC's Steve Clark visited Sanibel, Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, and Fort Myers.  Making SWFL communities more bicycle-friendly also means they're safer.

BikeWalkLee Blog: January 29, 2015: LESSONS FROM THE ROAD: BFC Steve shares five key insights from a year of Bicycle Friendly Community visits

BikeWalkLee Blog: January 18, 2015: Reflections on national Bicycle Friendly Communities expert,Steve Clark's week in Lee County

4.  Law Enforcement Initiatives

FHP bike/ped safety detail operation

FDOT grants to the Lee County Sheriff's Office, Florida Highway Patrol, and the Cape Coral Police Department are supporting special high visibility education enforcement operations in selected "hot spot" areas, as part of a comprehensive safety campaign that promotes safe pedestrian, bicyclist and driver behaviors. In addition to these operations, other initiatives have been undertaken by the Cape Coral Police Department and FHP, as noted in the blog posts linked below:




(FHP launched an awareness campaign to address the increasing number of hit-and-run crashes in Florida.  Between 2012 and 2014, cases of hit-and-run collisions in Lee County increased by 50 percent, and we know that a disproportionate number of the victims are pedestrians and cyclists.  As a society, there should be zero tolerance for drivers who hit and run.)

Previous BikeWalkLee Safety Update Blog Posts
April 2014