It’s Tourist Season in Southwest Florida
We are in the midst of the tourist season in southwest Florida and the traffic on the roads confirms it. In addition, the number of car vs. car crashes confirms it and acts as a warning to cyclists to be extra alert. There are many distracted, aggressive and feeble drivers all intertwined on the roads like a veggie omelet. In an effort to awaken motorists to the fact that cyclists are on the roads, Naples Velo has worked in cooperation with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office and the Naples Police Department to have mobile electric road signs display cycling awareness messages. Naples Velo has also arranged for Public Service Announcements to be run on four radio stations and has partnered with Naples Pathways Coalition to conduct a public speakers program seeking to penetrate the general public with the cycling awareness message. However, it is also the responsibility of cyclists to have a heightened awareness of the potential risks lurking at every intersection and driveway as one pedals on the roads of southwest Florida.
Be sure to:
Wear a helmet.
Have lights on your bike front and rear and use them.
Do not wear ear buds, headphones or any other listening device.
Maintain your bike in good working condition.
Possess and exercise good cycling skills or take a free Naples Velo cycling skills class to improve your skills.
Obey all traffic laws. You are legally a vehicle on the road.
Stay off sidewalks. More cyclists are killed riding on sidewalks than on streets.
Ride with traffic, not against it. Motorists are not expecting a bicycle traveling in the wrong direction.
And be alert for:
The Right Hook-a motorist turning right in front of or into you.
The Door Jam-a motorist opening the driver’s side door into your path.
The Squeeze Play-a motorist changing from the straight lane to the right turn lane crossing over a bike path.
The Bike Hater- Based on a random survey of more than 100 motorists in Collier County, 15% of motorists strongly believe that bicycles belong on the sidewalk not the road and are highly irritated by their presence. They will challenge cyclists every chance they get and the cyclists will always lose. Avoid the confrontation and keep smiling.
Let’s all work together to make cycling safer in southwest Florida. Report all confrontations with motorists to your local law enforcement office. Demand that your elected government representatives provide improved and safer road conditions for cyclists. As a community of cyclists we can make things happen for the benefit of cyclists and the population of southwest Florida.
Stay warm and stay safe.