With walkers, joggers, regular cyclists and more and more bike newbies—some obviously wobbly—hitting Marco’s streets and avenues to relieve stress, some guidelines have been made available.
Just two personal observations in recent days have been a group of four riders heading up Winterberry Drive towards Barfield Drive.
They were correctly riding in a designated bike lane, but it was pitch dark. They wore dark clothing, no helmets, and had no flashing lights on their bikes. It was just possible to see their reflectors in one’s car headlights.
A second observation was a cyclist (indeed with a flashing rear red light) heading north along Barfield Drive near the big Publix.
He was in a bike lane, but had to ease into one of the two lanes in the road to avoid getting sprayed by a garden sprinkler. He didn’t swerve into the road, but looked behind him before temporarily entering the slow lane.
A single, fast-moving compact car approached, and instead of simply moving into the fast lane, the driver honked loudly and basically bore down on the cyclist before shifting lanes at the last minute.
These two incidents illustrate the need for road sense as well as common sense, and in response to a Coastal Breeze request for enlightenment, MIPD’s Administrative Captain Dave Baer provided some valuable website sources.
“Ironically,” he wrote in an e-mail, “March (was) Bicycle Month in Florida.”
The links he provided were: www.fdot.gov/roadway/bikeped/bikepedbf.shtm in connection with facilities.
A more comprehensive link is: floridabicycle.org/bicycle-traffic-law/, and a third safety link covering cycling and pedestrian safety is www.fdot.gov/safety/2a-programs/pedestrian-and-bicycle-safety.
Some of the salient points that Marco cyclists, as well as joggers and walkers, might want to bear in mind are:
- *Most of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) bicycle facilities are on-road, so you’ll be riding with traffic in many cases. Statistically, cyclists who ride with traffic and follow the rules of the road are the safest cyclists and least likely to be involved in a crash.
- *Bicycles operated on the road in Florida must:
- Have brakes that will stop the bicycle within 25′ from a speed of 10 mph on dry ground—if you have any brakes at all, they probably meet this requirement.
- Have a front white light and a red rear light if operated between sunset and sunrise—if you ride much at all, you’ll be out after dark sooner or later. Go ahead and get some lights!
- And bicyclists (passengers or drivers) under the age of 16 MUST wear a bike helmet. Even if you’re over 16, a bike helmet is strongly recommended.
- *Sidewalks are not bike facilities, according to the DOT, which states that statistically, they are one of most crash-prone places to ride.
“Motorists aren’t looking for fast-moving cyclists on the sidewalks at intersections, and the sidewalks themselves aren’t designed to be shared with cyclists,” the DOT says.
“Sooner or later, though, every cyclist finds a situation where the sidewalk is just the most practical route. So, if you should ever find yourself in that situation, just remember that your bicycle is no longer a vehicle—you have become a pedestrian with wheels.
“You must move at pedestrian speed, looking for traffic conflicts just as you would on foot. Some cyclists even dismount and walk their bikes. Go slow—go safe.”
*In the case of shared sidewalks, of which Marco has quite a few, the request is simply to be courteous to fellow users such as walkers and joggers.
And, with time on so many people’s hands these days, it’s a recommendation to visit the above mentioned sites for a full understanding of cycling, walking and jogging etiquette and safety rules.