International Winter Bike to Work Day 2015
Today, Friday the 13th, is the Third Annual International Winter Bike to Work Day.
Are you feeling lucky? Turns out Florida is still the most dangerous state in the nation for pedestrians and cyclists. A Health News Florida report that aired yesterday on WLRN's NPR station gave some sobering statistics but also some reasons for hope. You can listen to the broadcast (or read the transcript) by clicking HERE.
Essentially, older roads in our state were never designed for cyclists, runners or walkers. They were set up purely to get folks to and from suburban Florida areas in the fastest way possible - which is why too many drivers still drive recklessly and speed. The good news is that new roads are being designed with safety in mind. Here's an excerpt from the recent radio report that was recorded in Orlando:
Conventional wisdom says these roads were built for speed, and federal data show Florida has the highest death rates per capita for both cyclists and pedestrians.
“That’s unfortunately true," said Joan Carter, the traffic safety specialist for the Florida Department of Transportation.
The state hired her to make the roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists. One example: the DOT passed a complete streets policy in October, which requires planners to include pedestrians and cyclists when designing roads.
“I’ve always said that DOT is kind of like a dreadnought," Carter said. "Originally it was aimed specifically at managing vehicular travel.”
But now they have to accommodate this growing number of cyclists. Now this may seem counter-intuitive, but what Florida needs is more cyclists and more pedestrians.
The idea is that, with critical mass, more drivers will see them, says Stefanie Feskin, deputy director of the National Complete Streets Coalition at Smart Growth America. And events like bike to work day can help.
“Building those numbers, it really does make safety even better," Feskin said. "So you can be physically active without fearing serious injury or death with the more people out there.”
We want to hear what you think. Do you ride your bike to work on a regular basis? Do you feel safe or unsafe when you do? What do you think about the idea of helping to make the situation safer on the roads by riding more? Share your photos and tell us what you think about this issue by chatting on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using hashtag #teamoymbike.
Love, Peace & Bicycle Grease,
Matt & Julie