in the greater Estero area
More and more adults and children are enjoying biking in the greater Estero area. The ECCL fully supports the initiatives of the Village in extending bike lanes and looking at new opportunities for those who enjoy biking and walking to do so in safety.
In Florida, bicyclists can ride on the road and the sidewalks. NHTSA’s bicycle safety initiatives focus on encouraging safer choices for bicyclists and drivers to help reduce deaths and injuries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states to avoid or minimize sidewalk riding. With the higher speeds and heavy traffic in our area, many do not feel safe bicycling on the roads. https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/bicyclists
The safety of cyclists in our area is paramount. Unfortunately, accidents can occur with a fall or collision. To reduce the risk of a collision with a motor vehicle, vehicle drivers and bicyclists have a responsibility to drive or ride defensively. Always wear a correctly fitted helmet.
By law, bicycles on the roadway are vehicles with the same rights and responsibilities as motorized vehicles. Cyclists should travel in the same direction as traffic, obey all traffic laws (street signs, signals), signal when changing lanes or tuning, and be aware of road conditions that may cause a fall (grates, road debris, potholes). Drivers need to give cyclists room. It is recommended that you allow at least 3 feet when passing. To allow adequate space, drivers may need to wait until they can safely move over to the other lane to pass. Drivers also need to be careful when making a right-hand turn.
It is legal to ride a bike on the sidewalk in Florida. When a cyclist is on the sidewalk, they have the same responsibilities as a pedestrian. When riding on the sidewalk, Cyclists must remember that a vehicle’s driver expects a pedestrian, not a bicycle. Consequently, the cyclist needs to be extra careful when crossing a street or parking lot entrances and exiting from the sidewalk.
The cyclist should watch for vehicles turning (from behind or in front) and for those exiting the street or lot. Looking in all directions is essential. If needed, they should stop and follow pedestrian signals. When passing a pedestrian, the cyclist should provide an audible signal before passing (i.e., a bell or verbal, passing on left).
Drivers need to be especially careful when turning right on red. When on the sidewalk, cyclists, like pedestrians, must cross when permitted by the traffic signal. Drivers are required by law to stop when there is someone in the crosswalk. When a driver sees a pedestrian or a cyclist waiting at a traffic signal to cross the road, they need to pay attention to the walk signal before turning right.
Lastly, there are several things you can do to ride safely regardless of whether you ride on the street or the sidewalk. Every bike ride should begin with putting on a helmet. Other safety considerations:
- Ride a bike that fits you—if it is too big, it’s harder to control the bike.
- Ride a bike that works—it does not matter how well you ride if the brakes do not work.
- Wear equipment to protect you and make you more visible to others, like a bike helmet, bright clothing (during the day), reflective gear, and a white front light and red rear light and reflectors on your bike (at night, or when visibility is poor).
- Ride one per seat, with both hands on the handlebars, unless signaling a turn.
- Carry all items in a backpack or strapped to the back of the bike.
- Tuck and tie your shoelaces and pant legs, so they do not get caught in your bike chain.
- Plan your route—if driving as a vehicle on the road, choose routes with less traffic and slower speeds. Your safest route may be away from traffic altogether, in a bike lane, or on a bike path.
Stay safe, be seen! The ECCL encourages you to enjoy your cycling in safety in the greater Estero area. The Village has been expanding the number of bike lanes and continues to expand the opportunities for bikers in our locality. Bike lanes have been provided along Estero Parkway, and plans are in place to add safe bike lanes in the road widening scheme to be initiated shortly on East Corkscrew. Negotiations are continuing to gain access to the Seminole Railway Line that could lead to the development of the “SUN Trail” that would run along the railway line for 10 miles between Estero Parkway and Bonita Beach Road.
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