Thursday, April 8, 2010

SWFBUD Visits Tallahassee For Today's Florida Bike Summit

I had no idea Janet Cruz was such a big fan of bicycling.

But the new Florida state representative who represents West Tampa and Seminole Heights told me and my bicycle comrade Jim Shirk today that she backs the Florida Bicycle Association's legislative agenda.

And Rep. Cruz, a Democrat who won a special election to fill the unexpired term of former Rep. Mike Scionti, said she was even nice to a bicyclist the other day. She said she waited for an oncoming driver in the opposite lane to go by until she safely passed a bicyclist even though drivers behind her were honking their horns.

Cruz also wrote the Bicycle Bash on her celandar and said she'll try and come Nov. 7 to the bicycle festival. We then took the constituent-meets-the-elected-official photo.

Just a little slice of today's visit to Tallahassee for the Florida Bike Summit, where bike advocates from around Florida visited their local state representatives and senators to do some gentle lobbying for pro-bike legislation and policies.

We're lobbying for a Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law because distracted drivers lead to fatal accidents. We also want Florida to spend more money on traffic safety for bike/ped programs because 21 percent of Florida's traffic fatalities are bicyclists and peds, but less than 2 percent is funded for bike and ped programs. We want high-speed and commuter rail legislation to include accommodating bicyclists by funding secure bike parking and lockers at train stations and allowing bikes on trains. We also oppose the efforts to eliminate the Office of Greenways and Trails and want to re-establish the Florida Bicycle/Pedestrian Council.

It was great to see Rep. Cruz and aides for Senators Crist, Justice, Storms and Joyner to push the bicycle agenda.

And great thanks to Jim Shirk, a great bicycle friend who donates his time to making Tampa Bay a better place to ride a bicycle.

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