Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tampa Council Tackles Bicycle Safety At Workshop

Thank you Tampa Councilwoman Mary Mulhern for leading today's bicycle safety workshop at this morning's council meeting.

Gena Torres, of the MPO (Metropolitan Planning Organization), presented a summary of the bicycle safety action plan strategies. There will be a public meeting next month on the bike safety action plan and the county commissioners probably will get a look at it in March.

SWFBUD supports the bike safety action plan strategies as a positive first step in a broader move by Tampa and Hillsborough County to make this area more bicycle-friendly. It will require putting in shared road markings ("sharrows"), "bicycle-may-take-lane" signs, more paved trails, more bike lanes, education for motorists and bicyclists, a media campaign to create awareness and beefed-up police enforcement.

See the bicycle safety action plan proposals here.

Too many bicyclists have been killed in the Tampa Bay area and we need to take immediate action.

We cannot wait for sharrows and bike lanes to be striped only when roads are re-surfaced. We need Tampa to adopt a specific program that identifies roads and routes used by bicycles, with sharrows, bike lanes and sharrows on those roads.

Thank you to the bicyclists who attended this morning's workshop to speak out.

Jim Shirk, all-around bicycle volunteer and Bicycle-Ped Advisory Committee chairman, told the council members to act now and put the strategies into motion.

Myron told the council members that sharrows and connectivity are important, especially for linking downtown to the USF campus area and linking parks along the Hillsborough River.

Thank you Daniel for telling the council that he supports a police idea of putting pass bicyclists by 3 feet messages on the back of police cars' windows.

Kelly Benjamin, running for the District 6 Council seat, advises the council that safe bicycle infrastructure is part of the quality of life we need in Tampa.

Chip came from Seminole Heights to advise the council that forward-thinking cities embrace bicycling because gas, cars and roads are not endlessly sustainable.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

SWFBUD's Top 10 Reasons To Ride A Bicycle

The Tampa City Council is having a workshop on bicycling in response to the bicyclist deaths in Tampa and the Bay area. It's 9 am at the council chambers at city hall on Kennedy Ave in downtown Tampa.

I hope you can attend to advise the council members to devote more attention, resources and awareness campaigns to bicycling. Also, feel free to offer any of the points I have included in my SWFBUD Top 10 Reasons To Ride A Bicycle In Tampa. Or email them:

Thomas Scott
Mary Mulhern
Charlie Miranda
Joe Caetano
Curtis Stokes
Gwen Miller
Yvonne Yolie Capin


1. Bicycles are vehicles. People who ride bicycles have an equal right to the public roadway.

2. Bicycles are economic development. Bicyclists pedal to local businesses to buy stuff and eat meals. Bicycle stores also contribute thousands of dollars in sales tax and other taxes to government.

3. Bicycles are tourism. The number one question from tourists visiting Florida's tourism web site is where can they safely ride a bicycle.

4. Bicycles are community. Bicycle rides link neigborhoods, parks and rivers. Bicycles make connections.

5. Bicycles are healthy. Riding a bike will sharpen your senses and keep you fit.

6. Bicycles are transportation. Bicyclists often arrive at work in cities father than motorists. It's cheaper, too.

7. Bicycles are free parking. Just show up where you need to go and lock up your bicycle -- or take your bike inside, if possible. No need to build parking garages and take up street space.

8. Bicycle infrastructure is cheaper. Shared road markings, bike lanes, paved trails etc. are pennies on the dollar compared to roads built for motorists.

9. Bicycles are transit network. Ride you bike to a bus and take the bus. In cities with light rail, trains and subways, you can use you bicycle as a link in the transit network.

10. Bicycles make cities flourish and are part of an overall quality of life that attracts businesses, high-paying jobs and professionals.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

SWFBUD Meets All 5 Tampa Mayoral Candidates Tonight

SWFBUD has interviewed all five Tampa mayoral candidates to find out their positions regarding bicycling.

But tonight was the first time that SWFBUD was able to see all five together at a mayoral and council candidates forum in Seminole Heights. SWFBUD took the opportunity to meet all five again and took photos of all of them.

Here are the mayoral candidates and their positions regarding bicycling based on my previous interviews with them regarding bicycling. The mayors are listed in order of their five-minute talks at the Seminole Heights Garden Center.

Bob Buckhorn

Buckhorn's bicycle views.

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Thomas Scott

Scott's bicycle views.

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Ed Turanchik

Turanchik's bicycle views.

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Rose Ferlita

Ferlita's bicycle views.

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Dick Greco

Greco's bicycle views.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

SWFBUD Unveils A New Bicycle Safety Poster

Thank you Tanja for creating this bicycle safety flier.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Hillsborough County's Draft Strategies To Reduce Car-Bicycle Crashes

The Hillsborough County bicycle safety action plan is being crafted. The draft strategies to reduce the tragic bicycle deaths that have plagued metro Tampa Bay and the high number of cars hitting bicyclists are available here.

And for more background on the bicycle safety action plan draft strategies, check out info on workshops here.

SWFBUD contacted Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe about the high number of bicyclist deaths and Sharpe prompted his fellow county commissioners in October 2010 to initiate this bicycle safety action plan.

* * *

I used to live in Utica, NY (through a winter, in fact) and Bicycle Stories reader Jerry sends a link to a local newspaper story regarding a 50-year-old man on his bicycle who was killed by a pickup truck driver outside Utica on a rural road.

Check out the story here and tell me what you think of the police officer's quote at the end. It seems yet another example of police blaming a bicyclist for, I guess, just being there.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

SWFBUD Likes These Signs

Because so many roads in the metro Tampa area are narrow and sub-standard width for both a bicyclist and car to be in the same lane, especially with a vehicle coming in the opposite direction, I strongly advise local governments in the Tampa Bay area to install these signs.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Kelly Benjamin, A Tampa City Council Candidate For District 6, Voices Support For Bicycling In Tampa

Kelly Benjamin, who is running for a District 6 city council seat, contacted me to commit his support for bicycling.

Here is Kelly's comments:

"I grew up in Tampa risking my life riding my bike. I remember when HARTLINE first started the bikes on buses program and I eagerly waited in line to purchase my bike pass. During college, I mastered the art of defensive riding as I made the commute from my home in Ybor City to USF and back through suitcase city, Sulphur Springs, Seminole and Tampa Heights. I know bike riding in this city. I still ride my bike daily throughout the Heights.

"After the 6th bicycling death on Tampa Bay's roads I suggested to Josh Holton and Ryan Iacovacci that we hold a memorial ride that morphed into the "Ride to Honor the Fallen." I actively promoted the ride, brought numerous people to it, and took part in the ride! I didn't see any other City Council candidates there.

"Furthermore, I've traveled and lived in cities that have incredible bike cultures: Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Portland, Austin, San Fransisco, and Detroit (yes, as the Motor City has been depopulated, biking on it's empty streets has become more popular than ever). I understand the great need for the recognition of bicycling as an alternative form of transportation in this area and I'm incredibly disappointed that it has taken this many deaths to advance the issue in the public consciousness. Have no doubt, I will be a staunch advocate for bicycling and bike lanes on the Tampa City Council."