Sunday, April 29, 2012

Heal Fast Tim -- Anyone Know Where A Bicycle Can Be X-rayed For Damage?

SWFBUD sends quick healing thoughts to Tim Bustos, the executive director of the Florida Bicycle Association, who was biking recently when he was struck by a sheriff's deputy who ran a stop sign.

Tim, a veteran bicyclist, took evasive action to minimize his injuries. Tim also is concerned about his vintage Trek road bicycle that has an aluminum frame. Tim said he was told hairline cracks not visible to the naked eye could be a hazard resulting in frame failure.

Tim is looking to see if there are any bike shops or other sources that can x-ray his bicycle for damage. Contact Tim at

FBA Reports Some Wins In Tally

Timothy Bustos, the new executive director of the Florida Bicycle Association, has some good news out of Tally.

"I reported our potential wins right after the legislative session ended, but it's now official - the Governor has signed our bill:

CS/CS/HB 1223 — Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
The bill contains numerous changes to highway safety and motor vehicle laws administered by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. This is a very long bill with many sections. However, the important verbiage that affects cycling includes the sections below. Specifically, from the perspective of cycling in Florida, the most significant change is clarification in the “mandatory bike lane law” that explicitly spells out when we can leave the bike lane:

“Clarifies situations in which a bicyclist is not required to ride in the marked bicycle lane (if the roadway is marked for bicycle use) or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway. The bill clarifies that a bicyclist is exempt from this requirement when a “potential conflict” or a turn lane interrupts the roadway or bicycle lane.

Other sections that affect cycling include the following:

  Effective October 1, 2012, requires compliance with the federal safety standard for bicycle helmets contained in 16 C.F.R., part 1203. Helmets purchased prior to October 1, 2012, in compliance with the existing statutory standards may continue to be worn legally by riders or passengers until January 1, 2016.
 Allows law enforcement officers to issue bicycle safety brochures and verbal warnings to bicycle riders and passengers who violate bicycle lighting equipment standards in lieu of issuing a citation.

Tim says, "These are all great wins for cycling in Florida, and are a direct result of FBA’s influence in Tallahassee. Everyone involved should be commended, particularly members of the legislative committee, and our lobbyists with Capital Alliance. Additionally, I think this signals a turn-around with our lobbying efforts, so expect good things in the future!"

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

SWFBUD's J. Steele Olmstead Presents $2,000 To Tampa Police For Share The Road It's The Law Decals

SWFBUD was happy to arrange a check presentation ceremony this afternoon to Tampa Police in the amount of $2,000 courtesy of SWFBUD lawyer J. Steele Olmstead. The money will be used to affix rear window decals to another 100 Tampa police cruisers that will sayd
 "Share the Road It's the Law" and also show motorists they need to pass a bicyclist by a minimum distance of three feet. The decal is pictured below. J. Steele and I pose with the check with Tampa officer Irene Thomas, who arranged today's ceremony, while Chief Jane Castor and Mayor Bob Buckhorn are pictured below.  

SWFBUD Member J. Steele Olmstead Donates $2,000 To Tampa Police For More Share the Road It's the Law Decals For Tampa Police Cruisers

TAMPA -- SWFBUD (South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers), the alliance of Tampa Bay retail bicycle stores and bicycle lawyers committed to growing bicycling in Tampa Bay, is proud to announce that SWFBUD member lawyer J. Steele Olmstead is donating $2,000 to the Tampa Police Department for more "Share the Road It's the Law" decals on the police cars' rear windows.

Last year, Tampa Police began using the Share the Road It's the Law decals, which extend across the width of the police cruisers' rear window. The decals also show that motorists must pass a bicyclist by a minimum distance of three feet in compliance with state law.

With the $2,000 donation, Tampa Police will be able to buy even more Share the Road window decals. SWFBUD has worked with Tampa Police Sgt. Carl GiGuere to arrange the donation by Mr. Olmstead to Tampa Police.

J. Steele Olmstead, a Tampa lawyer and bicyclist who has been a SWFBUD member for the past two years, will make the donation to Tampa Police today at 3 PM at Police Headquarters in downtown Tampa. SWFBUD has identified bicyclist safety as a major safety issue because eight bicyclists in Hillsborough County have been killed since last December.

Olmstead said that the Share the Road It's the Law message is vital for motorists, who might not understand that bicyclists have a right to public roads. In addition, Olmstead said most motorists do not understand that they are also required to pass a bicyclist by a minimum distance of three feet. Olmstead said he's pleased that the Share the Road message will be backed by the authority of Tampa Police on cruisers across the city.

Olmstead will present his contribution to Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn at the check presentation ceremony this afternoon.

"SWFBUD appreciates the Tampa Police Department's efforts to make the city more bicycle-friendly," said Alan Snel, SWFBUD director. "The Share the Road It's the Law decals on Tampa Police cars are a combination of education and law enforcement coming together for the betterment of both bicyclists and motorists."

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012

SWFBUD Says Great Job To The Bicyclists Who Stepped Up This Weekend

SWFBUD says great job to all the MS bicyclists to raised thousands of dollars for a wonderful cause this weekend.

SWFBUD says great job to the bicyclists in St. Petersburg who held a moving ghost bike ceremony Saturday to remember bicyclist Kris Jones, killed while biking in a bike lane by a driver on drugs last week.

SWFBUD says great job to the bicyclists who came by today's swap meet in Seminole Heights.

Swap Meet in Seminole Heights Is ON -- 11am-3pm

Bicycle Swap Meet in Seminole Heights is ON for 11am-3pm today. It's at Sherry's YesterDaze at 5207 N. Florida Avenue just south of Hillsborough Avenue.

For the uninitiated, people do not trade bicycles at a swap meet. A swap meet is like a big yard sale where people set up tables and sell used bikes and bicycle parts, gear, equipment and clothing.

If you plan to be a vendor or sell anything, there is a $10 fee. Vendors can drive into Sherry's YesterDaze parking lot from the side street, unload, park and then return to set up.

Happy Earth Day everyone!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Save The Friendship TrailBridge

SWFBUD has joined a core group of people to craft a business plan to show the Hillsborough County Commissioners that the TrailBridge is worth saving. It has been closed for 3 1/2 years and was scheduled to be destroyed, but the Commissioners have given the group until May 16 to come up with a business plan to show the economic feasibility of keeping it. The effort will likely include creating a non-profit group and a public-private partnership with Hillsborough County. Check out to get involved.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

SWFBUD Involved In Trying To Save The Friendship TrailBridge

Please get involved in saving the Friendship TrailBridge, the 2.6-mile old Gandy Bridge that connects Tam,pa and St. Petersburg. A core group of people are working on a business plan to show the economic feasibility of keeping the TrailBridge alive. It has been closed for the past 3 1/2 years for structural problems. The group will make its pitch at a Hillsborough County Commission meeting on May 16.

^ ^ ^

A killer motorist who killed a bicyclisr in a bike lane in St. Petersburg Saturday was charged today with DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide. Read about the driver who killed the 40-year-old bicyclist in this Tampa Bay Times story.

And the deadly roads of Tampa Bay claimed another bicyclist Tuesday. This time. a motorist killed a bicyclist in Plant City.

* * *

SWFBUD mourns the death of Bill Sharpe, editor of the South Tampa Comunity News. Bill supported bicycling in Tampa and SWFBUD wrote bike stories for his newspaper to advocate for more bike infrastructure.

If Bill was still around, he would be offering me space to write a story on a core group of people -- SWFBUD included -- that are working on a business plan to save the Friendship TrailBridge. The Hillsborough County wants to demolish and destroy the bridge, but SWFBUD along with others believe there is a way to repair the parts of the bridge that need to be mended while also forming a non-profit fund-raising group to keep the bridge alive. I'll be writing that story and sending it in. I'm sorry Bill you won't be here to see it, but we will carry on in your memory.

Donations may be made to the Bill Sharpe Memorial Trust at any Bank of Tampa branch to keep the Epoch newspaper alive. Bill died April 2.Tampa Bay Times story.

* * *

Why does SWFBUD want more bike lanes and bike trails? Because more people ride bicycles when there are place for them to bike.

Study says that if governments build more bicycle infrastructure more people will bike-commute.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Motorist Kills Bicyclist In St. Petersburg Saturday

SWFBUD was saddened to hear about a motorist who drove into a bike lane and killed a bicyclist in St. Petersburg on Saturday. Read the Times story here. The usual "bicyclists shouldn't be on the road" comments follow the story.

Our local DOT district office in Tampa Bay hired an ad agency from Ybor City to show that bicyclists are to be blamed for causing car-bicycle crashes. Unfortunately, the DOT doesn't seem to acknowledge when drivers are to be blamed when killing bicyclists.

This St. Petersburg killing was a clear case where a motorist killed a bicyclist and should be blamed. SWFBUD supports safety programs teaching bicyclists to safely navigate the roads but where are the campaigns to teach motorists to safely share the roads with bicyclists?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Let's Save The Friendship TrailBridge

One Tampa Bay place that was beloved by all bicyclists from roadies to casual cyclists on cruisers was the Friendship TrailBridge, the old Gandy Bridge used by 600,000 annual users who enjoyed biking the Tampa-St. Petersburg link.

But Hillsborough County closed the bridge because of structural issues and was about to vote last week to demolish the TrailBridge until a core group of people won a 30-day reprieve at last week's meeting to come up with a business plan to show that this Tampa Bay treasure is worth saving.

SWFBUD will be working with this core group of people in the next 22 days to develop a business plan to show the value of saving the TrailBridge.

In the meantime, SWFBUD needs your help. Please send emails and make phone calls to all seven Hillsborough County Commissioners and explain to them why the TrailBridge needs to be saved. Here are their emails and phone numbers:

Commissioner Sandra L. Murman — District 1
Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners, PO Box 1110, District 1
Tampa, FL 33601-1110
Phone: 813-272-5470
Fax: 813-272-7046

Commissioner Victor D. Crist — District 2
Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners • PO Box 1110, District 2
Tampa, FL 33601-1110
Phone: 813-272-5452
Fax: 813-272-7047

Commissioner Lesley "Les" Miller, Jr. — District 3
Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners • PO Box 1110, District 3
Tampa, FL 33601-1110
Phone: 813-272-5720
Fax: 813-272-7048

Commissioner Al Higginbotham — District 4 - Chairman
Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners • PO Box 1110, District 4
Tampa, FL 33601
Phone: 813-272-5740
Fax: 813-272-7049

Commissioner Ken Hagan — District 5 (At-Large) - Chaplain
Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners • PO Box 1110, District 5
Tampa, FL 33601-1110
Phone: 813-272-5725
Fax: 813-272-7052

Commissioner Kevin Beckner — District 6 (At-Large)
Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners • PO Box 1110, District 6
Tampa, FL 33601-1110
Phone: 813-272-5730
Fax: 813-272-7053

Commissioner Mark Sharpe — District 7 (At-Large) - Vice-Chairman
Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners • PO Box 1110, District 7
Tampa, FL 33601-1110
Phone: 813-272-5735
Fax: 813-272-7054

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Save The Friendship TrailBridge -- 6PM Meeting Thursday

Friends, an accelerated campaign has begun to save the Friendship Trail Bridge. For those that don't know, the Friendship Trail Bridge was an old span of the Gandy Bridge that was converted to pedestrian use. Before it was shut down in 2008, the bridge was being used by over 600,000 residents of Hillsborough and Pinellas County per year to run, bike walk, skate and fish.

1. Please come out to the organization meeting this Thursday, 6pm at the
Tampa AIA office at 200 N. Tampa Ave:
2. Attend the County Commission meeting where the Commission will vote on the fate of the bridge - May 2nd at 9 am.
3. Forward this email to at least one friend that might be able to help.

Friday, April 6, 2012

SWFBUDS Likes New Bike Lane On Swann Avenue In Tampa

SWFBUD was happy to see a new bike lane added when there was road re-surfacing on Swann Avenue from South Boulevard to Hyde Park Village in Tampa. How about adding sharrows on Swann west of Hyde Park Village to MacDill and Henderson and Dale Mabry?

SWFBUD Supports Saving The Friendship TrailBridge

Which bridge would you like to bike on? The Gandy Bridge shoulder where cars fly at 60 mph to your left or the Friendship TrailBridge (The old Gandy Bridge) where you bike with runners and roller-bladers?

I thought so -- you want the Friendship TrailBridge to re-open since its closure in November 2008.

The Hillsborough County commissioners were set to vote to hire a company Wednesday to demolish the Friendship TrailBridge, but gave a 30-day reprieve to a small band of residents led by Neil Consentino to see if the group can come up with a business plan and engeineering evidence that the bridge isn't going to collapse.

Contact Neil at 813-251-4669 to get involved. And attend a volunteer meeting — Thursday, April 12 at 6 pm with Shanna Gillette and Neil Cosentino at AIA Tampa Bay.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

SWFBUD Supports Commissioner Sharpe Leading The Way To Fund $3,000 For Lights And Safety Vests

SWFBUD is happy to report that the Hillsborough County Commissioners -- led by Commissioner Mark Sharpe, the bicyclist ally on the commission -- approved spending $3,000 for bike lights and vests for the Guys on Bikes seen biking at night without lights and vests. SWFBUD worked with Commissioner Sharpe to initiate the Bicycle Safety Action Plan in October 2010, though there was never any funding.

The lights will be given to Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies and Tampa police to give to the bicyclists who are pedaling around without reflective safety vests and lights.

Thank you Mitch Perry of Creative Loafing who wrote about the county commission action and is a great reporter when it comes to covering the bicycle issue in Tampa bay.

For more bicyclist news, check out this wrap-up.

Monday, April 2, 2012

SWFBUD Mourns The Death of Bill Sharpe, Community Newspaper Publisher Who Supported Bicycling In Tampa

Today is a heatbreaking day for Tampa.

My heart sank when I read that Bill Sharpe, publisher of the South Tampa Community News, has committed suicide.

Bill also published the Tampa Epoch newspaper, which was sold at city street corners. Bill was a community leader and supporter of bicycling in Tampa. He was 59.

I wrote stories on bicycling for Bill for his South Tampa Community News and I was happy to say that Bill participated in the Bicycle Bash festival.

Bill was a doer. Bill also put on a blues and barbecue festival and a recent seafood festival in downtown Tampa and offered me the use of his newspaper office space for any bicycle events.

Bill was a wonderful friend who attended LatkeFest.

The Tampa Bay area has lost a very decent man and a community leader and I mourn Bill's loss. RIP Bill Sharpe. It is a sad day.

This photo was taken from Bill's blues and bbq event last October.

SWFBUD Runs Bike Valet Parking Service At Home On House Tour

Making the Tampa Bay area more bicycle-friendly comes in many ways. I was happy to offer the bicycle valet service Sunday at the French country cottage of Miss Bridget. whose lovely home was among nine on the 14th Old Seminole Heights Home Tour yesterday.

All-universe bike volunteer Jim Shirk mapped out a bicycle route for cyclists to pedal nearly eight miles to reach the nine Seminole Heights homes on display.

I welcomed about 40 bicyclists throughout the day at Bridget's cottage. Here's Jim in front of the bike parking sign we posted in front of the house.

Bridget wanted to have her home welcoming and friendly to bicyclists and what better way than to have bike valet and a protected bike parking area?

Rick and Nanette were just one of many coupleswho pedaled the home tour.