A tip of the helmet to Maria Luisa Hoover and John Voss, of the Everglades Bicycle Club, for organizing Miami’s edition of last night’s Ride of Silence, honoring cyclists killed or injured by cars. Miami’s organizing task was an extra challenge this year because the usual Rickenbacker Causeway route wasn’t available. Here’s one participant’s record of the cyclists. Note the wide variety of participants. This is not just your racing crowd — which makes the point that cycling is an activity for just about anyone.
We’ve signed up for the National Bike Challenge — and we’d love to have you be part of this friendly competition for prizes and bragging rights among bicyclists all across the land. Already there are 17 Florida teams (325 riders as of 4 p.m. today) planning to log their rides between now and September 30. So, whether you bike to work or work up a sweat with your peloton pals, you can get in on this new level of fun without spending a cent.
The competition is made possible by the League of American Bicyclists and Endomondo, the Danish company whose line includes physical fitness monitors like those that some of you already use. I just downloaded the Blackberry version of the Endomondo app, and there are others for the smartphone in your family. You don’t have to have a smartphone to take part; it’s just an available option.
Oh, you want to know about prizes? Think bicycles. Think riding gear. That kind of stuff. But the main point is the fun. Your click here can start you on your way. .
The Florida House passed an anti-texting bill today after embracing an amendment yesterday that limits how police could use the legislation. Because of the amendment, by Rep. Jose Oliva of Hialeah, the bill must go back to the Senate in the last-week logjam of the 2013 lawmaking session. Rochelle Koff, who has been following the bill for The Miami Herald, wrote earlier that Gov. Rick Scott hasn’t signaled whether he’ll sign the bill into law.
Drivers texting at the wheel are increasingly the subject of complaints by bicyclists and runners, as well as other motorists. And there’s been growing awareness in recent years that driver attention to the road is distracted not only while they’re texting but also when they’re on a cellphone call. The outgoing U.S. secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, campaigned avidly for awareness about distracted driving.
SB 52 provides a relatively small penalty, and because it classifies texting as a secondary offense a driver won’t be charged with it unless a cop has stopped him or her for some larger offense.
With the Oliva amendment the possible law is narrowed further: It states that the authorities may not subpoena a driver’s cellphone record unless the driver was involved in a crash causing death or personal injury. You can imagine this roadside scenario: trooper stops a car for speeding on Bird Road, adds on a charge of texting at the wheel, and the driver denies he was texting. Driver hires a ticket lawyer, goes to court, and because the state can’t show the cellphone record the judge faces a he said-she said dilemma.
This national event promotes healthy bicycling for school children all over the country. What’s planned at your school, or the one where your kids go? If you’d like to get something started, the folks at the National Center for Safe Routes to School have suggestions and resources you can use.
The appropriations bill being wrapped up in the Florida Legislature includes $50 million to complete a 275-mile bikeway from St. Petersburg to Titusville. The money’s for the Coast to Coast Connector, filling seven gaps between several existing trails. Imagine what $50 million could do for the planned Ludlam Trail in Miami’s south suburbs.
Several months ago, when the Office of Greenways and Trails aired its priorities around the state, we asked Jim Wood, who headed the agency at the time, why South Florida had fared so poorly as the state built an impressive series of trails upstate over the past 20 years or so. Each of those existing trails, he pointedly said, has had a local champion — generally an elected official — who led the way to show local authorities and lawmakers the value of the proposal. So the Ludlam needs a champion. Will it be you?
By the way, since Florida has a line-item veto there’s no guarantee the Coast-to-Coast Connector will go through until Gov. Rick Scott signs the bill. The project didn’t appear in the budget he submitted to the Legislature.
This year’s Miami Ride of Silence will start at the Miami Museum of Science (map here) and will avoid the Rickenbacker Causeway altogether. With lane restrictions in place on the Bear Cut Bridge, ride organizers Maria-Luisa De Jesus-Hoover and John Voss, of the Everglades Bicycle Club, plotted a route on Brickell Avenue, Biscayne Boulevard, and the Venetian Causeway.
This memorial ride for lost cyclists happens nationwide and abroad on May 15, and riders of all skill sets are welcome. Assemble in the museum parking at 6:30 and we’ll shove off at 7 p.m. Remember that this is highly accessible from Metrorail or the M-Path, using the bridge at Vizcaya Station to cross U.S. 1. On the ride, cyclists are to confine themselves to the single right lane except when turning left.
To save a reminder for yourself, see our calendar item.
You can look at our future through the eyes of the Florida Department of Transportation. You’re invited to the Future Corridor Webinar on Friday, when potential corridors including that along U.S. 27 from Hialeah to Central Florida will be considered. The hour-long event starts at 10 a.m.; you can register here.
Miami Police request that if you’re taking part in the Corporate Run Miami tomorrow evening, you not bring knapsacks, gym bags, and the like. Just bring what you really need for the walk/run event starting from downtown Bayfront Park. Maps and timetables are provided here to help you out. If it’s available where you are, Metrorail will be the best way in and out of downtown. Just be patient about the crowds. Good luck, everyone!
The Florida Senate adopted legislation today to forbid texting by drivers while their motor vehicles are in motion. The vote on SB 52 was 36-0 and the bill was immediately certified for consideration by the state House.
Thanks to the American Public Health Association for advocating for walking and bicycling during its annual National Public Health Week this month. Some of the important national data they shared:
- In 2010, more than 4,200 pedestrians died in traffic crashes — a 4 percent increase from 2009.That same year about 70,000 pedestrians were injured in traffic crashes.
- More than 600 bicyclists died in motor vehicle crashes in 2010 and 52,000 were injured.
- More than 15 people are killed every day in the U.S. and more than 1,200 are injured in crashes involving a distracted driver.
You can learn more and join their efforts at their website.