Bicycle travel has many advantages over motor vehicle transportation. One of the drawbacks, however, is the potential for a deadly collision with a car or truck. Florida cyclists have long called for greater attention to the rights and desires of riders. A national bike safety summit was held recently at the Tampa Convention Center to give greater exposure to the important message of improving conditions for cyclists. The summit was attended by Florida lawmakers, dedicated bicyclists, casual riders, safety experts and the U.S. Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood. It is hoped that the summit will spark further progress in reducing bicycle accidents and in making Florida a more bike-friendly place.
The Tampa area has a poor reputation for bicycle safety. Despite safety challenges, the biking community is expanding. With gas prices significantly higher than just a few years ago, that is a trend that may continue for the foreseeable future. Safety changes made now could pay massive dividends down the line.
Change can come in several areas. Clearly designated bike lanes can be constructed making it easier for bikers to travel safely through congested areas. The city is planning on instituting a bike share program around downtown to encourage more people to try two-wheeled transportation. Finally, drivers need improved education so that everyone understands the way to coexist safely with bicycles.
The majority of fatal bike/car interactions are the result of negligent automobile drivers. Regardless, it is important for all parties sharing the road to do what they can to make driving and riding safer. Both groups stand to benefit from transportation safety initiatives.
Source: Tampa Bay Times, “Tampa bike safety summit features U.S. transportation chief,” by Erin Sullivan, 11 April 2013