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Posted by on Jul 1, 2014 in FBA | 0 comments

FBA Moving Forward

Today the Florida Bicycle Association leadership torch will start its move to the Tampa Bay area.  As the interim Executive Director, I embrace the challenge and aim to honor those who have served before me.

I am a native Floridian and have lived in the Tampa Bay area for all of one year (spent in Wisconsin as the Assistant Tour Director of Bike Wisconsin) on the Pinellas side, the most densely populated county in the state.  I have commuted by bicycle since grade school.  I continue to commute by bicycle today, adjusting for the changing conditions.  Have we all not been witness to changing conditions?

T520FredHoward

My current commute, a Trek 520 or “T520”, as I refer to it

A little over a year ago, Tampa hosted one of two US Department of Transportation Bicycle Safety Summits, and then resigning US Secretary, Ray LaHood, made the following statement:

“We need to develop zero tolerance for people who don’t respect cyclists.  That’s the campaign we’re kicking off today.”  LaHood continued, “Another simple thing, we need to make sure people driving here have respect for bicyclists. Bicyclists have as much right to the road as they do.  If someone is not respectful of cyclists, there’s a penalty,” he said. “That’s it in a nutshell.”

The secretary conceded that improving conditions for bicyclists will not happen overnight, but he made a promise to the more than 200 planners, advocates and bicycle professionals in the audience that U.S. DOT “will not stop until the number of bicyclists killed on our roads is zero.”  This was the report by Kathryn Reid Moore via StreetsBlog USA web site.  I myself was there; I remember it well.  In fact, the secretary carried the concept further by stating to the affect that the transportation culture had to change.

It was a moving speech, pun intended.  And within one year Florida has been witness to changing conditions.  First, the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act is now law.  As reported by Tim Bustos in a previous FBA blog, this law will go a long way towards helping to reduce the incidence of all hit and run crashes of all types.  However, what’s significant is that there will now be enhanced penalties for leaving the scene of a crash involving bicyclists and pedestrians.

Another victory for Florida bicyclists is the funding of the Coast-to-Coast Connector Trail.  YEA!!  Sharing in the excitement and victory dance, FBA board member Chris Burns proclaimed,

DUE TO HARD WORK BY THE FBA, THE LEGISLATURE AND GOVERNOR HAVE APPROVED THE DEVELOPMENT AND CONSTRUCTION OF THE LONGEST PAVED BICYCLE TRAIL IN THE WHOLE UNITED STATES – 275 MILES.  This will surpass the second longest U.S. trail by more than 50 miles.  When it comes to bikes, FLORIDA RANKS FIRST IN SOMETHING IMPORTANT!!!”

Yes, Chris is that passionate.  Speaking of passion, stay tuned to our blog in August for reports of a unique cycling experience incorporating SunRail and the St. Johns River to Sea Loop Trail, taken by two former FBA executive directors and two former FBA board presidents.

Cycling conditions are changing and it is my personal hope that the transportation culture shifts to respect not only cyclists, but to respect all road users.   Let’s respect each other for the mere fact of being human and that each of us has the same desire – to get from A to B safely.  No matter where or what you ride, let’s ride together.

Our work at the Florida Bicycle Association requires valuable and critical expenses, such as paid lobbyists in Tallahassee and the development and distribution of important cycling education materials and publications.  Help us to help you:

SUPPORT THE CAUSE.  EDUCATE LAW ENFORCEMENT AND GOVERNMENT ABOUT CYCLING NEEDS.  MAKE FLORIDA SAFER FOR CYCLISTS AND ALL ROAD USERS.  MOVE FLORIDA FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE LIST OF MOST DANGEROUS STATES IN THE U.S. FOR BICYCLING TO THE TOP OF BEST PLACES TO RIDE.  DONATE OR JOIN FBA TODAY AND DO YOUR PART TO ADVOCATE AND EDUCATE FOR EXCELLENCE IN FLORIDA BICYCLING.  CLICK HERE FOR DIRECT LINK TO BECOME A MEMBER!

There is safety in numbers, LET’S RIDE TOGETHER!  BE A MEMBER OF FBA!

selfportrait

Interim Executive Director Becky Afonso enjoying a ride on the Oldsmar Trail

Don’t be a stranger!  Contact Becky Afonso at becky@floridabicycle.org

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