In the midst of social distancing, I wish to share a reminder to all reading this of the importance to pay attention and exercise caution when traveling.
I received some sad news from Mickey Thomason, Manager of the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway (both the paved section and the off-road natural surface trails of Santos). Mickey is the 2014 recipient of our Trail Manager award and over the years, a person I respect and admire for being who he is and for the job he does. His news regarding recent motor vehicle/bicycle crashes hit me quite hard; it wasn’t just the reporting of the crashes, it was his genuine concern that the crashes happened and his plea for help to prevent future crashes.
According to the police reports, cyclists are not stopping at road crossings, when instructed to do so, on both the paved and natural surface trails. The results: one cycling fatality and one cyclist with injuries. The fatality involved a cyclist that did not stop or slow down at the intersection (cycling witnesses on the paved trail confirm this and are listed on the police report); the injured cyclist, in a separate incidence, is reported to have attempted to ‘beat’ the motor vehicle in order to cross the intersection.
If not familiar with the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway, it is a Florida Department of Environmental Protection property, a wooded area spanning 110 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to the St. Johns River. There is a highly noticeable land bridge over Interstate 75 near Ocala that has both paved and natural surface trails using the bridge.
I pass under this bridge on I-75 when driving from Oldsmar to the Santos trail head head to go for a ride. There’s a section of CR 475 I also utilize on my way to the trail head; a two-way road (no shoulders) that travels through the DEP property and crosses the Greenway. There’s not much line-of-sight when approaching trail crossings due to the wooded nature.
I can’t imagine being a police officer having to investigate these types of crashes, nor can I imagine being the motorist who could not avoid the crash. I also can’t imagine being in Mickey’s shoes – to oversee a facility that is otherwise for the enjoyment of its users, not their detriment – but I did feel the pain in his plea for help to prevent these crashes. I know this pain all too well.
What I can imagine is being more attentive to how I drive and ride. I can pace myself to stop at intersections when there’s a stop sign or traffic signal instructing to do so. I imagine these precious seconds will save my life.
I imagine the same for you. Please pace yourself when traveling.
Do you enjoy bicycle stories? Our quarterly Messenger newsletter is available online for your internet reading pleasure, just visit the FBA website Home page . Want a hard copy of our Messenger? FBA members have the Messenger delivered to their door every quarter. Join Florida Bicycle Association or visit one of our bicycle shop members to pick up a copy and use the membership form inside to join!