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Author Topic: Letter to City Council and Hillsborough Commissioners about bike fatalities  (Read 931 times)

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Offline Slowjenfizz

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Posted by Alan Snel under his blog:

A Powerful Letter In the Aftermath Of Another Tampa-area Bicyclist Fatalityfrom Alan Snel's Bicycle Stories and Other Misadventures on the Road of Life by SWFBUDA powerful letter in light of the recent bicyclist death on Fletcher Avenue in the Tampa area. I was proud to sign it:

Dear Tampa City Council & Hillsborough County Commissioners:

Another   Tampa-area cyclist is dead. Yet another valuable and productive life   ends with a painfully simple roadside memorial that reads “motorists –   stop killing bicyclists”.  The reckless driver that hit the cyclist –   who was not doing anything wrong – hasn’t been charged with anything and   is, as far as I know, still out there behind the wheel of a car today.

After   a spate of fatal crashes last fall, we joined the chorus of concerned   cyclists and wrote to Tampa City Council and the Hillsborough County   Commissioners to ask for a meaningful response and a serious action plan   to cut this appalling death toll. The first draft of that plan was   presented last month and there are three more scheduled in the next   couple of weeks to discuss the latest version. There’s lots of   worthwhile activity in the plan – education for cyclists, rodeos for   kids and recommendations for more bike lanes and complete streets. We   need all those things for sure, but are these enough?

While   looking for details of the most recent fatality, we saw story after   story about pedestrians getting hit and killed, other cyclists getting   hit and killed, drivers veering off the road and killing themselves, or   smashing into other traffic and killing people in those other cars – and   that’s all in the last couple of months. Another cyclist was badly   injured in St. Petersburg yesterday. Folks, we have a problem here.   We’ve read about the pedestrian safety grants that have gotten area   police more resources to teach pedestrian safety and ticket jaywalkers,   grants to build more sidewalks and crosswalks – again, all good things   to do, but surely missing the stark, huge, and very inconvenient truth.   We need to do something, and quickly, to stop careless, reckless,   distracted, and downright dangerous DRIVERS, because they – you – are   killing Tampa-area people in frightening numbers.

Traffic   safety, or lack of it, dramatically cuts into everyone’s quality of life   and literally chases cyclists and pedestrians off the streets. People   on foot and on bikes are, like it or not, the indicator species of a   vibrant and healthy community. Think about the places you like to go –   most of them are filled with people you can watch, meet, and interact   with. So this issue is about bikes, but it’s so much bigger than that.

And   that’s why the solution has to be so much more than educating   bicyclists and ticketing errant pedestrians. It’s time to demand more   from drivers; to hold drivers accountable for their actions. In the   majority of the recent fatal bike crashes, the cyclists were riding   properly – they were riding where they should be, visible, following the   rules, doing everything right. Diane Vega was killed standing on the   sidewalk with her bike, for goodness sake. The drivers were not doing   what they should be doing. They were distracted, impaired – and most   recently, simply recklessly speeding (possibly racing) down the street.   Those drivers are still out on the roads today, still driving. That’s   not good for any of us – but we tolerate it and we don’t do anything to   stop it.

Next week, we need cyclists and pedestrians – and   anyone who isn’t prepared to tolerate this mayhem any more – to show up   in support of the Bicycle Safety Action Plan. We also need them to say   that isn’t enough. We need an immediate response from law enforcement   and the court system to demonstrate very clearly that dangerous driving   won’t be tolerated. That speeding through neighborhoods, running red   lights, driving drunk, texting and talking on the phone while driving,   and “failing to see” cyclists and pedestrians simply aren’t acceptable   anymore; the price in human life is just too high. Cyclists and   pedestrians aren’t perfect by any means, we know that. We’re committed   to educating cyclists to follow the rules of the road in everything we   do…but the harsh reality is that errant cyclists rarely harm anyone but   themselves. Out-of-control motorists harm everyone in the community.

Andy Clarke, President, League of American Bicyclists, Washington D.C.

Alan Snel, Director, Tampa-based South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers

Dan Moser, Interim Executive Director, Florida Bicycle Association

John "Jay" F. Anderson, II, TSP, Executive Director, Stay Alive .... Just Drive!, Inc.