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Video will help market bike safety on the islands

January 21, 2015
By CRAIG GARRETT (cgarrett@breezenewspapers.com) , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Again, technology is making life a bit easier.

And safer.

A short film to assist bike riders and others using Sanibel's shared paths and roadways should be released in March. The instructional video will explain the rules and courtesies of sharing bike/pedestrian paths. The film will be placed on YouTube, but certainly populate thousands of social media, community and group websites, including the city of Sanibel and county tourism agencies. TradeMarky Films in Sanibel will shoot the 6-9 minute video that should begin filming in early February.

Occasional injuries, right-of-way misunderstandings, more people using pathways in Sanibel and Captiva, other factors are causing locals to fund the short film, to protect what's considered one of the centerpieces of the islands, supporters said. Sanibel has some 25 miles of shared-use pathways and was recently recognized as top-tier bike friendly community by the League of American Bicyclists.

Funding the instructional video comes from the city, a grant from county tourism agencies, bike rental merchants, the local chamber and the Sanibel Bicycle Club, the lead group in the effort, said Patti Sousa, the club's vice president. Total budget for the film is about $23,000.

"It's a really exciting project," said Sousa, noting that social media, video and other technology infuse and educate visitors to vacation, travel and chamber websites. The Sanibel captive chamber website alone captures thousands of inquiries and tips.

Fact Box

What cyclists need to know before they visit:

Sanibel's path is a "shared-use" facility, which means pedestrians, skaters and skateboarders, moms with strollers, pets on leashes, and the occasional wheelchair, as well as other bicycles. On the path, cyclists are required to yield to these other users. So while Sanibel's path system is a great way to get around the island, it not a great place to train for the Tour de France or the next triathlon.

During the winter high season, there are lots of people using the path. Visitors come in groups, so it is not uncommon to come up behind a cluster of people blocking the path as they discuss where to have lunch or figure out directions.

Cyclists need to pay close attention to avoid mishaps, especially in the central business area. Nevertheless, cyclists who are patient and courteous to others will find the shared-use path a great resource for recreational cycling and for getting around the island.

Brush up on the basic rules for safe cycling, which are even more important when riding on busy pathways. This is particularly true for young children, or for those who have not been on a bike since the Nixon administration and whose cycling skills may be a bit rusty.

Basic safety:

Wear a bike helmet. It's required by law for those 15 and under, but a smart practice for anyone riding a bike to avoid head injury.

Use lights when riding at night. Visitors often forget that while it may be daylight when they head out for dinner, it may be dark when they finish. It is very dangerous to ride in the dark, and state law requires a headlight and taillight for bikes riding at night.

Don't use earphones while riding. These can interfere with hearing what's around you, and are also banned by state law.

Texting and using a cell phone while riding are also bad ideas.

Ride on the right, pass on the left, and give audible notice when passing. State law requires that warning be given with a bell, horn or verbal communication.

When riding with others, try to stay in single file and leave room for those traveling in the opposite direction.

Signal your stops and turns with hand signals. And pull off the path when stopped to allow others to get by.

Obey stop signs and other traffic markings. They are there for your protection.

Sanibel has no traffic lights, but it does have traffic control officers at major intersections during busy times of the day. When on duty, these officers control both road traffic and path traffic, so bikes need to follow their directions.

All path users including cyclists are encouraged to use marked crosswalks if possible when crossing busy roads.

As it winds around the island, the path crosses many driveways and side streets where cars cross the path. In these situations, cyclists on the path need to watch carefully for cross-traffic.

Sanibel Bicycle Club:

Promote the enjoyment of bicycling for recreation, transportation and health; advocate for improvement of the safety and infrastructure of Sanibel's shared-use path system; and provide an opportunity for bicycle enthusiasts to socialize together.

Growth in organization's membership and/or public participation

started at about 135, has been as high as 300 and in March 2012 total membership was 257. Dues initially were $15 for a single and $20 for a family; current dues are $20 for a single and $25 for a family.

Since 2002, the Club has conducted an annual Path Clean-up of the entire path system with trash and recyclable materials separated. In addition, working with the Public Works Department, annual surveys of the condition of the path were conducted and areas to be repaired were identified. For many years Club members were recruited to assist the City by painting the path surfaces with yellow lines and the words "keep right, pass left" for enhanced safety.

The Club sponsors a Jan. 23 safety workshop at the Center 4 Life. The event includes Sanibel police Lt. Bill Dalton with a question/answer session. It starts at 1:30 p.m.

Source: Sanibel Bicycle Club

Sousa expects that the short film will be instructional, but offer enough swagger to make it glide, something lacking in many instructional films.

"We're hoping the new medium will remind (path users) of the Rules of Road," she said.

 
 

 

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