Thursday, November 5, 2009

Let's Be Vigilant About Bicycle Safety

Tim Butts, president of the St. Petersburg Bicycle Club, sent out an email regarding a recent rash of bike crashes. It was a call for safety -- and taking a vigilant attitude about being safe out there is welcomed. Here is Tim's message:

There have been many accidents over the last two weeks, both in the SPBC rides and outside the club rides.

1) On Saturday, October 24, a motorist side-swiped a single rider in front of the Vinoy Golf Course Club House;

2) That same morning, two riders in the 22 S ride were seriously injured while the group was turning into Coquina Key;

3) On Thursday, October 29, as the USF ride was returning from Ft. Desoto, a motorist “left hooked” them at the entrance to Eckerd College, injuring two cyclists;

4) On Saturday, October 31, on the straight portion of 4th Street south of 45th Avenue a single rider went down in the 24 S ride after a disruption in the flow of the group; and

5) That same morning, a very experienced cyclist went down in the USF ride at Ft. Desoto after touching wheels with another cyclist.

These accidents where all different from each other. They involved group rides, single riders, automobiles, and experienced riders. It is not clear to me that inexperienced or careless riders were involved, although they may have been, or that the size of the group played a critical role.

Accidents happen; even the pros have accidents frequently. That being said we cannot just throw-up our hands (figuratively) and carry our health insurance cards. We – everyone who rides a bicycle with the Club – need to be as safe as possible.

Safety begins with Information, knowing and following group riding guidelines and obeying traffic laws. Second, be alert and pay attention at all times, and ride in a predictable manner. I have attached Group Riding Guidelines and a review of Florida Bicycling laws. Please review these. If you have been riding since birth or just started last week I want you to read and understand those documents before next Saturday’s Club ride.

The SPBC will continue to explore ways to make the rides as safe as possible, but, honestly, our attempts so far I have not been fully supported by the membership. Although there was much discussion and verbal support about the “Ride Captain” program, the number of people who volunteered to actually wear a green armband was vanishingly small. Similarly, the ride announcer’s efforts to reduce the group sizes have met with similar success.

Safety is up to all of us, but especially you.

Tim Butts
President SPBC

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