I am a bicyclist and I vote.
And here in Tampa, I am happy to lend my support to those mayoral and city council candidates who have pledged to make Tampa a more bicycle-friendly city -- espcially in light of the string of tragic bicyclist deaths on the roads in the metro Tampa area.
One of those candidates is Tampa Councilwoman Mary Mulhern, running for re-election for her District 2 citywide seat.
In October, I asked the Tampa City Council to join the Hillsborough County Commission in initiating a bicycle safety action plan in the aftermath of the bicyclist deaths that have scarred metro Tampa.
Mary asserted her leadership on this issue and got the council on board for the bike safety plan. Mary has also pledged her support for making the city of Tampa more friendly for bicyclists and pedestrians and understands the value of a city that is safe and appealing for bicyclists.
That's why I'm proud to co-host a fund-raiser for Mary on Sunday Jan. 23 at the home of Wes and Faye Miller at 7310 Park Dr., Tampa 33610. RSVP at 813-253-8803 or 813-223-1948 Wes and Faye are terrific friends and have a gorgeous, park-like back yard that is worth a visit by itself. Wes and Faye are also active members of the Seminole Heights Bicycle Club.
For too long, bicyclists have shied away from politics. But improving roads and bicycle facilities don't happen by magic -- they are realized when we support candidates who will make bicycling a priority.
Five years ago when I began lobbying local goverments to improve bicycling, the city of Tampa public works director told me point-blank that bicycling improvements are not a priority. You can see what that policy has gotten us.
I urge you to not only vote for candidates who will support bicycling but help them get elected.
One other candidate I'm helping is Tampa city council candidate Jason Wilson, running for the District 3 citywide seat.
Jason is a Tampa General Hospital emergency room doctor who contacted me with sensible and realistic bicycle improvements, from installing more shared road markings called sharrows such as those on Euclid Avenue to beefing up motorist and bicyclist education.
Jason is having a cool bicycle and paddle fundraiser from The Heights in February and I will be furnishing more information on that event when the details are finalized.
And council candidate Kelly Benjamin is running for a seat representing District 6. Kelly is also a strong bicycle supporter and I believe he will support bicycling if elected.