Saturday, May 20, 2017
Escape From Florida
Dear Rick Scott,
I'm leaving your state.
There are several reasons.
Chief among them: your state is a killer state for bicyclists.
Florida has the highest number of bicyclist deaths in the U.S. and you don't care. You have showed no political leadership to try and reduce that number and the fact is you and the political leaders just don't care enough to do anything about keeping bicyclists alive in your state. A former state legislator who is the ex-mayor of Kissimmee, Frank Attkisson, even was killed while riding a bicycle in St. Cloud in early April and the state Legislature was not moved to toughen the penalties for drivers who kill bicyclists.
On March 7, I nearly joined the long list of bicyclists killed by motorists in Florida.
But I survived, and for that I am grateful.
I survived a motorist who smashed into me from behind (he claimed he never saw me) while I pedaled in north St. Lucie County outside Fort Pierce.
And with that memory in mind, I rode a memorial bike ride called the Ride of Silence Saturday in Vero Beach. Many towns around the world held similar bike rides Wednesday to draw attention to and memorialize the lives of bicyclists snuffed out by people who drive motorized vehicles.
Here in Vero Beach, about half way between Orlando and South Florida on the Atlantic coast, I joined 50 other bicyclists to remember those who have lost their lives in Vero Beach and Indian River County.
The local bike club has a large membership for a relatively small city such as Vero Beach (population 16,000). And an advocacy group called Bike Walk Indian River County lobbies county officials to improve road conditions for bicyclists.
It's an impressive display of sweat equity to lean on local officials to make it safer for bicyclists.
But Rick Scott and his Department of Cars are good at lip service about bicycling but don't deliver the goods.
Florida treats the high number of bicyclist deaths as collateral damage of a modern road society, just business as usual in the sandbar state.
Bye Florida. Happiness is getting out of your state alive.