To the Editor:
The weather in South Florida, as we all know, is awesome! It is a perfect place for people to walk, run, ride a bicycle, and enjoy the outdoors. The Village of Palmetto Bay is a great place to do these things.
One thing that I have been noticing more and more is the bicyclists. We now “share the road” with bicyclists, and on weekends the streets are full of people riding.
One of the places my wife and I love to walk is along SW 72nd Avenue between 152th Street and 168th Street, along the Deering Estate. Most of the road is closed to cars, and the trees provide plenty of shade.
I would like to make a friendly suggestion to the bicyclists, via this letter, that they remember that they are not the only people sharing the road. I sometimes get the feeling that the bicyclists forget that there are other people around them.
While walking or driving our cars, we hear so many messages in regard to watching out for bicyclists, and we hear quite a bit about sharing the road. Yet, it seems that some of the bicyclists don’t seem to play by the same rules when there are others on the road. Week after week, many of the bicyclists ride by pedestrians at high speeds, and come so close to us while we are walking, that it is scary at times. There is more than enough room on the roads for bicyclist to safely pass pedestrians, but for some reason they seem to want to get as close as possible. I am not sure of the reason behind the bicycle riders seeming to need to ride within a foot of people walking, but no matter what the reason is, not only is this a rude practice, but a very dangerous one.
Since, by law, motorists have to give a bicycle at least three feet of space between the vehicle being driven, and the bicycle, it would be very appreciated if bicyclists could give the same courtesy when passing pedestrians. I know that I, for one, would certainly appreciate not having a bicyclist flying by with under a foot of space between us.
For reference, Florida statute 316.083(1) states: “The driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle must pass the bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle at a safe distance of not less than 3 feet between the vehicle and the bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle.”
Another problem, that I see more and more, is that bicyclists seem to completely forget that they are subject to the same rules of the road as cars (see Florida statute 316.2065).
Regardless, I see bicyclists who do not stop at stop signs, do not stop at red lights, and have a complete disregard for the rules of the road. Perhaps some of these bicyclists need a refresher course. I found a nice website for this; http://floridabicycle.org/bicycle-traffic-law/.
I do understand that there are many very responsible riders of bicycles. The problem, like with other things, is that the riders who do not obey the law, and are discourteous to others, give a bad name to those who do follow the rules.