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Bike riders are at risk

By Staff | Jul 30, 2009

To the editor,

I ride my bike on the mornings that I’m in Sanibel, and since I’m riding for exercise and endurance, I ride on the road and not on the bike paths. As a result, I’ve often been screamed at, cursed at, and last week I had a woman – at 7 a.m. – who felt it necessary, on an empty road (Casa Ybel), to come up behind me and blow her horn. And since she got no reaction, she continued to blow her horn three more times.

I thought it would be a good idea to explain to those non-riders why we who do ride many times ride on the road and not the bike paths. When I’m riding to the store, or to the beach (casual riding), etc., I’m happy to ride on the path as I’m going at an easy pace. But people who ride for exercise usually go at a rapid pace (I try to keep my cadence at approx 16-20 mph and I’m one of the slower ones). On a bike path, this becomes a risk to the rider, to other riders, to those walking and those running. You would either be continuously stopping, or hitting the brakes to slow to a cadence of someone walking (approximately 6 mph).

Also, if you did continue the faster speed and attempted to go around a walker/runner/slow rider, there is a great risk of an accident – I’ve seen it happen even with the proper warnings.

Although you may not like it, riding on the road is safer than on the bike paths. Plus, the majority of riders who ride for that type of exercise are usually doing it early in the morning, where there is very little traffic. So the next time you decide to shout or lay on the horn (as that wonderful person did), you will probably – by the third honk – be guaranteed to get the single finger wave. Instead of getting us both upset, try riding instead of driving. It’s better for Sanibel, and better for you.

Greg Donohue

Sanibel