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Sanibel should not be mecca for e-bikes

By Staff | Jun 25, 2019

To the editor:

For two weeks now there have been letters regarding the use of e-bikes on our shared use path with requests to write to our council members to allow their use. I have put “our” in italics for a reason. The two letters are from non-residents of Sanibel. One couple spend time here every year, apparently at Casa Ybel resort, and the other own an off island business that supplies e-bikes.

I have been present at council meetings when they have spoken. Dr. Gerald T. Darnell and his wife contend that the bikes are extending their ability to be outdoors as they age, and Skip and Lisa Plumer-Badolato want to expand their business. In fact at one meeting the Plumer-Badolatos said that when they sell a bike they encourage people to come to Sanibel because the shared use path is perfect for them.

What about those of us who are here more than a few weeks or months a year? Let’s revisit the original purpose for the creation of the shared use path. Back when Sanibel was first experiencing major expansion the path was created so local users would not be run over by construction vehicles. It was not meant to be a tourist attraction and it should not be one now. In fact the Sanibel Plan seeks to avoid creating attractions.

The main purpose of the path should still be the use by local residents. Of course in season it has to be shared and will be congested, but by no means should Sanibel become the mecca for e-bikes. If e-bikes are allowed can e-scooters be far behind? Tampa is experiencing an issue with those right now.

As the saying goes, just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

Jane Holder