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Restrict only some micro-mobility devices

By Staff | Aug 27, 2019

To the editor:

I have been a full-time resident on Sanibel for 15 years and like most residents have enjoyed the many attractions of our great city island. I am also a safety and health professional with over 40 years of experience and an avid cyclist who frequently rides on our Shared Use Path and roadways.

First, I must acknowledge and express my sincere thanks to our mayor, vice mayor, council members and city staff for their great leadership, and hard work in assuring Sanibel continues to offer residents and visitors alike an ideal place to fulfill a healthy lifestyle, enjoy nature, and realize the value of environmentally responsible practices. A combination of our SUP, conservation lands, beaches, and surrounding waters makes Sanibel that special place that cannot be matched anywhere in the state.

Regarding the proposed ordinance 19-006, I agree with restricting some micro-mobility devices from our SUP. However, I don’t agree that we should restrict pedal-assisted e-bikes. Pedal assisted e-bikes are Class 1 e-bikes which are bikes equipped with an electric motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and ceases to assist when the bicycle reaches a speed of 20 mph. Pedal-assisted e-bikes (Class 1) are becoming more popular, and as with standard bikes, they can be operated safely on our SUP. Restricting them from our SUP and pushing them onto our roads will significantly increase the risk of serious accidents on our roadways.

Until such time our roads are equipped with shoulders or more preferably 3-foot bike lanes, we should not institute rules that force more cyclist onto our roadways. I agree with restricting the other micro-mobility devices from our SUP. To reduce the risk of serious bodily harm, I would suggest the ordinance require the use of helmets for micro-mobility devices and reinforce the existing Florida law requiring all riders or passengers under the age of 16 years to wear bicycle helmets (Title XXIII: 316.2065).

John L. Henshaw