On March 14th, 2016, Bike/Walk Tampa Bay (BWTB) Program Director Julie Bond, retired Police Chief and BWTB Chair Jane Castor, and BWTB Board Member Carrie Waite discussed bicycling with WMNF radio host Jon Butts in honor of Florida Bike Month. The listener-supported talk show addresses sustainability issues, and this broadcast brought us together to discuss biking as a both a means of healthy living and a way to protect the environment. Carrie Waite, BWTB Board Member and President and Founder of the St. Pete Bike Co-op, talked about how biking connects us to our surroundings: “You see the sights, the smells of the city, the people; it’s a much more engaging environment to be in, rather than being isolated in your car.”
Environmental sustainability also means addressing the bicycle safety concerns associated with recreation and commuting in the Tampa Bay region. Retired Police Chief Jane Castor was recently elected Chair of BWTB. She said one of the bigger safety concerns is a failure to follow traffic safety laws. Castor provided clear advice about the laws and rules of the road: “The biggest mistake motorists make is not being aware of the three foot rule and not giving cyclists enough room,” she said. BWTB Program Director Julie Bond also discussed the importance of visibility at night: “Legally you need a front white light and a back light and a reflector on your bike.” Other laws Castor discussed included riding with traffic and following the same rules cars do.
“It’s everyone’s responsibility on the road to be safe,” Bond said. “It’s going to take all of us to have a safe Tampa Bay.” Waite added that a shift in the culture surrounding biking will help improve the safety conditions for cyclists: “I think the key is more people, more butts on bikes. The more cyclists that are out there, the more drivers will experience them and the more they’ll get used to them being on the road.”
Click here to listen to Bike/Walk Tampa Bay on the 88.5 WMNF Sustainable Living Program.