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Franki Gonzalez

Franki Gonzalez is a positioned realtor within the Central Florida community. In 2010, she started her career as a sales agent grossing more than 50 million to date. She was born in Southern Illinois but moved to south Florida in the 4th grade. Gonzalez considers herself a Floridian, especially since she loves the beach and warm climate. In 2006, she and her husband, Arby, and two children relocated to Central Florida to be closer to family. In 2010, she moved to Winter Park and that is where she found her passion for cycling—riding her mom’s mountain bike on the Cady Way Trail.

On October 3, 2017, her life took an unexpected turn. As she and her husband were on their weekly Tuesday morning ride, they were hit from behind by a driver on State Road 434 while in the cycling lane.  The driver was traveling about 55 mph then swerved into the bike lane causing her to plow into her husband, who was riding in front. Ultimately, this slowed the impact, but Gonzalez was thrown 30 feet and ended up unconscious on the sidewalk. After spending 12 days in the ICU, with her T12 vertebrae fractured in three places, and a five-vertebrae spinal fusion surgery, she wondered if her life would ever be the same.

It was a long road back before she could get on her bike again, but she was determined to make it happen. Almost a year after that incident, she began to enjoy group rides two days a week and several additional rides with her husband.

After this life altering experience, she has made it a point to reach out to several Florida representatives to become an advocate for pedestrians and cyclists.  She takes advantage of every opportunity that presents itself to become more involved in the pedestrian and cycling community.

Why are you devoting your time to this cause?
As an avid cyclist, I want to spread the joy of riding safely to all those who enjoy this hobby as much as I do.

If you could change one road in Orlando to better accommodate walkers and bikers, which would it be?
It is difficult to limit to just one road since the number of riders and walkers varies daily in Central Florida. However, if I had to choose one, I would say South Orange Avenue is in dire need of some changes in favor of pedestrians and riders.

What city do you look to as a model for safe streets and courteous road users?
There are multiple models out there that are inspiring, however, given the distances and circumstances our city presents, we would have to come up with a model that satisfies our needs.