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Alert Today Florida Shares Commitment to Transportation Alternatives

Just a few more days before it’s wheels to the pavement for Bike 5 Cities, Bike/Walk Central Florida’s annual inclusive bike ride event on Saturday, October 30, 2021. More than 400 riders and volunteers are expected to participate in all or portions of the 28-mile ride with comfortable trails, bike routes and low-traffic roads through Casselberry, Orlando, Winter Park, Eatonville and Maitland.

For the fourth year, Alert Today Florida, a program of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is the presenting sponsor, showing its continued support of programs and events promoting transportation options and safety.

More Options Where Rubber Meets the Road and Trail

Cities and counties in the Greater Orlando Metro Area, in many cases with FDOT assistance, are working hard to connect biking/walking trails.

Trenda McPherson, traffic safety marketing coordinator for FDOT’s traffic safety office, has been the driving force behind Alert Today Florida through the years. She spoke highly of the Bike 5 Cities event and the efforts in Central Florida to promote bicycle ridership and safety.

“What I’m seeing in Central Florida specifically are more options being made available,” says McPherson. “Infrastructure is improving, including more shared use paths and trails, and shared road use.”

McPherson is also encouraged as people see biking as a transportation option, rather than just relying on getting behind the wheel and driving.

Learn, See, Do

Bike 5 Cities is also a learning experience. Some who participate are novice riders. Others are getting back on the bike again after putting it aside for a while. Even experienced riders learn, or relearn, a thing or two.

Bike 5 Cities helps people experience new areas and routes for the first time,” says McPherson. “By introducing it in small group rides, the event increases the comfort level to do it again, or to try something new.”

McPherson adds, “Overall, I think it’s more than just a bike ride. Everybody learns about mobility options, how to share the road, as well as the rules of the road. It’s an opportunity to show and tell what cycling can do for us as a community.”

Safety, Safety, Safety

McPherson says drivers must be alert to bicyclists as more riders take to the roads and trails, and should always give bicyclists at least three feet of space. Distractions behind the wheel, such as inattention or texting, are dangerous to vulnerable road users who are not on four wheels. However, McPherson points out that bicycles are vehicles and are subject to the rules of the road, like stopping for stop signs. She shared these safety tips that will come in handy for Bike5 Cities as well as future biking trips:

  • Make sure you are visible. Using bicycle lights both day and night increases the opportunity for drivers to see you.
  • Helmets are not just for kids. 40% of fatal bicycle injuries are the result of traumatic brain injury, so please make sure to wear a properly secured helmet on every ride.
  • In Florida, bicycles are legally vehicles. This means, when using the roadway, you have the same responsibility as drivers. Please make sure to obey all traffic laws.
  • Stay alert. Don’t use earbuds or other devices that might impair your ability to hear while riding.

“The Florida Department of Transportation takes the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians seriously,” says McPherson. “Staying alert, sharing the road and paying attention are the keys.” McPherson adds that this applies to drivers, bicyclists as well as those on foot.

Did You Know?

What do you know about bicycling safety? Take the Alert Today Bicycle Safety Quiz

In addition to the bicycle safety quiz, the Alert Today website offers a wealth of bicycling and pedestrian safety resources, education and encouragement.

Bike 5 Cities takes place during the statewide Mobility Week, sponsored by the Florida Department of Transportation. To learn more about mobility options, events and future opportunities, go to the Mobility Week events site.

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