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Featured / People On Bikes

Keri Caffrey: Central Florida’s Bike Safety Superhero

Keri Caffrey doesn’t wear a cape, but she does like to feel the wind in her face. She also works hard to keep regular citizens like you and me out of danger.

Caffrey speaks across the country about ways to keep bicyclists safe in urban areas. Ten years ago she helped form CyclingSavvy, here in Central Florida; it’s an organization aimed at empowering cyclists through education. This Florida Bike Month, we decided this urban superhero was the perfect person to talk to about bike safety and the joy of riding.

“[My favorite part of cycling is] the feeling of freedom and accomplishment of being able to replace car trips with bike trips,” Caffrey said.

Over her 30 years of urban cycling, she talks passionately about how biking gives her a connection to the community. She said she loves exploring neighborhoods, discovering beautiful spots and being able to have friendly, human interactions with other road users.

“CyclingSavvy was created to offer cyclists a robust toolkit of skills and strategies to operate safely and easily in our less-than-perfect traffic environment,” Caffrey said.

Government and national studies have shown time and again that Central Florida’s roads are not particularly friendly to pedestrians or cyclists. Dangerous by Design and the newly released report from the Governor’s Highway Safety Association are just the latest two.

“Central Florida is uniquely challenging for cyclists due to the lack of connectivity of quiet streets,” Caffrey said. “Even in the downtown areas, we lack the kind of grid network that allows cyclists to travel to most destinations without having to deal with busy streets or complex intersections.”

Fortunately, she and the other leaders at CyclingSavvy are working to arm cyclists with the tools and knowledge needed to navigate the challenges of Orlando streets.

CyclingSavvy’s and Bike/Walk Central Florida‘s missions go hand-in-hand. Bike/Walk Central Florida is working to create a community where biking and walking are normal activities by raising awareness about cyclists and cycling concerns.

For both new and experienced bicycle commuters, Caffrey suggests taking a course to brush up on skills that could potentially save their lives.

“Our culture is generally ignorant of critical bike safety skills,” she said. “Many lives would be saved if we placed a priority on encouraging bicyclists to learn defensive bicycling, like we do with the MSF course for people who want to drive a motorcycle.”

Caffrey’s quest to keep cyclists safe and confident on the roads never ends. During our interview, she told us she’s headed to Charlotte, N.C., to train other instructors.

“Our skills work everywhere, and we have programs in many other cities in the U.S., but it was created here in Orlando.”

On a personal note, Caffrey, her two favorite places to ride are the Orlando Urban Trail and Cady Way Trail.

When asked how she’s planning to celebrate Florida Bike Month, she smiled, saying, “Every month is bike month.”

In celebration of Florida Bike Month, CyclingSavvy is offering a $25-off coupon for their Ride Awesome lifetime membership. Use the code BWCFMARCH (expires March 31).

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