Whether going to work, the beach, shopping, or some other errand, we are all vying for our place on the roads – ahead of as many others as possible, right? As our patience is tested, let’s keep in mind that each of us has a responsibility to safely share the road with motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. And we all want to get home safely at the end of the day.
Reminders for Motorists:
Bicycles have a legal right to ride on the street as well as on most sidewalks.
• Florida law requires that you provide at least three feet of space between your vehicle and
bicyclists when passing. (Your side mirror can break a collarbone or much worse!)
• Never text while driving, ever! Distracted driving is the number one cause of traffic crashes.
• Look for bicyclists and pedestrians before making a turn or moving into a right turn lane.
• Do not block crosswalks or bike/pedestrian crossings when you stop at an intersection or when you are pulling onto the street.
• Yield to bicyclists and pedestrians at crosswalks and when they are crossing at unmarked
• Look both ways for bicyclists and pedestrians before exiting a parking space, driveway, or
parking lot. Cyclists using the sidewalk may not see you or be able to stop if you pull into the
sidewalk area as you exit a parking lot.
• Be patient and expect it to take longer to get where you are going. No one likes to be honked
at; only honk your horn in emergencies.
Reminders for Bicyclists:
Obey all traffic laws, including stopping at stop signs or red lights. On a road, you are a vehicle, so traffic laws do apply to you.
• Ride in the same direction as other traffic – on the road and on the sidewalk. Whoever told you to ride against traffic was wrong. Only pedestrians should travel against traffic.
• Stay alert – do not wear earbuds or headphones and don’t use electronic devices while cycling.
• Be predictable. Don’t swerve in and out of traffic and use hand signals to indicate turns.
• Do not ride more than two abreast. As a courtesy, allow motorists to pass when they are lined up behind you.
• Be visible. Wear bright colors and make sure your bike has front and rear lights.
• Wear a helmet. It is really your only protection in the event of a crash or fall.
• If you are riding on the sidewalk, watch for cars in driveways and exiting parking lots. Be prepared to stop. If you have not made eye contact with a motorist, assume they have not noticed you and wait before crossing.
Reminders for Pedestrians:
When you are walking on a street or sidewalk, remember that you must also obey the “rules of the
• Be visible. Wear light colored clothes at night (reflective is best), walk in well-lit areas, and make sure motorists/bicyclists see you before you enter the roadway. Stay off electronic devices, especially when crossing the street.
• Only cross at crosswalks or intersections. It may seem easier or shorter to cross mid-block but stepping out from a median is dangerous. You are more visible and expected at crosswalks and intersections, plus your sight line is better.
• Do not assume vehicles will give you the right of way. Make eye contact before crossing in front of a vehicle.
• Walk on the sidewalk whenever possible. When sidewalks are not available and you must use the road, walk against traffic.
Naples Pathways Coalition is working to get the Paradise Coast Trail built in Collier County. This 70+ mile trail for walking, running, and biking will certainly help reduce conflicts between motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists, and it will make for much more enjoyable recreation and transportation on foot or bike.
You can get involved and learn more about it at www.NaplesPathways.org/PCTrail.
Until the trail is built, remember that we are all in this together. Let’s be patient and courteous with everyone sharing the roads.