Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Naples crackdown on pacelines

Whether you ride in Southwest Florida or not, it's worthwhile to read this rider alert from Joe Bonness, president of the Naples Pathways Coalition. If you ride in Naples, it's a must-read.
The NPC had a presentation from the Naples Police Department last night. There have been enough complaints about pacelines that the NPD's chief has set up an enforcement effort to curtail the flagrant running of stop signs and lights by bike groups. Solo cyclists not obeying traffic signs are at risk as well.

The complaints are Saturday mornings 7-8 am 5th Avenue South & Gulf Shore, Harbor Drive & Crayton, Crayton & Parkshore, Parkshore & Gulfshore. Expect these intersections to be specifically staked out.

Bike patrol officers will spearhead the enforcement and will follow the FBA yellow book. As bike lanes and sidewalks are a political topic, you may see the other police patrols getting in on the ticketing. They will not be as knowledgeable of bike group traffic etiquette.

Stop signs: The group needs to full-stop to give right of way to cars and especially pedestrians when they have the right of way. When traffic is not at intersection a foot down is not needed but a slowing to expect to stop is! (And at this time I bet it will be more like 1mph than 15 mph.) The group should move thru the signal as one unit so it may only be necessary for the leaders to stop. The NPD would rather the group stay together than string out over a long area with cars mixed in. If the back of the group passes thru and are the first thru the intersection and get us all tickets I propose that they pay everyone’s tickets!

The group must stop for pedestrians at crosswalks, whereas a single bike can navigate around a pedestrian, a group is like a car!

What if you are waved thru? First you better have slowed to show intent to stop. If it is one of the bike patrol officers they may be lenient but if it’s not the bike patrol you could get a ticket.

Stoplights sensors are mostly dysfunctional for bikes so the lights can be treated as a stop sign if other traffic is not present. That is a full stop, foot down, then go when clear and safe. If traffic is present wait for green.

Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday rides need to stop especially at 5th Avenue South. We should also go back to using Broad Ave as the connector to Gordon from Gulfshore this cuts out two stop signs south bound and we enter Gordon at a four-way stop.

The stepped up complaints are deserved, we have been flagrant with blowing thru 5th and some of the other intersections.

On the political side, the group Preserve Paradise (anti bike ped) is using our violations of the signs as fuel to stop the striping of bike lanes and construction of sidewalks. We are all ambassadors of the bike-ped groups every time we are in traffic. We need to smile a lot.

Two important references:

1 comment:

Tonii said...

As a motorist, this makes good sense to me. While I haven't yet started biking in South Florida, I believe the roads are meant for everyone to use. If drivers can learn to smile a lot :) too, we'll cultivate respect on all sides.