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Gearing Up for Bike Safety in Port St. Lucie

cycling helmet closeup on bicycle outdoors
carballo -
cycling helmet closeup on bicycle outdoors

Port St. Lucie - Thursday April 11, 2024: The City of Port St. Lucie is spreading the word and helping to educate drivers and bicyclists about safety throughout April, a perfect time for drivers and bicyclists to ensure they respect each other while respectfully following the rules of the road.

Bicycling is an ideal way to exercise, enjoy the outdoors, and reduce reliance on cars in the City. However, bike safety has proven to be a national concern. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has noted the number of bicyclists killed in traffic crashes increased by more than 35 percent between 2010 and 2021.

The problem is acute in Florida, which is why the City of Port St. Lucie encourages bicycle riders and automobile drivers to do their part to keep our residents safe.

To stress the importance of bicycle safety throughout the City, Mayor Shannon Martin will declare April “PSL Bike Safety Month” on Monday, April 22. This follows “Florida Bike Safety Month” in March, leading to “National Bike Safety Month” in May.

To help spread the word about bicycle safety and understand resident’s concerns, staff from Port St. Lucie Planning & Zoning Department, with the support of the Police Department, Public Works, Parks and Recreation, as well as the Florida DOT (District 4) and the St. Lucie Transportation Planning Organization, have and will participate in various events throughout April, including:

· Thursday, April 11 – An Evening Educational “Ice Cream Social Ride” in Lyngate (12 miles) – hosted by Treasure Coast Cycle Werks.

· Friday, April 19 – PSL on the Mic Podcast featuring Bike Safety Tips

· Saturday, April 27 – St. Lucie County Safety Festival - The City of PSL will participate in South Florida’s largest safety event, the 10th Annual St. Lucie County Safety Festival. The Police Department will host a bike rodeo, while Planning and Zoning Department will provide educational materials, safety equipment (bike lights and lighted wristbands) for all ages, and an online Florida Bicycle Association quiz developed specifically for PSL. 

According to the Florida Department of Transportation, there were 22,447 crashes involving bicyclists and pedestrians in 2023. Of those, 995 were fatalities, and 2,285 resulted in serious injuries. The City of Port St. Lucie has seen a similar trend, increasing from 28 bicycle accidents reported in 2022 to 56 in 2023.

Beginning in September 2023 and running through May 2024, the Port St. Lucie Department has been participating in the FDOT High Visibility Enforcement program to educate motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians on Florida’s traffic laws to improve safety on local roads. That included placing additional officers on patrol at specific corridors with a high occurrence of bicyclist and pedestrian crashes.

The NHTSA suggests the following safety tips for bikers:

· Obey all traffic laws and signals, including riding in the direction of traffic.
· Ride predictably and avoid weaving in and out of traffic.
· Be visible by wearing bright clothing and using a headlight and taillight.
· Use hand signals to indicate turns.
· Keep a bell on your bike to ring quickly and easily.
· Ride defensively and anticipate the actions of others.
· Wear a properly fitted helmet every time you ride.

Drivers can do their part to ensure cyclists’ safety as well.

· Look out for cyclists, looking both ways at intersections.
· Share the road, leave plenty of space when passing and yield to cyclists with the right of way.
· Avoid distractions while driving.
· Avoid blocking crosswalks and stopping at the stop bar.
· Be patient, and allow extra time to stop when approaching cyclists.