To the editor:
I would like to start this letter with a question! Can anyone tell me how often the streets "and shoulders" are done with the powered street sweeper?
Now I will acknowledge I see this piece of equipment in our downtown area frequently, my question is mainly from mid-island south. As a full time resident, I bike a lot on Estero Boulevard, usually from south of Santini Plaza north to our downtown area, and I can tell you that the area to the right of the white line is in our mid-island location. I constantly have to maneuver by bike around sand, gravel, glass and other debris on both sides of the roadway. Now I do realize it is not a designated bike path and will not be for a few more years, but a weekly pass with the street cleaning equipment would go a long way in making our biking experience both safer and more pleasurable.
Almost every day when I make the trip north and again south, I find myself jetting out over the white line into the traffic lane, to avoid a pile of sand, gravel or glass. I don't do this just to avoid the debris, but most importantly to keep me and my bike up-right as we all know driving a bike in such material can cause the wheels to slide out from under you and you lose control of the bike and sometimes fall to the ground. Lucky for me when this has happened I was able to direct my bike in the direction away from the traffic lane and have survived several near misses.
Now we spend a lot of resources protecting our pedestrians in the crosswalks, what can be done to protect bikers when biking to the right of the white line? A simple response might be to just get that piece of equipment running up and down Estero Boulevard on a regular basis, or maybe have the property owners be responsible for that area of roadway where their driveways end and the road begins!
Either way I think the town needs to step up their efforts in keeping the entire road surface of sand and other debris clear or property owners need to sweep the access area to the road on a regular basis?
I would love to hear other thoughts on this issue or am I just out there in a non-existent bike lane of my own?
Fort Myers Beach