‘It’s really not safe’: bicyclists share riding experiences on SWFL roads

Pedaling on Southwest Florida roads can feel like a dangerous feat for some bicyclists.

Cape Coral resident Charles Lee Valentine hasn’t had the easiest time relying on his bike to get around Southwest Florida.

“There’s people honking at you,” Valentine said. “Yelling at you to get out of the road.”

Valentine pedals approximately 28 miles each week day to and from his job in Fort Myers on roads he deems unsafe for bicyclists. He stressed he’s constantly aware of the other cars around him as he views drivers using their cell phones while behind the wheel.

“…It’s already nerve wracking but its extra so when you’re worried constantly about getting ran over,” Valentine said.

Cape Coral Police Officer Cpl. Phil Mullen stressed drivers should remain alert when on the roads and keep a 3-feet distance from bikers.

Warm weather and active lifestyles have many calling for work to be done to make roads equipped for pedestrian and bike use.

“We have nowhere to go,” Valentine said. It’s not really safe.”

Lehigh Acres resident Jefferson Jones said he’s been involved in multiple crashes while on his bike.

“I was completely plowed over by a car while commuting about a year ago,” Jones said.

A bike safety plan was approved by the city, but it’s at a standstill due to the city being unable to fund the $60 million project.

This puts Jones in a difficult position when taking to the road on two wheels.

“You’re either on the sidewalk, which is technically illegal if you are on a bicycle or you are on the road competing with all of America’s worst drivers that all flock to Southwest Florida, especially in the winter,” Jones said.