Dangerous by Design? — Life and Death on the Rural Edge

By Barry Watkins

On the first day of May, National Bike Month, a bicyclist was struck by a car and killed in Rockledge on S. Fiske Blvd. near I-95.  Here’s the story by Space Coast Daily.  The accident may or may not have been the cyclist’s fault, the details are still under investigation.  The fact remains, however, that a 64 year old bicyclist lost his life in an area devoid of even the most basic of accommodations for safe biking and walking.  To avoid more senseless loss of life, major changes need to occur in that area and in areas like it all over our county.  Can this be a wake-up call for us, or do we need more tragedies before we’re willing to make our streets safe for biking and walking?  I think now is the time for decisive action.

barnes-fiske lowes

So, what’s going on in this area?  What is it about this place that makes it unsafe?  I mean, it’s way out on the edge of town.  Can we really expect our governments to put in sidewalks and bike lanes in places like this?  Aren’t there plenty of other places that ought to be the higher priority when it comes to accommodations?  Well, there are a few really obvious issues in this particular spot:  1) There are NO BIKE LANES (NONE!)  and the shoulder is very narrow.  2) The sidewalks are not continuous and just end arbitrarily.  3) There is a crosswalk at the traffic light at Barnes & Fiske, but it only goes in the North-South direction where it is least needed, and there is no safe crossing from the west side of Fiske to the shopping center.  4) The nearest crossing north of here on Fiske is at the elementary school, 1 full mile away!  …We can go on (and we will)…  Check this area out on Google maps and enter your comments.  Do you agree with me that this area needs some improvement?  If so, what kind of improvements would you suggest?  And what about the question of priorities?  Please do take a moment and give us your thoughts.  We will continue this discussion in my next post…

To be continued…

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