Do This: Critical Mass Tampa Bay

Florida is still one of the most dangerous states to ride your bike in. Luckily, we've got Critical Mass marked up in our calendars. 

A couple of days ago I found out about the League of American Bicyclists’ newest research stats. Solely basing their information on media reports, since many states, including Florida, have no way of clearly tracking bicycle deaths the way they do car fatalities, the league was able to put together some eye-opening data on the 628 cyclists killed between February of 2011 and February of 2013. Among LAB's surprising findings are that rear-end crashes are routinely deadly for bikers, accounting for 40 percent of all fatal accidents; side-hit wrecks are the second most fatal at just 10 percent. Florida's 6 fatalities per one million residents is almost double the next closest state, Arizona. And our state’s 21.7 fatalities per 10,000 bike commuters minimize the numbers of the second deadliest state on the list, Texas. [For a full report on the statistics, click here].   

And here I was thinking about the success of both the Kerouac and Tweed rides...

Needless to say, Florida proves to be very dangerous place for folks that commute on their bikes. After learning the statistics, it is comforting to know that the Tampa Bay area community of cyclists dutifully attends to the international monthly event, Critical Mass. The group bicycle ride, held on the last Friday of every month in St. Petersburg and Tampa (and everywhere else), brings awareness to cyclists on the road. More importantly, though, the event looks to re-claim the streets as a safe place to ride; they proclaim the the roads for both cars and bikes, and sidewalk as pedestrian territory only.

The event, celebrated in more than 15 countries and hundreds of cities, rises, not as an "us vs. them" nor as an anti- car rally, but rather as a fun, family oriented activity that promotes the rules of safety among local bikers within the community. Its participants describe the meeting as an encouraging and inviting happening that has cyclists of all kinds come together for a common cause.

For all of those interested in the cause, Critical Mass Tampa Bay meets up the last Friday of every month in Tampa at  Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park at 7:30 p.m., and the ride heads out promptly at 8 p.m. For St. Petersburg residents, Williams park is the meeting/departure, and the ride starts at 7:30 sharp.

Click here for more Tampa's bike ride info. Or more info for the St. Petersburg Critical Mass ride, visit their Facebook event page

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