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Dear BPAC & The City of Jacksonville, 8.6.11

August 6, 2011

Dear BPAC & The City of Jacksonville,

At about 1:00PM today I began riding back home from the Riverside Arts Market, taking the Northbank Riverwalk, over the Main Street Bridge and down for a short bit on San Marco Blvd.

San Marco Blvd is notorious for high foot and cyclist traffic. It is senseless for locals living in the San Marco, San Jose, and even in the St. Nicholas environs to always have use their vehicles every time they want to go shopping or out for dinner, drinks, a movie, or what have you. Everything is so close by, why shouldn’t one choose a bike over a car in such a context?

But San Marco Blvd is also strangely notorious for high speed vehicles who do not stop when pedestrians are crossing the road within either of the two San Marco Square and Shoppes areas. I have witnessed people going so far as to speed up and honk when they see cyclists and pedestrians trying to get from one side of the road to the other… on several occasions.

As I rode down San Marco Blvd through the first stint of shoppes and restaurants, legally and on the right most part of the lane, I was approached by what was apparently a mentally unstable motorist. They honked their horn loudly at me several times, though he or she certainly had plenty of room to pass me. I looked back and took the advice of many of my cyclist colleagues and just ignored them. For approximately one minute after that, the psychopath laid on their horn continuously and stayed behind me. We were finally met with a red light and I had no choice but to look both ways and, once clear, high tailed it through the red light to get away from what was an obvious case of serious road rage and possible endangerment to my person.

This is not the first time this has happened on this road. Not the first time to me. Not the first time to my colleagues who follow the rules of the road. And certainly not the only road where these incidents occur. It is all over this city. There is an unusually, not to mention frighteningly, high number of motorists, specific to Jacksonville, who are utterly unaware of the rights of diverse and other various means of transportation, so coupling ignorance with short-fused tempers results in intentional hit-and-runs and serious injuries and fatalities occurring to only, and ever only, the cyclist or pedestrian. Rarely do such hit-and-run incidents even affect the paint on their vehicle, let alone the mentally unstable driver within the vehicle who sought to injure or kill an innocent, law abiding fellow human being.

I understand fully I have every right to be on the road, and in such places as your typical Square and Shoppe areas, a bike on a sidewalk is not only completely ludicrous, it also happens to be extremely dangerous. You can find these studies everywhere. An example of these studies:

The following is a clip from the pdf, Ten Tips for Safe Cycling, by

“Many people think that the sidewalk is a safe place to ride. However, accident studies show that riding on sidewalks has two to nine times the accident risk as proper cycling on the road, especially if you go fast. Sidewalk cyclists are in danger at every road crossing and even driveways because motorists do not look for fast traffic on the sidewalk. Also, mixing pedestrians and cyclists is dangerous to both. A bicycle “sidepath” next to a road is just about as dangerous as a sidewalk. This is why cyclists are often required to walk bikes across intersections. You are much safer in the street, following the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles. Your right to use the road does not depend on having a motor.”

This law applies to Jacksonville, FL and all across the United States of America, for the record.

San Marco Blvd is currently undergoing road construction. A bike lane was completely left out of the plans for some… ehem… noticeably strange and concerning reason. The pedestrian community of San Marco – including patrons who frequent the local shoppes, cyclists, pedestrians, and our children – are in desperate need of:

1) Bike Sharrows all along the ENTIRETY of San Marco Blvd

2) Raised crosswalks to serve as speed humps all along the ENTIRETY of San Marco Blvd

3) Bike signage indicating bikes may use full lane all along the ENTIRETY of San Marco Blvd

The Jacksonville Bicycle Coalition will personally see to it this be proposed directly to the mayor himself, should the City Council chose to ignore the severity of this issue.


Jennifer Kubicki

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 7, 2011 2:50 PM

    Let’s reform this hometown of mine, and if they won’t listen, well then at least we tried with the most heartfelt pursuit before venturing onward… ;D

  2. August 8, 2011 4:03 AM
  3. August 8, 2011 4:05 AM

    I will go directly to the mayor myself, if that’s what it takes.

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