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The St. Petersburg Bicycle Club

Florida's #1 bicycle club was established in 1968. The St. Petersburg Bicycle Club, Inc. is a non-profit, social and recreational club that exists to promote safe, satisfying bicycling opportunities to both club members and the general public of all ages and skill levels, through planned activities and events.

ALL SPBC GROUP RIDES AND EVENTS POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)


Updated April 20, 2020

In light of the decision by USA Cycling to suspend all event permits and its recommendation to cancel all events including group rides (see image below for USA Cycling's full statement), the SPBC Board of Directors has decided to postpone the Club's participation in the Saturday morning rides and other events until further notice. The board also recommends that all other "Show 'N Go" rides be discontinued.

While the board does not recommend continuing any form of group rides, your decision to participate in any rides other than solo rides should depend on your overall health, age and comfort level with the situation. Don’t let anyone pressure you into a decision you are not comfortable with. If you should make the personal decision to continue riding with others, please follow the precautions below.
Upcoming Events
Upcoming Events

Safety Tips

With more bicyclists out, getting exercise and a respite from sheltering in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, the St. Pete Bike Club offers these safety tips. Check back frequently as we’ll cover a number of issues, including:

 

 

Today's topic: Lane Positioning

Riding on roads with cars scares some cyclists, even though every cyclist has the same right to the road and travel lane as motorists. But both the law and prudent safety techniques can make you safer—and make you feel safer. But to some it’s counter intuitive.

 

Many cyclists (and motorists) know only part of the law. They think a cyclist should be as far to the right as possible to allow cars to squeeze by. Indeed, the law does state a cyclist “shall ride in the lane marked for bicycle use or, if no lane is marked for bicycle use, as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway….” What most folks don’t know are the exceptions that follow—and they are significant and important:

 

…except under any of the following situations:

1. When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.

2. When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

3. When reasonably necessary to avoid any condition or potential conflict, including, but not limited to, a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, bicycle, pedestrian, animal, surface hazard, turn lane, or substandard-width lane, which makes it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge or within a bicycle lane. For the purposes of this subsection, a “substandard-width lane” is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane. [emphasis added]

 

The highlighted portion is critical because the vast majority of lanes in Pinellas County are too narrow to share being 10-12 feet wide. The law does not define substandard. The only guidance we have comes from the Florida Greenbook, which is the Florida Department of Transportation’s highway design manual. It states that a lane should be 14 feet wide to accommodate both a car and bicycle. That determination is a matter of math. A bicycle needs four feet of operating space. The law requires motorists give cyclists three feet clearance when passing. And the average car is about seven feet wide. 4+3+7=14.

 

This means that to pass a cyclist a car must move into the adjacent lane.

 

Minimize Bad Decisions
When cyclists hug the right-hand portion of the lane, they are inviting poor decisions by motorists who might think they can squeeze by even though a car is oncoming in the adjacent lane. If motorists miscalculate or that oncoming car moves toward the center line, they must decide, do they risk a head-on collision or swerve toward the cyclist and hope they don’t hit her, or if they do, they won’t cause serious injury. What decision do you think they will make in that moment of panic?

 

Because the law allows you to take the full lane when it is too narrow to share, you should. And you’ll be shocked at the results. This video demonstrates what happens.

 

When you ride in the middle of the lane, all motorists can see you better. Those entering the roadway from a driveway or side street look for vehicles in the middle of the road, not on the extreme right-hand side, perhaps obscured by parked cars. Motorists approaching from behind have plenty of advanced warning that they must move into the adjacent lane and make the same calculations they would if the bicycle were a car. They slow down and wait until it’s clear to pass. What you’ll find is that they then move over entirely into the adjacent lane, giving cyclists more passing clearance than if they were on the right edge of the road.

 

A few cyclists, especially inexperienced ones, argue that taking the full lane can aggravate motorists and thus endanger cyclists. Does that happen? Yes, but only rarely. And if it enrages them, you know at least they see you.

 

The greater danger is the motorist who makes an ill-advised decision to try to pass in a manner they shouldn’t. That decision may not be an enraged one, but it is a more common one and just as potentially deadly.

 

Control what you can
Riding in the middle of a lane, or as many road signs say, “Bicyclists may use full lane,” is part of a general safety principal: Control the lane and take responsibility for yourself. To that we add, control other road users by letting them know what you plan to do and what you’d like them to do.

 

When approaching an intersection, take the full lane so other road users can see you. If you stay to the right, other cars in your lane might try to make a right turn in front of you and those turning from the opposite direction might not see you.

 

While taking the full lane is smart, common courtesy can win you friends. If you see the road is clear ahead, you might move to the right and wave a driver behind you to pass. When approaching an intersection where a car wants to turn left in front of you, if there is no one behind you and you have the time and space, slow down wave them to make the turn. If there is any doubt about who has the right of way at stop signs, yield it and wave them through.

 

And remember, when there is a bike lane, which must be marked as such, you are required to use it unless there are obstacles or debris that make it unsafe. But be aware that there are quite a few substandard bike lanes that are unsafe to use. A couple of examples are portions along Snell Isle Blvd. and 4th St./Pinellas Point Dr., as well as the very narrow bike lanes on Gulf Blvd./Pass-a-Grille Way in St. Pete Beach.

 

Be proactive, courteous and predictable, and you can navigate traffic lanes safely. And remember, the signs say, “share the road.” They don’t say, “share the lane.”


Special thanks to Amelia, who attends an outdoor quarantine activity class for 8-12 year olds online through the Salt Lake City Children's Network. Amanda has been learning about bicycle safety and found our website. She shares this article with us. Enjoy, and thanks again, Amelia.

Untitled Document
ALL SPBC GROUP RIDES AND EVENTS POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

Updated March 15, 2020, 12:30 PM

In light of the recent decision by USA Cycling to suspend all event permits and its recommendation to cancel all events including group rides (see image below for USA Cycling's full statement), the SPBC Board of Directors has decided to postpone the Club's participation in the Saturday morning rides and other events until further notice. The board also recommends that all other "Show 'N Go" rides be discontinued.

I believe I speak for the entire board when I say this decision was easily the most difficult decision we have ever made for the Club and we hope everyone understands that we are now in uncharted territory. We will continue to monitor the situation and will restore the Saturday morning rides as soon as it is prudent to do so.

While the board does not recommend continuing any form of group rides, your decision to participate in any rides other than solo rides should depend on your overall health, age and comfort level with the situation. Don’t let anyone pressure you into a decision you are not comfortable with. If you should make the personal decision to continue riding with others, please follow the precautions below.

There is no need to list the standard precautions (www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html), but we want to emphasize the do's and don't's during rides with others.

RIDE PRECAUTIONS

If you are not feeling well, even if you think it is allergies, please ride solo or stay home. Just regular coughing may alarm the other riders.

Please refrain from shaking hands and hugging or touching your friends or their equipment.

Leave a little larger gap to the rider in front of you if possible.

If you need to spit, blow your nose, sneeze or cough, please check to be sure you are clear, signal, and move out of the pace line (left whenever possible). This may require asking a rider along side you to give you room. Most of all, make sure there is no one behind you. We realize it is allergy season, but please do your best. Cough into your elbow if you can’t get out of line in time.

Wash your kit including gloves and helmet pads after every ride. Wipe with alcohol or spray with a disinfectant for items that can’t go in the washer. Disinfect your handlebars and saddle often.

Many rides and events are being cancelled. We will create a list and try to keep it up to date.

As shown the constantly changing sport and event schedules, this is a very dynamic situation and may change on short notice. Please check the club website and Facebook page for the latest updates .

May you and your family stay safe and healthy during these trying times.

For the SPBC Board of Directors,

Bruce Sobut
St. Petersburg Bicycle Club
Club President

USA Cycling Covid Statement

 


Congratulations to Gina Hubany & Bryan Schmick,
the St. Petersburg Bicycle Club 2019
Volunteers of the Year
with Peter Wray, whose life they saved.
Gina also donated a kidney. Quite a year!
2019 Volunteers of the Year

 

Looking to get started cycling--safely?
Here are the basics


Watch this video for lane positioning

New to Group Riding? Here's how
and specifically about our group rides

 

Why become a member?

It's about quality of life, and these words from one SPBC member express the quality we share as a family of riders.

 

After nearly 40 years of riding in other parts of the country I never had ridden with groups much. I guess those few times I had I did not feel particularly welcomed.

 

When I first moved to Florida a couple of years ago, I joined the St. Pete Bike Club not so much to ride but to meet people. The best way to do that was to join the daily group rides and the coffee klatch afterwards. But I fully intended to return to solo riding once I met some folks.

 

I was not a particularly strong rider, but that didn't concern those I rode with. They were helpful, supportive and non-judgmental. I learned a lot. And there were plenty of opportunities to push myself. I also found that group riding seemed safer. It's hard for motorists not to notice anywhere from five to 50 cyclists riding together.

 

SPBC also was welcoming to new ideas and passionate about safety and advocating for riders, so I know with my small membership dues I'd have a chance to contribute as well as benefit.

Soon the idea of returning to solo riding was behind me. I enjoy the camaraderie both during and after the rides. That coffee klatch is now part of my daily routine (and isn't it great that this can be done outdoors year around!)


Why wouldn't YOU want to be a part of such a great group?


St. Petersburg Bicycle Club, Inc.

PO Box 76023

St. Petersburg, FL 33734

USA


The St. Petersburg Bicycle Club, Inc. (SPBC) is a non-profit, social and recreational club that exists to promote safe, satisfying bicycling opportunities to both club members and the general public of all ages and skill levels, through planned activities and events.


© Copyright 2019 St. Petersburg Bicycle Club