To the editor
I drive a car. I also ride a bicycle. As a driver, I understand the frustrations faced as one encounters obstacles...legal obstacles but impediments none-the-less...when driving the roads of Southwest Florida. I truly get it when I am on a two lane road, in the right lane and I find myself stuck, with nowhere to go, as a school bus stops in front of me, or a mail delivery jeep stops to deliver at each mailbox, or a garbage truck stops, then goes, then stops, as traffic flies by me in the left lane. I get it. I also understand the momentary anxiety when I'm in that right lane with no shoulder and a bicyclist is ahead of me... in my lane... and traffic in the left lane forces me to drive the speed of the bike until there's an opening to pass. I get it. There is one thing, however I know that it seems many of my fellow drivers do not. That bicyclist is absolutely no different in his legality to be there than a school bus stopping to pick up children, a mail jeep delivering mail, or a garbage truck picking up trash.
Five days a week between the hours of noon and 1:30 p.m. on Santa Barbara Boulevard, south of Veterans you will see me on my bicycle. Be forewarned. I will be in the very center of the right lane heading south. I commute, on my bike, to and from work each weekday and Saturday from Fort Myers, over the Midpoint Bridge, a total of 25 miles each and every day. I am 53 years old and in the best shape of my life. I do it because of that and the fringe benefit is it saves my about $250 a month in tolls, gas and maintenance on my car. It matters not, however when it comes to my right to be in that lane. I will not hug the side of the lane. That confuses those that wish to pass me as to my intentions and also welcomes vehicles to try and squeeze by me in my lane. I am no different than any other vehicle in that lane. I will not use the sidewalks, they are reserved for pedestrians, not to mention that cars pulling out of driveways and side streets ignore the cross walks. I am on the street because that is where I belong.
You may get frustrated at my presence. As a car driver myself, I feel your pain. Blowing your horn and pretending to cut me off will not make your situation any better. All it will do is set you up for road rage and possibly endanger yourself, your passengers and my safety as you make a useless point. I am not going away. To those of you who pass me legally in the left lane, I thank you. For those of you who feel the need to blare your horn, shout obscenities and pretend to force me over by getting as close as you can get as you pass me by, understand that I ignore you. You appear as immature fools with an ignorance of the law. I am not intimidated and never will be. I have made a conscious choice to exercise my legal right to be on the roadway on my bicycle and until that law changes, and causes me to run over pedestrians on a sidewalk, I will be there, in the center of the right lane, on Santa Barbara Boulevard, five days each week.
Robert J. Sciolino