Is it Safe to Bike on Fort Myers Beach?

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Last week we had quite a lively conversation about biking and e-biking on Estero Boulevard on the Beach Talk Radio Facebook page. This Tuesday at 9AM, the Public Safety Committee will be discussing the town’s messaging about bike safety.

The rules on Fort Myers Beach now state that only pedal bikes are allowed on sidewalks. Any battery-powered bike is prohibited on sidewalks. It does not matter if you’re pedaling without power because that’s impossible for law enforcement to determine from a vehicle.

The biggest challenge for anyone on any kind of a bike is the stretch of Estero Boulevard from Red Coconut to Times Square where there is no bike lane.

The Public Safety Committee will discuss all of this Tuesday at 9AM. The meeting will be held at the town hall trailers where everyone has 3 minutes to speak during public comment. We will also carry the meeting live on our Facebook page and YouTube Channel.

25 COMMENTS

  1. The way to end this is to have very large groups of bike riders (both types) to get into the street and SLOWLY ride up and down where there is no bike path. The squeaky wheel gets greased.

  2. There is no bike path on San Carlos either, surely law enforcement and the city don’t expect us to ride on the streets….?

  3. We should be promoting the use of bicycles (Electric or not!) on the island considering the god awful traffic during season. We should be making every effort to reduce vehicles on the island for a number of reasons. What do they want? More cars? More pollution? More drunk drivers? More danger for pedestrians? Handing out tickets to people who are choosing a bike over a car is not progress, which is what the island needs.

  4. Wow, some good ideas here. A bike path for all bikes and walkers would be great on either gulf or bay side of island. Less expensive would be the idea above to designate one side of street for e-bikes and forbid on other side of street.

  5. Since Hurricane Ian redefined FMB is it time we take a new approach to how we look at mixing bike/pedestrian traffic with vehicle traffic? Someone above commented on designating a sidewalk for bikes only – great idea. Could we also think outside the box and build a separate bike trail – maybe on the beach side of the buildings? Add palm trees, benches, etc – it would be a beautiful ride or walk that could run the length of the island.

    We need to stop the bike lanes and “sharrows” – not just on FMB but everywhere in SWFL. They are dangerous and really unusable with the level of traffic.

    • I agree. They should make a bike path on the beach side between the buildings and water – similar to what they have on South Beach in Miami. People can walk, roller blade and ride bikes and it keeps them off the roads. We need to do better than what we have had in the past. I don’t feel safe riding my bike on the road. There are too many distractions for drivers to be looking at right now and they aren’t paying attention to the road or bicycles trying to share the road.

      • ..because it will have to go through peoples properties, or there will be a road that separates them from the Gulf. Knowing the owners here they are not going to like that.

    • This is such a great idea and exactly what they did in Virginia Beach—a separate bike trail that runs parallel to their boardwalk and separated with beautiful landscaping. It’s a beautiful bike ride and brings in tons of customers to all the outdoor bars and cafes even in the off season. They incorporated several little stages so there’s always lots of music and activities going on to draw people to the area. The powers that be in FMB should look into how they’ve done this in other bike-friendly beach communities… something like this would be a GREAT addition to FMB!

  6. Maybe they should consider a speed limit for ALL bikes on the sidewalk? I’m an e-bike rider- I have hip problems at times and the e-bike is the best way to get around and especially over the bridge. I have always been courteous to pedestrians and slow down to a crawl where people are or move to the street. To be honest, traffic here is very scary some days. My grandfather got clipped by a car on his bike and never road again. I’ve had a couple close calls. But I also see the pedal bike spando-shorts-wearing goofs who act like they own both the rod and the sidewalk and zip around 5 times faster than me on my e-bike. Maybe if the just made a bike speed limit on the sidewalk and people slowed down a bit we could co-exist on the sidewalk. Otherwise, we really do need to make better, wider and more consistent bike lanes down the whole island.

  7. Horrible idea. As an elderly person I can only ride a pedal assist bike and do not feel safe riding on the road after near miss in the bike lane with a car a few years ago. As for riding in road between cars, the cars pass you unsafely and ride on your butt. Full electric in street but peddle assist should be allowed.

  8. 1st make the road safer for people walking on the sidewalk people are having a very hard time just driving a car down the street its a tight road , then with texting , sightseeing, extreme speeding .
    its scary enough just walking down the sidewalk , then they want to put bikes into the road , no fn way
    and they dont allow e bikes on the beach either which is stupid too
    enforce traffic laws before you put additional traffic into the road

  9. Here’s an idea. Why don’t we make one side of the sidewalk on Estero predominantly for bikes? Ban bikes on the other sidewalk. Then pedestrians can walk on other side of Estero. This will encourage less car traffic and increase the ability of people on the south end to get downtown. Also maybe take out the green grass area between sidewalks and curb to allow for greater room for pedestrians and bikes. Let’s come up with something positive to encourage bike use as we have a real traffic problem.

  10. Since Estero Blvd is county-owned, aren’t the sidewalks also? And if so, wouldn’t the sidewalks fall under LCSO jurisdiction? Asking for a friend.

  11. As much as I agree with Gili and for the record, you CAN drive electric bikes on FM sidewalks, I am concerned about the people operating those electric bikes. Remember people, these are very much the same as a motorcycle in many ways. In order to operate a motorcycle, you typically would take a class or be provided lessons or help. With electric bikes, it’s willy nilly. And you can see that. They get going at a high rate of speed and you can’t stop as fast. I bike on the road in FM and the electric bikes are passing me on the sidewalk! Seems wrong to me? So, in FMB, someone or something should be in place that tells electric bikers what they are required to do before any rule changes are made to allow them on sidewalks. As much as we all hate rules or regulations, this is a relatively new “thing “ we have and there needs to be controls. As a sidebar, young kids are driving these souped up bikes on the sidewalks at speeds exceeding 30 mph in the Gateway area!

    • The drivers of cars are the critical issue. Large, easy to read signage posted many times along Estero about giving bikes and pedestrians right of way are necessary !
      The drivers that feel the car rules the road truly hate allowing others our right of way.
      And I do not agree that e-bikes are like motorcycles at all, except that we have to watch out for inattentive, rude drivers. The sidewalks are for all and tourists absolutely need to have notice from their landlords, hotel managers, and tour guides that ebikers, pedal bikers and pedestrians are the favored mode of transportation and to provide right of way to them.

  12. I wish I was available to go to that meeting on Tuesday ! If the result is not allowing e-bikes on the sidewalk even when there are no pedestrians on the side walk this will cause many more injuries and fatalities of bicyclist. Including myself. At least half of the Cars do NOT care about the bike lane to leaving enough room for a cyclist. I, as many bicyclist ride on the sidewalk until we see a pedestrian on the path then we go in the dangerous bike lane and then go back to the sidewalk after passing the pedestrian(s).
    Can anyone reading this mention this tactic at the meeting ?

    • I agree, we do the same. Where there is no bike lane we use the sidewalk unless there is pedestrians then we get off and walk our bikes.
      With limited parking we bike to Time Square often.
      I will try to attend Mondays meeting.

      • My kids are grown young adults that like to rent bikes. I would never let them ride in the bike lane. Way too dangerous, especially with the pi$$ poor lighting on Estero Blvd.

    • I agree, and my husband and I do the same. Like many others who use e-bikes, we are older and retired, and do not ride fast and crazy like some have characterized us! We ride in from FM and, truly, it would be so much easier to just drive if it weren’t for the horrible traffic and lack of parking. Making FMB friendlier to bikers will encourage more people support the businesses there while reducing traffic congestion, which seems like a no-brainer to me.

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