The Motorized Bike Dilemma

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How dangerous are motorized bikes on a small, crowded one-lane road? The Upside: For every additional bike being used on Fort Myers Beach, it’s one less car contributing to the massive traffic headache. The Downside: Without a designated shared use path, it becomes a free-for-all between bikers, walkers, automobiles and….The Mayor.

Fort Myers Beach Mayor Ray Murphy has said it isn’t going to be pretty when he gets hit by someone riding a motorized bike. Murphy says he’s had a close call or two while walking his dogs, noting some e-bike riders are on the sidewalk which is a no-go on Fort Myers Beach.

If you’re riding a motorized bike, it must be in the road, and it must be with the traffic. Of course on Fort Myers Beach when you add in the road construction and the lack of bike paths in certain stretches, that leaves bikers no option but to ride in the road. That, in turn, angers drivers who are already dealing with heavy traffic, having to slow down to avoid hitting the slower riding motorized bikes.

It’s important to also note that these motorized bikes are not allowed to be on the sand because of the danger the bikes pose to beach goers, especially young kids who have no idea one of these bikes could be headed their way when they dart for the water.

Section 28-84 of town ordinance 18-02 states that no bicycle having any type of helper motor and having two or more wheels shall be driven upon any public sidewalk, path or beach.

It’s also against the law on Fort Myers Beach not to have some sort of horn or audible device on any bicycle you’re riding. However that horn cannot “emit an unreasonably loud or harsh sound or whistle.” And, it’s against town law not to have a functioning light (day and night) on the front and back of all bikes, that shoots 500 feet in both directions. How that’s enforced and by whom is anybody’s guess.

Town Councilman wanted to bring the ordinance up for discussion after beach resident Lou Daviau wrote the council a letter that said, “In my community there are many elderly riding bikes. We all ride around the community observing the 10 MPH speed limit as do those riding in golf carts and cars.  Electric assist bikes bring the joy of riding back to those of us who are aging. It allows us to cross the bridge coming into town. It allows us to ride on the beaches where the peddling is a bit more strenuous than on a paved street.” Both Vice Mayor Hosafros and Councilman Bill Veach wanted nothing to do with revisiting the ordinance and shot down Allers’ idea quickly.

We’ll be discussing the motorized bike issue on our Saturday show with Daviau. You can also join our conversation about motorized bikes taking place now on our Facebook page HERE.