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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Florida the rules are different here Chapter XXXI

Bike safety for Hispanics. Lee County got a $16,987 state Emergency Medical Service grant for it. Bike safety is for everyone, I wouldn't think race would be an issue in it but that's just me. Will any lessons include how to dodge elderly car drivers who want to play bumper bike with you?

You got to love Florida.

Open Post- Bright & Early, Assorted Babble, Basil's Blog,

If you're a Hispanic man who rides a bicycle, you may soon find Lee County telling you how to be a safer cyclist.

Lee Emergency Medical Services responded to 74,996 emergencies last year, and 199 of them were bicycle accidents. Of those, 157 involved males, 29 were Hispanic men, and six had traumatic injuries.

So the county health department plans to use grant money to hand out brochures and bike safety equipment in predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods.

On Tuesday, county commissioners are expected to accept a $16,987 state Emergency Medical Service grant to promote bicycle safety awareness.

"With the Hispanic male population, we are finding they are on bikes at night, they are not dressing in a way that makes them visible, and helmet use is close to zero," said Dan Moser, bicycle/pedestrian program coordinator for Lee County Health Department.

Why specifically Hispanic males?

Because, Moser said, Hispanic men tend to make up a large bulk of cyclists in Lee County, which includes the illegal immigrant population who often have trouble getting driver's licenses or paying for a vehicle. They are often seen riding at night with no lights on their bikes and without reflective clothing, Moser said.

The News-Press tried to talk about the safety program with Hispanic men riding their bicycles, but they declined comment.

Of the 143 traffic fatalities in Lee County last year, eight involved cyclists, of which six were Hispanic men, according to county statistics. EMS medics reported four of the six were at night.

Ruth Suarez is programs coordinator for The Nations Association Charities on Palm Beach Boulevard in east Fort Myers. Her group helps those in need with food, clothing, legalization and other assistance, and many of their clients are Hispanic.

At least three out of 10 ride bicycles, and "they are definitely riding them for transportation," not recreation, Suarez said.

"We need to get the word out (about bicycle safety) and tell them, your family doesn't want you to come back in a coffin," Suarez said. "They want you to work hard and hopefully get the whole family here."

Moser said the Florida Department of Transportation is even planning to install a center median on Palm Beach Boulevard, where many of the bicycle accidents occur, to make pedestrian crossings safer.

The concept of the grant is similar to $25,000 for which the Lee Department of Transportation applied in March. That money would pay for portable theater equipment and educational materials to show bicycle and pedestrian safety films in parks in predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods.

With the county's 25 percent match, totaling $22,650, the latest grant will buy 500 bike helmets, 5,200 bike lighting kits, and 500 reflective vests. County staff will install the lights on each participant's bike, and bi-lingual paramedics will help promote the program.

A bilingual brochure promoting bike safety will be given out, explaining common U.S. traffic laws, signs, rules and behaviors.

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