COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. — Pedestrian and cyclist safety is a hot topic in communities across Southwest Florida. Now, leaders in Collier County are looking for ways to reduce deadly encounters between cars and people.
Friday, the Collier Metropolitan Planning Organization met to discuss how to make the county safer for people who walk and ride bicycles. One goal is to widen bike lanes, and even create bike lane buffers, to create more separation between cars and bicyclists. Another option could include lowering the speed limit on some roads.
"Where the posted speed limit is 45 miles an hour or greater, your chances of surviving a crash with a car is about ten percent or lower," said Anne McLaughlin, executive director of Collier MPO.
Michelle Avola of the Naples Pathways Coalition said she would like to see more cyclists on Collier County's roadways, and wants them to be made safer.
"People in cars are not necessarily looking out for those on bikes," Avola said.
She said cyclists need to do their part too by wearing helmets.
"They're not required by law if you're over sixteen, but who doesn't want to protect their brain?" she said.
McLaughlin said the goals of reducing - and even eliminating - deadly crashes between cars and people are ambitious but achievable. But they come at a cost.
"They're expensive," she said. "A bike lane on both sides of a road might cost $250,000 a mile."