Bicycles and right of way
Are bikes meant for roads or sidewalks?
It seems that bicyclists fall into two categories. There are the casual bikers who occasionally ride for a little exercise or simply a diversion. Then there are the "hobby" bikers who often wear tight outfits that for some age groups, simply shouldn't be worn. I commend both types of riders for staying fit.
But where do bikers belong? There has been a lot of talk that bikes have the same rights on the road as autos. I'm confused about that. Shouldn't that mean that bikes should stop for red lights, that bikes should obey signs, like "walk your bike across bridge span." If bikes "share the road," why don't they pay taxes in the form of license plates? And if they have the same access to our roads as an auto, why don't they pay a toll when crossing a bay area bridge?
These questions come to mind because bikes also take over sidewalks. On several recent walks in St. Petersburg, as we were walking our dog on a leash, bikes quietly and quickly overtook us from the rear. You can imagine the injuries that could be caused if the dog had suddenly decided to veer one way or another and the bike either hit the dog, his extended leash, or us.
So do bikes belong on sidewalks or streets or both? By the way, the bikers on the sidewalks were adults.
I say we should all play by the rules, but someone needs to tell me if adults on bikes belong on sidewalks.
Wayne Szczepanski, St. Pete Beach
Bullies on bikes a problem on trail
I often walk on the paved trail at Fort De Soto. While on the trail, I always try to obey the rules and stay in the area designated for pedestrians. Why can't bicyclists do the same?
Time after time, I have had to step off the trail to keep from being run over by bullies on bicycles. And they're usually old bullies, senior citizens. The other day, I was in heels and preferred to stay on the pavement, so when a group of four or five old geezers approached me, I stood my ground. None of them had the courtesy to get in single file. And one old man gave me a sadistic smile as he rode closely past me.
Granted, he was probably on medication that makes him mean. Regardless, more signs should be put up reminding bike riders that pedestrians are allowed on the trail, too.
Debbie Moore, Plant City
Vending machines to slim down | Feb. 14, story
City can play role in healthy food habits
Bill Dudley's remarks in this article in the Neighborhood Times were very disturbing. I applaud the city of St. Petersburg for understanding the implications of healthy eating — not just from a financial standpoint (lower health care costs over time), but also the fact that it is just the right thing to do.
Someone has to take a stand. The fast-food restaurants, candy and soda companies won't stop making unhealthy foods, the marketing companies will continue to pump money into campaigns pushing these foods, and some families will continue to buy the products because they may not be educated about their dangers.
Our city and schools can take a stand and start the education process in regard to healthy eating. Putting new items in the vending machines is a good way to start the ball rolling.
This is such a necessary change the city needs to make. Having access to healthier foods will give city employees more energy and, over time, contribute to a healthier work force in general. It is especially important to have healthy options in schools. Kids will follow our lead, whether it is right or wrong, healthy or unhealthy. We need to help them learn to make good choices and educate them about these choices.
I was so disappointed to see that City Council member Dudley "said he didn't want the city to go too far pushing good eating … 'It's like Big Brother is watching.' " He said that time spent on this issue could be better spent by filling potholes.
This made my stomach turn! Childhood obesity is an epidemic in our country. We all need to step up and make changes. If we don't help our youth learn to make healthy choices, who will? This is a good first step for the city of St. Petersburg.
Christie Bruner, St. Petersburg
Sam's Club plan runs into busy road | Feb. 17, story
Need for traffic light seems obvious
I'll bet that Joe Kubicki, St. Petersburg's director of transportation, is not a frequent user of the shopping center where the proposed Sam's Club is to be built. Otherwise, he would see the need for a traffic light at 22nd Avenue and 32nd Street.
I visit the center at least once a week, and often have a frustrating time exiting it to go west on 22nd Avenue, or south on 34th Street. Either way often involves a "skin-of-your-teeth" dash across 22nd or 34th, or going east on 22nd until some kind of awkward way to turn west can be improvised.
This situation will worsen if there is additional traffic from Sam's Club.
Jane Zurflieh, St. Petersburg
The deadbeat next door Feb. 14, story
Condo associations must push for help
Your article in the Neighborhood Times is right on. The problem as noted in the article is that the law provides protection to the deadbeat condo owner and the banks, and very little to the owners who play by the rules and pay the cost of the deadbeats.
We need better laws in this area, and the only way this is going to happen is for a number of condo associations and their management companies to pressure our representatives to provide protection for us and not just for the banks who contribute to their campaigns.
We need to change this. As in the case of my association, we have been under this problem, and the bank is just playing the delaying game. And the courts can do nothing, so we pay the price each month.
Richard A. Prestera, Treasure Island