Cyclists, light up | Sept. 17, letter
Drivers, be on the lookout for cyclists
Our appreciation goes to the letter writer for bringing up the subject of bicyclists' using lights at night.
As the sun rises later and sets earlier, lights are going to become increasingly important. A study found that bicycling in the dark with no lights or with defective lights is a factor in 60 percent of adult bicyclist deaths in Florida.
When traveling in the dark, a bicyclist is required to have at least one white headlight in front that can be seen from 500 feet and a red taillight and red reflector that can be seen from 600 feet behind. That's the length of two football fields.
More lights and reflectors are better.
Cyclists should carry spare batteries in case the lights get dim. Set all the lights to flashing. Safety research shows that motorists notice flashing red bicycle lights 100 to 500 feet sooner than steady red lights.
Additionally, it's important to know that Florida Statute 316.2065(5) states that when a lane is too narrow to safely share with a car, a bicyclist is not required to ride next the curb.
The Florida Bicycle Association reiterates this and explains more about lane placement at www.floridabicycle.org/rules/bikelaw.html.
As we become more and more bicycle-friendly in Pinellas County, more and more people understand that all bicyclists, even racing, group and commuter bicyclists, are important to have around for various reasons. Thus, we see more of them on the roads everywhere, especially as more people start cutting commuting costs to deal with higher expenses and stagnant wages.
So in addition to bicyclists' learning and applying Florida's road laws, it's important for motorists to be looking for bicyclists day and night, expecting to see them everywhere, prepared to use safe driving techniques.
Kimberly Cooper, St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg is becoming the World Series of street begging, and the situation is growing worse every week.
It's not like this in Tampa or Orlando, two cities I visit often. It makes you wonder whether our city leaders care about the ordinary citizens who drive to work every day, or to the shop, store or local bank and have to see this.
If you were thinking of locating a business here, the easy choice would be Tampa or Orlando.
Bob Safransky, St. Petersburg
Rumors of changes of party, ballot carry a grain of truth Sept. 24, story
Long has integrity
I was very impressed with Rep. Janet Long and her decision to not play the political game of switching parties. This is one state representative who feels an obligation to be true to the people who elected her to office.
With the political climate as it is and with so many citizens feeling that their representatives do not represent anything but special-interest groups, it is both refreshing and hopeful that we still have people with integrity serving us in our state Legislature.
Rep. Long, I am proud of you.
Ray Neri, Lealman
Hospital bill shocks | Sept. 21, letter
ERs have many ills
I worked for many years in a hospital emergency room. St. Petersburg General is one of several HCA facilities in the area, and if the letter writer had checked, most of the area emergency rooms have similar prices.
A puncture wound needs treatment but is not an emergency. Since most of the population treats emergency rooms as clinics and in far too many cases, as free clinics, those patients who do pay, along with the insurance companies, are left to pick up the slack. Health care in this country is largely a for-profit business and is run as a business as much as possible.
Then there is the matter of malpractice insurance, which is exorbitantly priced due to many frivolous lawsuits and judgments.
If you have a minor injury or illness, there are a large number of freestanding clinics that charge much less. The thing is, you are expected to pay at the time of service or you don't receive the service.
In emergency rooms, all but the most minor complaints must be treated right then or they risk legal action.
There needs to be a solution between our for-profit health care and the socialized medicine in other countries.
I have no solutions, just a bit of an explanation.
But don't blame the hospital. Blame our legal (not justice) system and too many people's sense of entitlement and lack of responsibility.
Dorinda Rote, St. Petersburg
On the afternoon of Sept. 16, I noticed a fire truck parked right outside our home, on Second Avenue N near 40th Street. There were several firefighters outside testing the fire hydrant.
I called my 4-year-old son to the window, knowing he would love to see them in action. When they were finished, one of the men noticed my son at the window and beckoned us to come outside. We did, and my son was treated to a grand tour of the fire truck.
I regret that I didn't get the names of the guys (and gal) who were on the truck that day, but I hope they see this letter.
I am so grateful that they took time out of their workday to notice my little boy. He has not stopped talking about the fire truck since then. It made quite an impact on him, and I'm sure he will never forget it.
Thank you so much for your kindness.
May God bless you and protect you!
Amanda Cooper, St. Petersburg