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Don’t ban our e-bikes from the Pinellas Trail | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Thursday’s letters to the editor.
Ebikes parked in Fred Howard Park in Tarpon Springs.
Ebikes parked in Fred Howard Park in Tarpon Springs. [ STEPHANIE HAYES | Times ]
Published Jan. 5

E-bikes aren’t the problem

Motorized mayhem on the PInellas Trail | Letter, Dec. 31

E-bikes are considered bicycles under Florida law (so long as they are capable of being pedaled and limited to a maximum speed of 20 mph) and are permitted wherever conventional bikes are allowed. The Pinellas Trail signage does indeed prohibit “motors.” Realize that those signs were posted before e-bikes were well known. The intent was to restrict usage by gas-powered vehicles. We have owned e-bikes for 4 years now, before “e-bike” was a household word.

As for “bad manners”: We often have been harassed and endure profanity from the 20-mph Spandex crowd who feel that they own the trail. That negativity continues today.

Forward Pinellas recently conducted a speed study on the Pinellas Trail using counters and radar over 10 hours of field observation. Executive director Whit Blanton stated that the frequency of e-bikes exceeding the 20 mph limit was very low. They recorded 5,729 speeding bikes (yes, including non-electric bikes), with an overall rate of 1.05%. He also said there was no evidence that e-bikes were speeding. It was “more of a perception issue.”

At age 74, I downsized from one car, and we now use our e-bikes for commuting to our jobs and volunteer gigs, grocery shopping and pleasure riding, nearly all on the Pinellas Trail. We use the electric pedal assist to increase our range and endurance, while getting a workout. The thought of restricting our travel to Florida’s dangerous streets is a deadly option.

Ray Dabkowski, Dunedin

It’s a literal race out there

Tampa Bay traffic

Reckless driving has become more and more prevalent on our roads these days. Coming south in the center lane of I-75 out of Brandon last Sunday at the posted speed limit of 70 mph I was regularly passed on both sides by motorists doing 75 to 80 mph. On at least four occasions, I was forced to slow down to allow vehicles of all descriptions chasing each other in and out of all three lanes of traffic at speeds approaching 90 mph. All the while no Florida Highway Patrol vehicles were in evidence — hardly unusual these days. Message to Gov. Ron DeSantis: Stop picking fights with Mickey and Goofy, drop the idea of flying migrants from Texas to places like Martha’s Vineyard at great cost to the taxpayers, and seriously rethink having a statewide grand jury investigate COVID-19 medicines as we await the arrival of the next pandemic from China that’s just around the corner. Instead, how about putting more visible state troopers on our increasingly dangerous highways in order to stem the epidemic of reckless and road rage driving?

Fred Kalhammer, Sun City Center

Reap what they sow

President Trump’s tax returns released | Dec. 31

The Democrats stuck another knife in their vendetta against former President Donald Trump by releasing his personal income tax returns. No legal expert has since come forward to state that he broke any laws. Honestly, I don’t care whether he paid any taxes or none at all. All true Americans care about is God, our families and our country, all of which I believe were better off under President Trump! As for Trump’s foreign dealings, including China, let’s see how President Biden fares given the information that has been revealed on his son’s laptop. The Democrats got what they wanted. Now they are going to reap what they sowed.

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Mark Khan, Tampa

Not so free

A victory lap | Jan. 4

Gov. Ron DeSantis in his inaugural speech touted his achievements over the past four years and the strides made regarding individual freedom in the state of Florida. In fact, our freedoms have been restricted since he won the last election for governor. Abortion rights and transgender rights are two examples. Library books are being removed from shelves and teachers are being told they cannot teach basic curriculum because some people find history to be offensive. Meanwhile, the real issues that plague our state like housing costs, health care and the cost of insurance continue to remain on the back burner.

Shelley Foster, Clearwater

What ‘woke’ is

A victory lap | Jan. 4

One definition of “woke” is “an active awareness of systemic injustices and prejudices, especially those involving the treatment of ethnic, racial or sexual minorities.” Gov. Ron DeSantis proudly states that Florida should be the antithesis of this definition — the state where “woke goes to die’” and along with it, tolerance, respect and dignity. What Floridians should feel is not pride, but shame.

Miriam Innocenti, Apollo Beach

Don’t leave it idling

Hillsborough County worker hurt in struggle during carjacking | Dec. 30

As I read the article about the Hillsborough County building inspector who was injured in a carjacking, I couldn’t help but wonder why he had left his vehicle idling to begin with. With climate change a documented fact, why would anyone leave a vehicle idling? Why don’t our local governments have policies against this?

Elizabeth Corwin, Tampa