Bike tour to stop at UF to promote safety on bicycles, scooters
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Biking 564 miles from Miami to Tallahassee in six days, the Geico Road Safety Bicycle Tour will arrive at the University of Florida on March 15. Comprised of EMTs, firefighters, police officers and survivors of automobile crashes, the 10 cyclists will gather at UF’s Plaza of the Americas to highlight Florida Road Safety Week during UF’s Safety Fair.
Serving to educate UF students, faculty and staff of safety issues for bikers, drivers and pedestrians, the fair will feature valuable road safety information and tons of free items, including T-shirts, bike and scooter helmets and water bottles.
Held from noon until 4 p.m., the fair will continue the efforts of 2009’s Gators Do It with Helmets On campaign, a campus initiative to increase the number of UF students who wear helmets while driving and riding scooters. ShandsCair flight unit will participate, as well as Gainesville Police Department’s Mobile Unit and Bike Florida. Local bike shops will do bike inspections.
Area law officers from the Gainesville Police Department, Alachua County Sheriff’s Office and University Police Department will escort the bicyclists as they go north on SW 13th Street, west on Museum Road, north on Gale Lemerand Drive and east on Stadium Road, ending at the Plaza of the Americas.
Sgt. Nick Konopka, of UPD’s community affairs department, said no roads or sidewalks will be blocked as the bikers and police escorts travel to Plaza of the Americas.
“One lane on 13th might just have slower traffic,” Konopka said, “but the bikers go fast. It’s not unusual for them to go 20 to 25 miles per hour.”
Speakers include a Student Government representative; Dave Kratzer, interim vice president for student affairs; an Eta Sigma Gamma representative; a ShandsCair flight nurse and Ashley Groves, a scooter accident victim and the bike team captain.
Gators Do It with Helmets On campaign was started in 2009 by UF senior Wendy Alderman after she was in an accident on her scooter.
“I was in a scooter accident with no helmet and no injuries, but it prompted me to start this campaign,” said Alderman, also coordinator of the fair.
Alderman said she began the campaign after her minor accident because it made a significant impact on her. The campaign’s initiative quickened after one of Alderman’s colleagues in the College of Health and Human Performance was in a coma because of a scooter accident. The victim was not wearing a helmet.
Sponsors include Student Government’s Gator Health and Safety, University Police Department, Gainesville Police Department, Alachua County Sheriff, Gainesville Bike and Pedestrian, New Scooters 4 Less, Chain Reaction, Cool Bike Shop, Eta Sigma Gamma, GatorWell, Geico and GatorWatch.
Several sponsors will be giving away T-shirts, water bottles, bike lights, coupons and other prizes. New Scooters 4 Less, Chain Reaction and Cool Bike Shop will conduct free helmet fittings and bike inspections.
The fair is open to the public.