The Florida Bicycle Association was founded in Sarasota and was instrumental in getting the bike helmet law passed in 1997. The law requires any cyclist under 16 to wear a helmet.
There are several cycling clubs in Sarasota. The Manatee Cycling Club advocates putting a mirror on handlebars of bicycles, saying that makes cycling even safer. The club is not advocating a requirement but is just encouraging the use of mirrors.
Some people oppose laws requiring helmets. They say the laws discourage people from taking up cycling and the helmet provides a false sense of security. They advocate more safe-riding education instead.
Bicycles are considered vehicles in Florida, meaning bicycles have the same rights and responsibilities that automobiles have on the road. Sarasota allows riding on sidewalks, where the rules change and bicycles follow same rules as pedestrians.
Traffic signals direct automobiles and take pedestrians into consideration. Sarasota is one of the first cities in the nation to experiment with traffic signals that also take bicyclists into consideration.
Police in Sarasota, along with cycling clubs, promote safety in the schools by conducting clinics on bike safety. Some also offer helmets at low cost to encourage their use.
Article Written By James Jordan
James Jordan has been a writer and photographer since 1980. He has worked for newspapers in Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina and Kansas, winning state press association awards for writing, photography and page design. In 1995 he received his master's in Christian education and completed two years of Ancient Greek at the graduate level. Jordan holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism.