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Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Okaloosa-Santa Rosa needs true green transportation

| Brian Lester

Happy New Years!

We keep being told “be more green, conserve energy, reduce CO2, stop using fossil fuels etc.” We’re told the solution, in transportation, is to go electric. I disagree! The most green is the 100+ year old super affordable Bicycle.

Hear me out – please don’t let your eyes glaze over on this topic.

I’m not advocating ditching your car, truck … but let’s take a look at this.

We live in an ideal place in the country where weather, terrain and roads are truly ideal for cycling.

The main issues of concern is that you take your life into your hands anytime you try to ride your bicycle. I’m I exaggerating? Unfortunately, I’m not.

We have designated bicycle paths that remain littered with garbage, nails, leftover car wreck parts.
Many automobile driver’s that refuse to even get close to abiding by the posted speed limits and refusing to give a bicycle an inch of road way in shared areas or understand how their actions could actually cost a life.

Many cyclists are unaware of the rules of the road using sidewalks, driving against traffic, riding without lights in dusk/dark or wearing identifying clothing.

Our area could be a haven for cycling. We should be encouraging cycling to our tourists – using them to get to and from the beaches, ride a bike instead of driving. Bicycle sharing in addition to the already implemented E-scooter rental. This would have the extra benefit of reducing congestion during peak season.

Encourage locals to use their bikes for recreation or maybe even once a week commute vs driving.

To really make an impact we must build a strong traffic safety and awareness campaign in our area. Slow down (heftier fines, more traffic controls), give cyclists a break on the road, cycle safety info, paint bike lanes on Beal, Eglin Pkwy, Mary Esther Cut Off etc., keep bike lanes and shoulders clear – those are just a start.

I have already contacted the Florida Highway Patrol, county roads and county representatives with these concerns. Response has been tepid.

Cycling is fun, healthy, green and inexpensive! We need to emphasize this!

Daniel Wise
Mary Esther