Improving bicycling safety: Tampa rolls forward 1 stat at a time

Significant strides have been made in the last 3 years toward improved bicycle-friendliness for the city of Tampa.

In 2016, After several prior attempts, Tampa was recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. We received the lowest level, Bronze, but it's a great starting point on the recognition ladder. By comparison, the City
of St. Petersburg is now ranked Silver. The rating system is like the earthquake Richter scale in that one notch represents many degrees of improvement. 

Nothing makes a city safer for bicyclists than flooding the streets with hundreds of bicycles! Bicycles sit outside of the John F. Germany Public Library in downtown Tampa.

Tampa launched its Coast Bike Share in December of 2014. Some 300 bikes hit the streets, and the system is now regional, with more that 1 million miles ridden.

Tampa now ranks 5th in the nation for the number of Bicycle Friendly Businesses, as rated by the same organization that rates the community. Plus USF (the University of South Florida) has earned a Silver designation. 

While no one has the goal of “let’s suck less,” that’s the best way to describe the Tampa Bay region’s Dangerous by Design rating, which uses the Pedestrian Safety Index created by Smart Growth America. Four years ago our metro area ranked 2nd worst in the nation; two years ago we rated 7th; recently we were slotted 9th. The first part of making anything better, is to stop making it WORSE! Sorry Orlando! You haven’t made it to the champions of “we suck less” awards!

In 2016 Tampa made it into Bicycle Magazine’s 50 Best Bicycle Cities! That was pretty cool.

Let us not forget one of the largest holiday bike rides and bike-builds in the nation, both take place in Tampa! December 2018 marked the 8th Winter Wonder Ride

Christine Acosta is an active transportation advocate. She is the founder of Pedal Power Promoters, a small business social enterprise that works in the public and private realms on bicycle-related initiatives, and the former executive director of Walk Bike Tampa. She serves as board member on the regional nonprofits Bike/Walk Tampa Bay, and the newly-formed Tampa Bay Mobility Alliance.
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