Thursday, June 3, 2010

CCSO Helps East Naples Bicyclists ‘Be Safe, Be Seen’

Deputies will distribute free bike helmets, bike light kits and reflective safety vests in East Naples next week.

Deputies will be at St. Matthew’s House, 2001 Airport-Pulling Road, on Wednesday, June 9, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The effort is part of the Collier County Sheriff’s Office’s “Be Safe, Be Seen” safety initiative.

The purpose of “Be Safe, Be Seen” is to equip bicyclists and pedestrians in East Naples and Immokalee with education and safety equipment that greatly decreases their chance of being injured or killed in a traffic crash.

If a bicyclist is in need of a light kit, a deputy can also affix the light kit onto the bike. Pamphlets and fliers and other materials that promote bicycle and pedestrian safety will be distributed as well.

Funding for the yearlong initiative was provided by a grant through the Florida Department of Transportation.

More “Be Safe, Be Seen” events are planned for throughout the year in East Naples and Immokalee, areas where bicycle and pedestrian safety has been a significant problem.

Eighty percent of the traffic fatalities involving bicyclists and pedestrians reported to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office in 2009 occurred in East Naples and Immokalee. There were five pedestrian/bicyclist traffic fatalities in the county last year, four of which were in East Naples and Immokalee, according to CCSO figures.

Of the 96 bicyclists and pedestrians who were injured in traffic crashes countywide in 2009, 42 were injured in Immokalee and East Naples, CCSO figures show.