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Posts tagged ‘downtown’


There’s a Bully Driver in Downtown Lakeland

I was biking to work yesterday morning. I was in the homestretch and feeling fine. The weather was crisp and traffic, light. Heading North on Tennessee, I had crossed Lemon when I spied a woman about to get into her SUV. I slowed as she went to open her door into the lane. I didn’t move left because I heard a car speeding and gaining on me. A glance at the mirror showed the silver sedan gaining quickly.

I expected to feel the breeze as the car passed me. I hoped he’d be three-feet away, but I wasn’t counting on it. Instead I felt him rev his engine close to me and heard him hit his horn. I turned to look at what could be the problem. He was waving at me to get off the road, pointing to the sidewalk.

The woman was now safely in her car and I was 50 feet to the light at Main & Tennessee. I continued to the red light put down my foot, turned and asked “How did honking help?”

A smirk was the only answer I received. For the next two blocks the driver stayed behind me, revving his engine. Moving closer and then away. As I passed Trader’s Alley, he sped up and revved right behind me to turn into the alley.

I thought about letting it go, but I remembered a lesson learned in elementary school – don’t let the bully intimidate you. I circled back. I rode down to the center of the alley and sat 30 feet behind the parked car.

I didn’t ride up to his window and bang on his roof. I stood quietly waiting for the man in a hurry to get out of his car. I didn’t want him to feel threatened. Not the way I’d felt threatened as I lawfully rode my bike to work.

He chose to not get out of his car. I chose not to escalate by riding to his window. I rode away. Not before I snapped a picture of his car so I’d not forget the make and model. Not before I snapped a picture so I’d remember to tell all my cycling friends the make and model of the bully driver in Downtown Lakeland they need to watch more closely.

I know I’m preaching to the choir on this site. You know the laws of the road better than most vehicle drivers. You have to. They’re what keep you safer. (I’d considered writing “safe,” but we know the hazards of the inattentive, poor and bully vehicle operators.)

Do me a favor though. Pass along this post. Send it to other bully drivers you’ve met. Help them learn the proper way to deal with bikes and other vehicles. As the officer in the video below explains to the driver, “This is a lane of traffic and I’m a vehicle. I have the right to this road.”

Ask them to read the information at Florida Bicycle Law

Ask them to take the Yield to Life Driver’s Test

Most of all, invite them to ride their bike to work. Ask them to try it for a week. Maybe they’ll start to understand how different it is to hear that horn outside the car.

Who are you honking at? from Keri Caffrey on Vimeo.


Welcome Gigi, Celso, Haru and Sophie!

As you move about Downtown you may notice that some yellow curlicues have sprouted on select street corners. The 3′ tall metal culicues are bike racks sponsored by the BikeLakeland initiative. The private organization chose downtown as the starting point in its effort to establish Lakeland as a “bike friendly” city.

BikeLakeland is a group of bicycling enthusiasts in Lakeland, Florida. Our group believes strongly that Lakeland can become one of Florida’s premier bike friendly communities. The BikeLakeland mission is to bring together Lakeland area bicyclists, business people, and city employees to increase awareness to effect positive change for bicycle riders in this area.

The four downtown bike racks are the “sons and daughters” of Cindi the Cyclist and her partner BikeLakeland. Cindi is the artistic bike rack located in Munn Park across from Nathan’s Mens Store. To make the downtown racks easier to find, they’re all painted yellow.

Playfully named like Cindi, the racks are “Gigi” (Kentucky at Traders Alley), “Celso” (Lemon at Kentucky), “Haru” (Tennessee at Main), and “Sophie” (Pine at Tennessee). A fifth bike rack is planned, but the committee chose to delay the installation in hopes of getting public feedback about the best location for the last Downtown rack.

In addition to the work of the many members of BikeLakeland, generous donations were made by Spring Obsession and CSX. Donations to BikeLakeland are channeled through the Community Foundation of Greater Lakeland and can be made online at

BikeLakeland is a true public-private partnership. The organization consists of interested citizens and city staff who volunteer their time. Community Development staff guided the bike rack project through City Hall, and Public Works donated labor for the installation.

BikeLakeland would like to thank the following city employees who gave their time and expertise to make these bike racks possible: Tamara Sakagawa, Nicole Travis, Chuck Barmby, Rick Lilyquist, David Uria, Mike Whigham, Warren Bryant, Pam Page, Kim Stopiak, and Manuel Fields.






BikeLakeland First Friday Bicycle Night