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Tampa Lawyer Donates $2,000 to Make Roads Safer for Bicyclists

A SWFBUD member donated $2,000 to Tampa Police for more "Share the Road It's the Law" decals to be applied on Tampa Police cruisers' rear windows.

South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers (SWFBUD), the alliance of Tampa Bay retail bicycle stores and bicycle lawyers committed to growing bicycling in Tampa Bay, is proud to announce that SWFBUD member J. Steele Olmstead donated $2,000 to the Tampa Police Department for more Share the Road It's the Law decals to be placed on police cars' rear windows.

Olmstead, a Tampa lawyer and bicyclist who has been a SWFBUD member for the past two years, presented his contribution to Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn during a check presentation ceremony in front of Tampa Police Department headquarters in downtown Tampa on Wednesday, April 25.

Castor said that more and more folks are using bicycles as a means to get around town.

“It’s more and more important to get the word out and to educate motorists on the law; they have to move over and give bicyclists three feet,” Castor said. “So, to be able to affix those stickers onto the police’s cars to educate the community is really invaluable in making this a much, much safer bicyclist city."

Last year, Tampa Police began using the Share the Road It's the Law decals, which extend across the width of the police cruisers' rear window. The decals also show that motorists must pass a bicyclist by a minimum distance of three feet in compliance with state law.

With the $2,000 donation, Tampa Police will be able to buy even more Share the Road window decals.

SWFBUD has identified bicyclist safety as a major issue in the community. Eight bicyclists in Hillsborough County have been killed since last December.

Olmstead said that the "Share the Road It's the Law" message is vital for motorists, who might not understand that bicyclists have a right to public roads. In addition, Olmstead said most motorists do not understand that they are also required to pass a bicyclist by a minimum distance of three feet. Olmstead said he's pleased that the Share the Road message will be backed by the authority of Tampa Police on cruisers across the city.

As the SWFBUD director, I appreciate the Tampa Police Department's efforts to make the city more bicycle-friendly. The Share the Road It's the Law decals on Tampa Police cars are a combination of education and law enforcement coming together for the betterment of both bicyclists and motorists.

SWFBUD is a nationally-known, award-winning group of bike shops and lawyers that works with local governments and agencies to advance bicycling in Tampa Bay and puts on the annual Bicycle Bash festival and other bike events to show the value of bicycling in Tampa Bay's communities.

Tampa resident Alan Snel is a former government and business reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He shifted from a lengthy journalism career to focus on bicycle awareness and rights activism in 2006. Snel has appeared everywhere from city council chambers to Florida's state government halls fighting for bicyclists' rights and safety.

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