BELLEAIR BLUFFS — The sidewalks on the Belleair Beach Causeway Bridge are for walkers. And that includes those with bicycles.
That message will soon be delivered with signs placed by the county on the bridge, which is county-owned. They will inform bicyclists using the sidewalks to “walk your bike.” Commissioner Suzy Sofer said at the April 15 Belleair Bluffs City Commission meeting that the signs “have been decided on” and will be put up soon. City Administrator Debra Sullivan also said the county had agreed to do the signs.
“Now, hopefully, there will be no more instances of bicyclists hitting the walkers,” Sofer said. She had told of a woman who was run into by a bicyclist riding on the sidewalk and was severely injured, with over $30,000 in medical bills.
A “Walk your bike” sign to keep bicycle riders from endangering pedestrians on the sidewalk is especially needed as the Causeway Bridge has become a “recreation path,” said Sullivan. She and several commissioners noted the bridge is heavily used by pedestrians both for exercise and to access the beach.
“Anytime you have someone going too fast, it’s very dangerous, especially with a lot of people around,” Sofer said.
“It’s an unsafe situation,” said Sullivan.
Commissioner Taylour Shimkus also said bicyclists “are not very friendly when you’re walking.”
“It’s like, ‘Get out of my way,’” she said.
Sofer said she hopes the “Walk your bike” signs will be helpful in creating a safer environment for walkers, and in keeping walkers and bicyclers away from a collision course.
The message should be clear, Sofer said. The bike lane is for riders. The sidewalk is for walkers, both with and without bikes.
She added, “We’re not forcing them into the street, we’re just telling them, when on the sidewalk, walk like the other walkers.”
Dolphin coming to City Park
The city is getting one of the life-sized fiberglass dolphin sculptures from the county. It will be put on the corner in the park next to City Hall, Sullivan said. She said it is currently being refurbished.
The dolphins are placed throughout the county, each one uniquely decorated by an artist. Sullivan said she has asked Beth Warmath, who painted the mural at Belleair Market on Indian Rocks Road, to create the design on the city’s dolphin sculpture. “It already has blue mosaic tiles at the bottom,” said Sullivan.
“Oh cool!” said Commissioner Joseph Barkley, when he heard of the dolphin’s coming.