People who bike to work in Naples get gear to keep them safe

Reporter: Lauren Leslie Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
Bike safety equipment
Bike safety equipment (Credit: WINK News)

Naples has a new initiative to help make it safer for workers who work late at night or early in the morning and commute on their bikes.

Many of them did not have the proper gear to keep them safe on their commute. It’s something Naples police noticed, so they did something to change it.

When Hector Hernandez rode up on his bike, he was without a helmet, a reflective vest, or anything to keep him safe, but he made it to work with a smile.

“One person doesn’t come to work it’s a whole different restaurant and a whole different service timing when the plates come out, so the back of our house is our backbone, and we really need all of them to be coming to and from work very safely,” said Augusto Marenco, Manager at Vergina.

Now, when these workers go home, they will be more noticeable, thanks to Naples police.

“Some of the workers were going home on bicycles with no lights on them. Some of them were using their cell phones to light their way,” said Naples Police Officer Reynaldo Reyes.

“If you can’t see where you’re going, and you can’t be seen when you’re riding your bike after a super long day, you’re a target without even realizing you’re a target,” said Michelle Avola-Brown, executive director of Naples Pathways Coalition.

Avola-Brown said commuter cyclists tend to be the highest demographic who are injured or killed.

“Partially because they are riding late at night, early in the morning, when it’s dark. They’re oftentimes wearing dark-colored uniforms, hard to see,” said Avola-Brown.

To make these workers more visible, they were fitted with gear to help keep them safe.

“We have provided bike lights and reflective vests and helmets to help the cyclist be safer,” said Avola-Brown.

They got safety gear and brand-new bike locks to protect a precious asset.

“That bike is equivalent to a $3,000 or $300,000 Bentley to them because it’s just as important,” said Reyes.

The bikes are by the dozen, and there’s little parking. Something Officer Reyes said is next on his list to try and solve.

“We’re trying to take this to the next level. Provide them with a better place to put their bikes, better lighting, maybe a repair station for them so that way they can maintain their bikes and actually use them for, you know, for a while,” said Reyes.

More than 30 workers will have a safer ride home thanks to Naples police, the Norma Foundation, and Naples Pathways Coalition.

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