May is National Bike Month, a celebration of the bicycle and its extensive impact on wellness, transportation, and sustainability. In 2023, Bike to Work Week is May 15-21, with Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 19. Whether for health, environmental, social, or economic reasons, bicycling can be a great way to get around town. Below we highlight a few of the numerous benefits of biking, trail options in Sarasota and bike safety tips to make sure you get where you need to go safely.
Benefits of Biking
Biking also reduces your contribution to climate-changing pollution like carbon dioxide, which are produced by cars and trucks. Swapping a bike trip for a vehicle commute will substantially reduce the greenhouse gas emissions (pollution) you create, while also saving you gas money and preventing wear-and-tear on your vehicle.
Along with decreasing your carbon footprint, biking has several health and wellness benefits. Biking can help strengthen your heart, lungs, and bloods vessels by providing low-impact exercise. Other potential benefits include increases in flexibility and strength as well coordination and balance. Getting outside also reduces stress and promotes mindfulness.
Bike Friendly Sarasota: The Legacy Trail
The Legacy Trail is a non-motorized multi-use trail, just under 20 miles in length, and extends from Venice to downtown Sarasota. Formerly a railroad corridor, the trail passes through a variety of unique habitats and includes a series of interpretive signs and stop stations.
Multiple trailheads provide access and other amenities. The Legacy Trail has several connecting trails including the Venetian Waterway Park, and the North Port Connector via surface road pedestrian facilities such as bikes lanes.
Trailhead parks and parking are located at (from north to south):
- Shamrock Park
- Skip Stasko Park (Parking only)
- Venice Train Depot
- Patriots Park
- Nokomis Riverview Park (Parking only)
- Nokomis Community Park
- Laurel Park
- Oscar Scherer State Park (entry fee)
- Osprey Junction Trailhead
- Legacy Trail Access-McIntosh Road (Parking only)
- Culverhouse Nature Park
- Ashton Trailhead
- Sarasota Springs Trailhead
- Pompano Trailhead
- Payne Park
Bike safety Tips
Below are a few safety tips from the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website. Visit here to learn more.
- Ride in the same direction as traffic and stay as far to the right as possible. Use bike lanes whenever you can.
- Cross at intersections and never pull out into the roadway from between parked cars.
- All bicycle riders and passengers under age 16 are required by Florida Law to wear a helmet. Always wear a properly fitted helmet and securely fasten the strap.
- Be seen. Wear neon or fluorescent or bright colors when riding and wear something that reflects light (reflective shoes, reflective tape, etc.).
Biking is a great way to do your part to help promote a more Sustainable Sarasota, get some carefree exercise, and save money all at the same time. Hope to see you on The Legacy Trail soon!
- Sustainable Transportation: Rethinking Your Ride webinar recording
- Sarasota County Bicycling
- Sarasota County Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan Update
- Current Sarasota County Bicycle and Walking Routes Interactive Map
- Legacy Trail brochure
- Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) bike safety
- Florida Bicycle Signs and Signals brochure
- Florida Pedestrian and Bicycle Resource Center