DeBary Named Bike-Friendly Community of the Year

DeBary named 'Bike Friendly Community of the Year' by nonprofit

Katie Kustura

The Daytona Beach News-Journal

DeBary, the only location where three of Central Florida's major trails converge, has been named the Bike Friendly Community of the Year by the Florida Bike Association.

"The city is becoming a mecca for cyclists, serving as a trail hub for the St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop, the Coast-to-Coast Connector, the Lake Monroe Loop and the Heart of Florida regional SUN Trail," Becky Afonso, the nonprofit's executive director, said. "It is especially noteworthy that the city established a mobility plan with connections that are bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly."

DeBary was nominated for the annual award by Maggie Ardito, co-founder, president and director of the St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop Alliance.

"They're really ideally situated there," Ardito said of the city.

The longtime trails and cycling advocate said there's still work to be done to make DeBary even more bike-friendly, such as improving the crosswalk at Dirksen Drive and South Charles R. Beall Boulevard near where the Spring-to-Spring Trail starts.

"I would say we're working hard on it, but we're not perfect yet," Ardito said.

 The DeBary City Council also has made increasing and enhancing the area trails a priority, City Manager Carmen Rosamonda said.

"Our residents, from their back door, have access to over 660 miles of trails, riding their bike to St. Petersburg, Titusville, St. Augustine or Ocala," Rosamonda said. "The new communities being developed have included trails that help link our residents to the major trails that converge in our city."

While Florida has had a history of poor bicycle and pedestrian safety, the Florida Department of Transportation has taken steps to improve infrastructure in those areas, according to the state's 2019 report card, the most recent available, by The League of American Bicyclists, a national nonprofit.