Bike path makes Anna Maria Island roadways safer for pedestrians, drivers

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After many close calls and narrow misses, the issue of pedestrian safety brought enough attention to Gulf Drive on Anna Maria Island for the city to take action.

Gabriella Gilbert and her mom, Lindy had a near-miss of their own.

"There was a car seat on the back of my mom's bike. It was so busy that, as she was riding, she was riding in the right lane and this car came out of nowhere and we were almost in an accident," said Gabriella. 

There have been a few accidents. Thankfully no one has been killed and the city wants to keep it that way.

City Commissioner Amy Tripp said the in-season traffic of the past has become the day-to-day normal on the island.

After hearing stories from people who were nearly hit or injured, the city decided to pave over a ditch and create a multi-use path.

"For me it was inevitable. It was going to happen in the near future and we needed to make that type of accommodation for that type of traffic," said Mayor Dan Murphy. 

The multi-use path stretches eight feet wide and seven blocks long and an addition will come soon.  Once complete it'll give riders and walkers a safer 4-mile route. 

"The path will go down all the way through the city, mostly on streets that are less traveled. We have a route that brings it through the city and brings it back out this way so you can safely go in and exit our city," said Mayor Murphy.