The League of American Bicyclists awarded St. Petersburg a silver award for bike friendliness. The city earned this award based on several metrics, including the extent of its bikeways, the creation and enforcement of laws protecting cyclists, and the city’s bicycle accident record.
St. Petersburg has a reputation for good weather, beautiful beaches, and a variety of art and cultural attractions. The city has also developed a bike plan to help guide the development of bicycle infrastructure to make bicycling in St. Petersburg safer and easier for residents.
St. Petersburg Bike Infrastructure
Bicycle infrastructure in St. Petersburg includes three types of bikeways across the city in Florida. These bikeways connect neighborhoods, and some provide commuting routes, all of this to help diminish bicycle accidents around the city.
Bicycle lanes in Pinellas County, run along the right sides of roads. These one-way lanes separate bicyclists from automobile traffic using painted lines.
These bike lanes are the least protective of bicyclists because automobiles and bikes can move freely into and out of the bike lane. This allows lane departure accidents between bicycles and automobiles.
Multi-use bike trails in St. Petersburg separate non-motorized traffic from pedestrians, bicyclists, and skateboarders. These bikeways are the safest because they completely eliminate the risk of bicycle accidents.
Greenways are roads that bicycles and automobiles can share in St. Petersburg, FL. But traffic calming devices slow down cars so they can avoid crashing into bicycles. Traffic calming devices can include:
- Lower speed limit signs
- Speed bumps
- Narrow or winding roadways
Since bikes and automobiles share these roads, they do not eliminate the risk of bicycle accidents. But greenways have a lower risk of serious bike accidents because automobile drivers must drive slower and more carefully through them.
Public Transportation in St. Petersburg
Public transportation in St. Petersburg also accommodates bicycles. Even if your neighborhood does not include bikeways, you can use public transportation to help you reach your destination.
All PSTA buses have bike racks mounted to the front of the bus. To ride, you should signal the bus driver, secure your bicycle, and enter the bus. When you leave, you should leave through the front doors so you can remind the driver you need to retrieve your bike.
When you consider which neighborhoods are bike-friendly, remember to make sure you can reach a bus stop or transit center for long-distance trips or trips to areas not served by bikeways.
Bike-Friendly St. Petersburg Neighborhoods
In evaluating bike-friendly neighborhoods, you can consider several factors, including:
- The locations and destinations of nearby bikeways
- Access to public transportation
- Local traffic congestion
- Crime rates and the risk of bike theft
St. Petersburg’s long-term bike plan explains where the city intends to expand its bicycle infrastructure. If a neighborhood you like does not currently have bikeways, you should review the bike plan to see if the city has an expansion planned.
Shore Acres sits on the east coast of St. Petersburg, northeast of downtown. This neighborhood includes a bike lane along 40th Ave. NE to enter and exit. It also has bike lanes along Overlook Dr. NE, Shore Acres Blvd. NE, and Chancellor St. NE.
The main limitations of Shore Acres include:
- No public transit in the neighborhood
- No bike trails servicing the area
- Traffic congestion at the intersection of 40th Ave. NE and Shore Acres Blvd.
Benefits of this neighborhood include easy access to parks and schools using the bike lanes in the area.
Disston Heights sits west of downtown between 5th Ave. N and 38th Ave. N. This neighborhood has bike lanes around both Jorgensen Lake Park and Gladden Park. You can access the neighborhood using the bike lane that runs east-west along 30th Ave. N across the entire city.
Some benefits of this St. Petersburg neighborhood include extensive access to public transportation and several bus routes running both east-west and north-south. Disston Heights also sits near the Grand Central Station transit center, where you can transfer to other bus routes.
Disadvantages of this neighborhood include several heavily congested roads and a lack of protected bike trails in the area.
Downtown includes the area bordered by Bayshore Dr. NE, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. NE, 1st Ave. N, and 5th Ave. N. This area has many cultural and recreational attractions, such as Williams Park, St. Pete Pier, and several museums.
Bicyclists living Downtown have easy access to public transportation. They also enjoy several major trails like the Pinellas Trail and a trail that runs along Bayshore Dr. NE and down St. Pete Pier to several attractions.
The disadvantages of living in this area are the heavy traffic, increased risk of bicycle theft, and having some of the most dangerous intersections for bicyclists and pedestrians.
Snell Isle sits just south of Shore Acres on the east coast of St. Petersburg. This neighborhood is bounded by water on its north and east sides. Access to the island comes primarily via 34th Ave. NE and Snell Isle Blvd. NE.
This neighborhood has several benefits, including generally light traffic and bike lanes on Snell Isle Blvd. NE and Monterey Blvd. NE. These two roads provide access to most of the neighborhoods, beaches, and harbors, and they also service the Vinoy Golf Club.
The drawbacks of this neighborhood include a lack of public transportation options in the neighborhood. But you can access both PSTA buses and bike trails just outside of the neighborhood on Coffee Pot Blvd. NE and 1st St. N.
Picking a Bike-Friendly Neighborhood in St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg provides a lot of information about bicycle infrastructure in the city. And according to the League of American Bicyclists, the city has an active bicycle advisory committee and is well on its way to implementing its bicycle plan.
But the city has only provided bicycle infrastructure on about 10% of its roads. When you pick your neighborhood, expect infrastructure to continue to evolve and improve in your area.