Safer bikes due to St. Francis House volunteer

BernieMacBikeLight

By NewsLine Staff
mail@floridanewsline.com

This Saturday, Feb. 6, from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m., students from Flagler College will be helping install front and back lights on neighborhood bicycles. Bernie MacDonald, a volunteer at St. Francis House, will be installing lights on Sunday, Feb. 7 from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. Just bring your bike to St. Francis House, located at 70 Washington St.  

The idea for this free community service came to MacDonald one night as he was driving home and saw a wobbly shadowed figure just in front of his headlights. He slowed down and soon realized it was a man on a bike with no lights. Macdonald recognized the rider immediately as a man he had served lunch to at St. Francis House.

“Afterwards, I couldn’t get this out of my mind,” MacDonald said. “How many more people are on the roads without bike lights?”

MacDonald made it his mission to find donated bicycle lights, feeling confident he could then organize getting them installed. After a few phone calls and some legwork, he coordinated with Heather Neville of VeloFest.org who connected with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office to get front and rear bicycle lights for many of the residents of St. Francis House. In November, MacDonald and VeloFest installed more than 75 bicycle lights.

Part of the VeloFest mission is to build a mutually beneficial environment for cyclists and four- wheels to co-exist peacefully. VeloFest recently purchased an additional 1000 lights and these are the ones to be installed on neighborhood bicycles this weekend.

St. Francis House is the only full-time housing crisis center between Jacksonville and Daytona. Sponsorships are needed to purchase another crucial item: bicycle locks for the residents. Contact Karen Lundquist at (904) 829-8937 or klundquiststfrancisshelter@yahoo.com if you have bike locks to donate or if you would like to volunteer.

Photo courtesy St. Francis House
Bernie MacDonald, St. Francis House volunteer, and Heather Neville of VeloFest will be installing bike lights Feb. 6 – 7.