Safety for bike riders of all ages is a serious issue in our state. Florida consistently rates ahead of the rest of the country in cyclist injuries and fatalities. In fact, rates of cyclist fatalities tend to be triple that of the rest of the U.S. If you ride a bike in The Sunshine State, you need to ride defensively, be alert, and have the proper safety equipment. The following are some tips to make your cycling as safe as possible:
- Make sure your bike is in proper working order and your seat and handlebars are properly adjusted for your body size. Make sure your tires are in good condition and properly inflated.
- Follow the rules of the road. Many bike riders don’t realize this, but cyclists are required to follow the same rules of the road as motor vehicles, including stopping at stop signs and obeying traffic signals.
- Make yourself visible. You can do this by wearing brightly colored clothing designed for riding. This often has reflective material that makes a rider more visible when illuminated by a car’s headlights. It’s also good idea to have reflectors on the bike itself. Lights! Lights! Lights! Lights on the front and back of your bike are a must when riding at night. Not only will a headlight allow you to see potholes or debris in the road, it will allow motorists a better chance to see you. It’s also a good idea to have a flashing red light on the rear of your bike. Remember to bring extra batteries appropriate for the bike’s lights when riding at night. Read the rest »
A Manatee County jury has awarded a 52-year-old Longboat Key bicyclist $2.3 million after he was struck while riding his recumbent bike and dragged underneath a car. The jury determined that his injuries, which included three fractured vertebrae and multiple facial injuries, prevented him from continuing his riding lifestyle.
The accident happened in March 2010, when an 82-year-old Rome, N.Y resident driving a rented Honda sedan made a left-hand turn into the bike lane from Gulf of Mexico Drive on Longboat Key. According to witnesses, the cyclist yelled, “He’s going to hit me!” before he was struck by the Honda. Read the rest »
Riding a bike, especially in Florida, can be a hazardous activity. An article in FloridaToday.com reported that the Cocoa Beach City Commission was considering an ordinance designed to curb abuse and harassment of bicyclists, pedestrians, and joggers.
Skip Beeler, the mayor of Cocoa Beach and an avid cyclist, proposed the ordinance as a means to prevent Cocoa Beach bicycle accidents. He claims he has been threatened numerous times by people “yelling or beeping their horn right in [my] ear.” He says this is not only distracting, but can be dangerous when it startles an unsuspecting cyclist.
“Bicyclists have the right to be on the road,” he said. “There’s a lot of bad behavior among a small group of motorists.” Read the rest »
An Orange City teen was injured when he rode his bicycle into an SUV Wednesday afternoon, September 21, and has been cited by the Florida Highway Patrol for violating the right of way of the SUV and for not wearing his helmet. A helmet is a requirement for any bicyclist under the age of 16. The 13-year-old hit the vehicle at the corner of Sparkman Avenue and West Blue Springs when the SUV, driven by a 67-year-old man, pulled into the intersection and was hit in the right rear section of the vehicle. The teen was taken to Florida Hospital Fish Memorial in Orange City. His injuries are not considered life-threatening.
Orange City was the scene of another collision this week involving a 14-year-old pedestrian on his way to school who was hit by a teacher driving to University High School. He is listed in stable condition but the teacher received a citation for violating the teen’s right of way. Read the rest »
In Lakeland, Florida, a 68-year old man from Vermilion, Ohio was riding his bicycle when he was struck and killed by a vehicle that left the scene of the fatal accident, according to The Morning Journal.
A 54-year-old woman was driving southbound on US 98 North, and reportedly drifted off the road and into the man. The article reports she was seen driving erratically before the deadly Florida bike collision. The driver then made the mistake of fleeing the scene after which she reportedly struck a Chrysler van, and then a Kia Sorento whose drivers were trying to apprehend her. A short time later the woman was taken into custody, treated for minor injuries, and then charged with leaving the scene of a Florida bike crash with death and property damage. Toxicity tests were taken and further charges are pending. Read the rest »
Two Avon Park teens were injured Thursday night, October 21, when they were riding on a single bicycle on the shoulder of northbound U.S. 27 and for some unknown reason, they pulled in front of a motor vehicle, causing the bicycle and car to collide. Deyven Lee Bottner Scott, 16, and Jim Allan Bass, Jr., 17, and were listed in critical and serious condition respectively following the 9 p.m. crash with the 2010 Chevy 4-door being driven by William Edgar Futch of Sebring.
The story in The News Sun says nothing about the condition of Futch following the Florida bicycle accident, but Bottner Scott and Chevy were thrown from the bike onto the road and the bicycle was lodged under the bumper of the Chevy. A medical helicopter was called to the scene to pick up the teens to take them to area hospitals. Read the rest »
Roger Grooters, 66, of Gulf Breeze, Florida wanted to help the victims of this year’s BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, so he decided a cross-country bike ride would raise awareness and funds. On Wednesday morning, October, 6, he was struck by a truck being driven by Eddie Hogg, 41 of Molino, just outside of Panama City according to News4Jax.com. Grooters began his mission on September 10 in Oceanside, California, and was just days short of completing his 3,200-mile trip.
In lieu of flowers, his family is asking people to support Roger’s mission by making a donation to assist victims of the Gulf Coast oil spill. Read the rest »
It was just the second day of school and a teacher was turning into Lakeside Junior High School in Orange Park, Tuesday, August 24. Unfortunately, the teacher struck bicyclist, Joshua Gallettan, 33, who was heading south on the sidewalk. The accident happened at about 8:20 a.m. along Moody Avenue, according to an article on News4Jax.com. The bicyclist was taken to Orange Park Medical Center, and then airlifted to Shands Jacksonville in critical condition. The teacher was identified as Marilyn Duke, 61, who was not injured in the accident. Mr. Gallettan had no connection to the school. Since the accident happened about an hour before the start of school, it is not believed that any students witnessed the collision.
Our prayers go out to the family of Mr. Gallettan for his swift and complete recovery. Read the rest »
The 75-year-old son of former Florida Governor LeRoy Collins was killed Thursday July 29, while riding his bicycle in South Tampa according to a News4Jax article. LeRoy Collins Jr. was crossing South Hyde Park Avenue at Brorein Street when he was hit by an SUV just before 7 a.m. Collins lived on nearby Davis Island and was known to be an active cyclist and rower.
Collins considered himself a fortunate man.
He had recently celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary, had all four children living within four miles along with eight grandchildren, was able to row 10 miles in an outing and swim 1,000 yards, along with cycling. He got up every morning at 5:30 a.m. to bike to the University of Tampa rowing club. Read the rest »
Three bicyclists were hospitalized after they were injured by a hit-and-run driver on U.S. 1 in St. Augustine Monday afternoon, according to an article in The Florida Times-Union. Two cyclists were taken to Shands in Jacksonville and one was transported to Flagler Hospital in St. Augustine. The driver who hit the cyclists has been identified as Michael Nally, 42, who was behind the wheel of a PT Cruiser heading northbound on Ponce De Leon Boulevard when he swerved into the three cyclists just before 1 p.m., hit them, but then kept driving. Fortunately, a Good Samaritan followed Nally and then called police and told them he pulled into a bar on North Ponce De Leon. The witness also told police that he saw a beer can thrown from the car. Police tracked down Nally to Arnold’s Bar where he was arrested and charged with three counts of leaving the scene of an accident with bodily injury.
As we’ve said here before, leaving the scene of an accident where there is an injury or possible death is the worst thing you can possibly do. The first degree felony criminal charge will be added that can bring 30 years in state prison. Read the rest »