An elderly bicyclist was killed on early Tuesday morning in Tampa, Florida. The bicycle accident was the ninth fatal bicycle accident in the area over the last few months. Because of the recent string of fatal accidents, Tampa Bay is creating a reputation for poor bicycle safety.
According to police, a 64-year-old bicyclist was traveling north on a stretch of U.S. 41 that did not have any streetlights near St. Paul Street. The time was around 5:15 a.m. and dawn had not struck. Police say the bicyclist was riding his bike in the outside lane of the highway when a Jeep struck the bicyclist from behind. The rider was thrown to the shoulder of the road and tossed into a power pole. The 64-year-old bicyclist died at the scene of the accident. He did not wear a bike helmet. No one was charged in the incident.
The death of the bicyclist has added to a controversy in the region as to who should bear responsibility for the bicycle accidents — bicyclists or motorists. Unfortunately, the rider did not have any lights on himself or his bike and was wearing dark clothes according to the passenger of the car that hit the bicyclist. The couple that was driving the Jeep was on their way to get their favorite morning coffee drink. They said they swerved as much as they could.
A bicycling safety advocate and our recent blog on holding the phone while driving said bicyclists and motorists need to learn how to better share the road and that bicyclists need to make themselves as visible as possible. The county’s senior transportation planner said that the addition of bike lanes would also help prevent future bike accidents.