Author Topic: 17th Cyclist Killed In Tampa Bay/Manatee  (Read 24659 times)

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Offline Tourista829

17th Cyclist Killed In Tampa Bay/Manatee
« on: February 16, 2011, 08:53:34 am »
I know there are those who believe this is not the place to air my views, on this subject but I beg to differ. It is a subject that needs to be discussed. I never thought I would say this but Tampa Florida is a very dangerous place to ride a bicycle. It is sad that we are losing a cyclist a month. We lost our 12th cyclist, with in a year, this past Sunday, on a road with a very wide shoulder. Drivers texting, on telephones, or speeding to get somewhere, have very little regard for people on bicycles. Drivers do not discriminate, they even killed a high decorated soldier. I pray for their families.

Speaking to the local authorities, they are restricted to what they can do, due to budget cuts and indifference. One police officer told, you have no business riding a bicycle, the roads are only for cars and trucks. I wonder what our police chief, who is an avid cyclist, would have thought of his comment.
When I commute to work, I have no bicycle lanes, or sidewalks on 55 mph roads. In my work complex, there is only one bicycle rack, that has a dozen entrances. The closest entrance, that is open, on the weekends, is 3/4 of a mile away. If one parks their bike elsewhere, they will cut the chain and confiscate ones bike. I have gone to my company and to the complex managers, asking for another bicyle rack and been asked not to ask.

I am sad but getting very angry. My girlfriend and I have both been hit more than once. One driver ask me, looking at my legs, do you take falls and do this for a living? The driver who hit my girlfriend,  disregarded a stop sign, on a walking path, asked her, is this going to take long, I am late and have to get my sister in law to the airport. ( as she laid on the ground bleeding and in pain) Another time, when she was hit, they never stopped.

Besides moving, or finding a new job, is there any thing that can be done. I am sure I am not the only one who is experiencing this. Do others live in areas, that have been through this and mobilized to make the public aware, to motivate legislatures to take action and make the changes needed to protect our lives? Although ACO is dedicated to lobbying, on the national level, I wish they could lend their support to helping develop a local infra structure to help organize cyclist who want to affect change. It is on the local and state levels that will make a difference.

I have been told by family, friends, coworkers, and fellow cyclists that if you ride in Tampa, it is only a matter of time, before you will become a statistic. In the past, I have ignored their comments, I am beginning to believe it. I would welcome you comments. >:(
« Last Edit: April 21, 2011, 09:12:43 pm by Tourista829 »

Offline valygrl

Re: 12th Cyclist Killed In Tampa
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2011, 09:30:30 am »
Move.  Life's too short to live somewhere that doesn't suit you, and while trying to change the world for the better is admirable, it's an uphill battle.  If your raison d'etre is to effect social change that enables better biking in Tampa Florida, go for it.  But if it's to ride your bike safely and happily, just move.

Offline mucknort

Re: 12th Cyclist Killed In Tampa
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2011, 09:39:37 am »
I just stumbled across the book, Joyride by Mia Burk, a very inspiring story about a small group of folks that helped turn Portland, OR into a cycling Mecca. It may give you some small ideas, at least, regarding things you might do.

 http://www.amazon.com/Joyride-Pedaling-Toward-Healthier-Planet/dp/0615384110/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1297866444&sr=1-8

Offline John Nelson

Re: 12th Cyclist Killed In Tampa
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2011, 11:31:25 am »
If you haven't already done so, I would suggest you contact the Florida Bicycle Association, a group that advocates for bicycle safety at both the state and local level. Get suggestions from them, join them, and work with them. Perhaps start a chapter in Tampa.

http://www.floridabicycle.org

Change won't happen overnight, and you'll need to take baby steps, but you can make progress.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: 12th Cyclist Killed In Tampa
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2011, 12:39:44 pm »
I come from a small town on the southeast coast of Florida. I have known several guys here who were killed riding their bikes, and several more who were injured. None of them went running off the road into a pole or anything like that. They were all killed and injured by cars / trucks. My right-of-way has been violated many times in this small town in such a way that if I had not relinquished my legal ROW, I would have been run down. If I remember correctly, Florida has had a bad reputation for cycling for a long time. It used to be called the "dive or die state." Have you ever read "Miles From Nowhere" by Barbara Savage. They cycled across the US with no problem, but then read the part where they got into Florida and cycled down to Key West. I concur. I had exactly the same problems back in the 1980s cycling in Florida. I was run off the roada number of times crossing Florida not so many years ago. It was pure criminality on the part of the drivers.

Offline ronn12

Re: 12th Cyclist Killed In Tampa
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2011, 02:33:42 pm »
will im from fla born and raised.. left in 94 have not been back  any part of the state is just stupid if you are gonna ride/ I ve still not made mind up if i.ll cycle down or greyhound down I dont want to be the next person doing daises.  Not Enough Law for the ones that hit cyclist 

Offline Elessar

Re: 12th Cyclist Killed In Tampa
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2011, 04:40:03 pm »
My reply is not meant to antagonize or inflame anyone about anything.  I don't intend to minimize the tragic news you have imparted and I also feel bad for those left behind.

However, I have ridden motorcycles for many years.  Anyone who rides motorcycles has been conditioned to know that there are only two types of riders: those who have crashed and those who will crash.  Please accept my apology if I offend anyone. 

Maybe riding a bicycle is like that.  I don't have enough experience to properly evaluate the conditions.  I ride in a place where I feel safe but my wife has flatly refused to ride.  We both have stated that "you're taking your life in your hands on this road" when we see someone riding as I do now.  I am very careful and very aware but I imagine that it's only a matter of time before I will have my turn.

My brother-in-law has a harrowing story from years ago about being hit by a car full of delinquent teenagers.  Bad news.

I won't stop riding but I ride with as much care as possible.  I hope that some day we can all "share the road."  Maybe we should be supporting that flying car idea to get those guys off the pavement?...
"The road goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began.  Now far ahead the road has gone and I must follow if I can."  J.R.R. Tolkien

Offline litespeed

Re: 12th Cyclist Killed In Tampa
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2011, 06:10:48 pm »
I've lived and bicycled in Florida (I live 35 miles from Tampa) since 1976. I've only been knocked down by a car once in this state and that was partially my fault. I looked at the car (at an intersection) instead of the driver. Just a skinned knee. Oh, I once got "doored" in Tarpon Springs.

Actually, I've noticed that car/truck drivers are much more considerate than they were when I first came to town. I can't remember the last time I encountered any hostility at all. I think a lot of it has to do with my attitude and experience. I go out of my way to avoid impeding cars and show them every courtesy. At intersections I make sure I'm not blocking anyone. I wave cars by whenever possible. I use my eyes and ears and try to flow with the traffic. And I get on the sidewalk if I don't like the look of the road.

I did get knocked down good by a lady in Lousiana who turned right in front of me. I was on 190 near Slidell - a bad bicycling road. That got me a rebroken collarbone, dented helmet and skinned knee. Fortunately I had plenty of witnesses.

Offline driftlessregion

Re: 12th Cyclist Killed In Tampa
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2011, 10:39:00 pm »
Every cyclist who cares about this issue, and improving cycling conditions in general, should belong to the League of American Bicyclists, the major lobby for us on a national level. http://www.bikeleague.org/.

Offline driftlessregion

Re: 12th Cyclist Killed In Tampa
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2011, 10:58:24 pm »
You might also want to consider organizing a memorial "ghost ride" for those killed while cycling. See http://www.ghostbikes.org/.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: 12th Cyclist Killed In Tampa
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2011, 04:25:14 am »
People have come to this forum asking about various kinds of safety issues. One answer is to use the best roads and know safety procedures, take them to heart, and use them.

Nobody can guarantee anyone's safe passage across town,  much less across the country. No matter how safe you are as a cyclist, you are still out there on the boulevard with people in motor vehicles who might NOT be safe. They might be drunk, on drugs, careless, or inexperienced and unable to negotiate the situation. Our responsibility as cyclists
is to watch out for ourselves as well as we can.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2011, 12:57:23 pm by Westinghouse »

Offline Quahog03

Re: 12th Cyclist Killed In Tampa
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2011, 08:22:49 am »
On this sad topic, I have been told that a cyclist was hit by a truck and killed last month on the southern tier. I believe it was on the panhandle in Fl. Does anyone have any details of what might have happened ?
On riding in Florida your dealing with lots of tourist who don't know the roads and are looking for road signs etc. In my opinion anywhere you ride you have to be a very defensive and not concerned who might have the right of way. It's your life.
Ed
« Last Edit: February 17, 2011, 08:43:57 am by Quahog03 »

Offline Tourista829

Re: 12th Cyclist Killed In Tampa
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2011, 08:25:50 am »
I appreciate the comments, suggestions, and support. Overall, I thought things were getting better since Barbara & Larry Savage rode to the Keys, in the late 1970's. However, things in Tampa are drifting back to a new era of indifference, selfishness, and truly mean spirited attitude. Many people shout out their windows, "get the ---- off the road." or throw liquids at you. In a state where many carry a firearm, in their glove boxes legally, I am very careful not to respond. Even when reporting harrassment to the police, (which borderlines assult) the attitude is don't ride on the roads and they give motorist every protection under the law. I never thought I would say this, but I truly feel sorry for those, who do not own a car, and have to rely on their bicycles, to get to work.

Since almost everyone, learned to ride a bike, you have to wonder, what happened from the time they started to drive a car/truck to the distain many have for cyclist now. It is an attitude that starts, in the home and prevails in our society. Cycling groups, need to start early and speak to children, when in school and teach them tolerance.

When we fight to get shoulders put in on new construction, and are told no, by the local county. When the voters turn down a bill that would have put in a local rail line and add bicycle lanes. (70%) When our "let's get to work," governor rejects 2.3 billion dollars to build a high speed rail line between Orlando and Tampa, which would have actually put people back to work, and allevated much of the congestion on our roads, I think Valygrl may be correct in saying, it may be time to consider other options. BTW another cyclist was hit yesterday, and hanging on to his life. :(

Offline mucknort

Re: 12th Cyclist Killed In Tampa
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2011, 08:31:32 am »
Every cyclist who cares about this issue, and improving cycling conditions in general, should belong to the League of American Bicyclists, the major lobby for us on a national level. http://www.bikeleague.org/.

One answer is to use the best roads and know safety procedures, take them to heart, and use them.
Nobody can guarantee anyone's safe passage across town,  much less across the country. No matter how safe you are as a cyclist, you are still out there on the boulevard with people in motor vehicles who might NOT be safe. They might be drunk, on drugs, careless, or inexperienced and unable to negotiate the situation. Our respobsibility as cyclists is to watch out for ourselves as well as we can.


The League of American Bicyclists offers excellent Traffic Safety Skills classes. I signed my wife, son and myself up for a course last Spring before going on our cross country tour in order to help ensure our then 11 year old son would get road safety lessons from someone other than his parents. Even though taking the class was mainly for our son's "benefit", my wife and I both learned a good deal despite our many years of riding and touring experience. Though we all learned skills and tips that helped us on our cross country trip, we have also used them to become much more comfortable riding in heavy traffic in our own town. I highly recommend taking a course. (You don't have to be a member)

http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/education/course_schedule.php

Offline Awf Hand

Re: 12th Cyclist Killed In Tampa
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2011, 08:40:11 am »
When I started riding again after a hiatus, I had become about 15 years older and had a wife and two kids.  For them I wear a class III retro-reflective work jersey.  I bought one in hi-vis green and one in hi-vis orange.  Initially, I noticed traffic going WAY around me to avoid crowding me.  I commented to the wife about how I'd never seen drivers be this courteous.  She told me the hi-vis made me look "special needs".  :-\

I guess I have a special need to not be run over.

Drivers today have WAY too much going on in their cars.  If I can be seen 500 yards sooner... :-*