Tampa Bay Has Had Nine Bicycle Fatalities in Just Over Four Months

By Kameel Stanley
St. Petersburg Times
December 6, 2010

Bicyclist Diane M. Vega, 53, died at the scene when she was hit by the driver of a sport utility vehicle who ran a red light while she waited for a crosswalk light to change at Spruce Street and Himes Avenue in Tampa on Oct. 1.

No state in the nation has more bicycle crash fatalities than Florida.

By far, Florida led the nation in the number of bicyclists killed with 125 in 2008, which is the most recent year for which national data is available.

Florida’s bicyclist fatality rate that year was 6.82 people per million population, nearly triple the national rate, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (Not surprisingly, Florida also has the highest pedestrian fatality rate in the country.)

Since midsummer, nine cyclists in the Tampa Bay area have died in crashes with vehicles. It’s a troubling trend that has cyclists worried — especially considering 22 bicyclists died on Tampa Bay roads in 2009, the most since 2004, when 30 were killed. 

“Unfortunately in the Tampa Bay area, the roads were not designed very well to handle bicycle traffic,” said Alan Snel, a Tampa resident and the director of the South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers. “That doesn’t mean they don’t have a right to be on the road. The roads are for everyone and that means sharing.”  Read more…

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