Craig Allen McKown, 59 years old, was walking his bicycle across Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard in Clearwater, Florida, and was struck and killed by 26-year-old Michael Joseph Trianos on November 8. McKown was not walking on a crosswalk or using a signal light to cross. Trianos was driving a Chevrolet Cavalier eastward in the median lane. When McKown was struck, the impact sent him and his bike into the westbound lanes, where he was struck by another car. He died at Morton Plant Hospital. It was reported that no charges were filed.
BICYCLISTS TAKE CAUTION
The Florida Bicycle Association emphasizes sharing the roads. They state, “The roads are a cooperative system. They are a common space in our communities where we all interact daily. Our conduct on the roads influences the quality and livability of our communities.”
It is further stated on the FBA website that:
• Adult bicyclists do not belong on the sidewalk. That action would essentially put motorists at greater risk of hitting bicyclists when entering or leaving a roadway. And, in such an instance, the motorist is more likely to be at fault.
• Cyclists are not required to ride on the shoulder. Persons riding bicycles can “choose” to ride on shoulders but there is no law that says they have to. In fact, riding on shoulders can present hazards to motorists. They also should never let their bicycle wheels go down into a gutter or get too close to a curb.
• Successful bicyclists “Ride Big.” In fact, according to the FBA website, cyclists should actually ride well into a lane in order to give themselves more room and also discourage impatient motorists from passing them.
FLORIDA AND BICYCLES
The Sunshine State is awesome in many ways. For one, the weather is terrific most of the time. Typically, Florida doesn’t experience blizzards, although we do have hurricanes. Due to several factors, including the state’s wonderful amount of warm weather, the exercise to be had from bicycling, the economy of bicycling, to name just a few, the state has, though, seen a rise in recent years in crashes involving motor vehicles vs. bicycles. In 2015, Florida made the safety of roadways, for both motorists and bicyclists, a state-wide priority.
We hear all sorts of news incidents involving road rage. Typically, this is motorist vs. motorist. However, bicyclists also come under attack from impatient motor vehicle drivers who mistakenly think that the road is only meant for them. It’s not. Share the road has become a phrase that is often repeated.
According to 2014 statistics from the news-press.com, in Hillsborough County, there were 532 bicycle crashes that included eight fatalities; in Pinellas County, there were 574 bicycle crashes with six fatalities; and in Manatee County, there were 142 bicycle crashes with six fatalities. While no completely accurate statistics on everyone who bicycles in Florida are available, it is a given that the trend towards bicycling has grown over recent years. Tourism is big in Florida, and visitors and residents alike want to be able to bicycle safely here in the Sunshine State. It is estimated that almost 25 million tourists and residents take to their bicycles annually. And, Florida, in turn, wants them all to be able to do so safely and without being involved in an accident. A person walking his bicycle across a roadway should be safe to do so.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a bicycle crash in St. Petersburg or anywhere in the state of Florida, make sure you contact a personal injury attorney to assure you know all the avenues of recourse available to you.