Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Bicyclist killed in Stuart

Saw this news on Twitter yesterday and was shocked like everyone else who heard about this terrible accident, which is really not an accident at all. The young man was only 19 years old and he was struck by a large commercial vehicle coming off the Roosevelt Bridge into the town of Stuart. This is the location where the incident occurred:
U.S. 1 is in yellow (north-south): image from Google Maps.
Here is what we know so far: the Roosevelt Bridge (U.S. 1) has a bike lane and the man was riding south into Stuart. At the base of the bridge the speed limit is 35 mph and the bike lane ends. DOT has a "share the road" sign in the area for drivers to share the right-hand lane with bicyclists. In video of news reports you can see the lane striping, the curb, and the 2-foot (approximately) lane of asphalt that bike riders can try to stay near to south of the bridge. 

Jana Eschbach from CBS12/WPEC did a real good report but the archived news segment was bungled by their editing department. From her report you can see the curb and the small area for bicyclist to navigate:
Here is the news segment from Meghan McRoberts at NBC5/WPTV. Thirty seconds into the video you can see cars coming off the bridge and not one of them seems to be going 35 mph; more like 45 to 50. 

There is more information to come on this incident and don't want to jump to any conclusions. Yet. Suffice it to say that where this incident occurred no sufficient accommodations exist for bicyclists. In many places in Florida bicyclists are discouraged from using sidewalks; no doubt the "share the road" sign encourages bicyclists to use the right-hand lane in traffic.

I haven't been over the Roosevelt Bridge in a long while but can take a wild guess about its lane configuration (let me know if I am wrong): the lanes are wideprobably 12 feet wide or close—and most drivers drive at least 10 mph over the posted speed limit and continue at a high rate of speed well past the bridge. Why is this significant here? This is why.

There will be much more about this 'accident' on this blog in the weeks and months to come.