Sunday, September 12, 2010
Driver Hits Bicyclist Picot On Gandy Blvd. In Tampa During Our 4-Bridges Ride This Morning
Charlie Banks seems like a nice 92-year-old church-going gentleman. He was dressed impeccibly in tan pants, white shirt buttoned to his neck, bow tie, black belt, two-tone wingtip shoes and those giant sunglasses that encased his regular eyeglasses.
But no matter how nice a person Charlie is, he did drive his Nissan sedan right into the rear bicycle wheel of my friend Picot as we biked on Gandy Blvd. just a quarter-mile shy of Bayshore Blvd. in Tampa this morning.
Picot joined my bike friend Nick and I for my 50-mile 4 Bridges Ride -- a bicycle ride from Seminole Heights over the Courtney Campbell Causeway, the Bayside Bridge, the Gandy Bridge and the Platt Street Bridge.
We were at mile 40 when Nick and I -- riding about a block and a half in front of Picot -- heard what sounded like a powerful shotgun blast from behind us.
I looked back and saw Picot's bicycle crumbled and lying near the curb. Picot shouted, "I was hit."
Charlie, who works in the development business, said he didn't see Picot cycling in the right lane next to the curb because the sun, which was rising out of the east, was in his eyes and by the time he saw Picot it was too late to avoid hitting him.
Charlie was returning fron church and was only a few blocks away from his south Tampa home.
Charlie didn't run. He pulled into a parking lot and parked his car and walked over to Picot, who was on the sidewalk.
The fire rescue quad came and stopped the bleeding from Picot's knee. George had driven over the bike's rear wheel and thank God Picot suffered what appeared to be nasty cases of road rash but apparently did not break any bones.
Picot is a wonderful person with a good-natured personality and he handled the situation with humor and class.
Charlie the driver appeared upset and looked concerned and stuck around to be with Picot while rescue staffers checked out Picot.
Suzy, Picot's wife, came with the family van. I placed Picot's Motobecane road bicycle in the back of the van and wished Picot well.
Charlie acted like a gentleman, but I do wish he re-consider and re-evaluate his driving skills at 92 years old. All the other drivers passed us safely on Gandy Avenue while we biked east to Bayshore Blvd. and I wish the city of Tampa would put up more Share the Road bicycle signs and painted sharrows on the street surfaces to alert motorists that bicyclists are everywhere.
Charlie, Picot and the officer exchange contct info.
They don't come friendlier than Picot. Scuffed up and sporting a real nasty case of road rash on his left hip, Picot takes a drink of water from a water bottle and flashes an impish grin.
Picot gets attended to.
Fire rescue check on Picot.
Charlie drove over the rear wheel, breaking it.
After the officers and emergency personnel left, Nick talks with Picot as Charlie sits despondently.
Here's the damage to Charlie's car -- front right bumper shows where he struck Picot.