When a motorist kills a bicyclist, a motorist just doesn't kill a person on a bicycle. They kill a dad, a husband, a father and a humble veterinarian.
Such was the case Sunday afternoon when a speeding driver on Fletcher Avenue killed Robert Niedbalec, a 52-year-old vet who lived in Temple Terrace and was bicyling in the bike lane between the USF campus and the I-75 interchange.
St. Pete Times story.
The Tampa Tribune interviewed the bicyclist's wife today.
Here's the Channel 10 story.
Here's the Channel 13 story.
Here's the Channel 8 story.
I did not know Dr. Niedbalec, but I take his death personally because I have biked the same bike lane used by this bicyclist many times.
In fact on Sunday, I was biking with a friend in that direction toward Flatwoods Park and took a back road through Temple Terrace instead of Fletcher Avenue. We left my house at 1:15 pm and would have been very close to the scene if we took Fletcher Avenue instead of Druid Hills through Temple Terrace.
I have talked to several TV stations today and my message is simple -- motorists will imperil the lives of bicyclists until they understand that there will be severe punishments for killing or injuring a bicyclist. I'm unaware of a single motorist ever cited for Florida's three-foot buffer law.
Our elected leaders have to embrace bucycling and celebrate bicycling and give the message that a bicyclist is simply a co-user of the roadway shared by all whether your vehicle has the capacity to move fast like a car or slower like a bicycle.