Monday, February 14, 2011

RIP Robert Niedbalec, Bicyclist Killed By Speeding Motorist Sunday

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.

7 comments:

Catherine said...

Do you know where we can get some of those bright orange bike pins we've seen on the news? A bunch of us who worked closely with Dr Robert are going to wear some on a bike ride in his honor and were hoping you could help us out.

SWFBUD said...

Contact the Florida Bicycle Association -- they should have them. Contact email -- http://www.floridabicycle.org/about/contact.html

Catherine said...

Thank you so much. If you would like to join us in our ride please let me know and I can give you the details. It should next sunday (the 27th)

SWFBUD said...

Catherine, please keep me posted on the time and place of the ride -- Alan.

Catherine said...

I definitely will. So far its planned for the 27th. we were thinking about following his same path and finishing his ride for him. But as it progresses I will keep you informed

Thanks for all that youve been doing to make sure this doesnt happen again to a family and a community again

Catherine said...

Alan, we will be riding around Lettuce Lake Park the 27th. We are going to meet around 1-1:30 then ride around the park, we thought that was more appropriate since not everyone has access to a bike, they could at least walk with us

SWFBUD said...

Thanks -- can you email me any other info such as a contact if anyone wants to participate -- Thanks, alansnel@yahoo.com