Monday, February 14, 2011

Punishments Don't Fit The Crime Of Killing A Bicyclist In Tampa Bay

On Sunday morning, the St. Pete Times ran a column about how punishments for motorists who killed bicyclists are inadequate.

This comes on the heels of a story in Outside magazine written by the author of highly-acclaimed Traffic book that also touched on the topic about how criminal penalties for car drivers who kill and injure bicyclists don't take into account the vulnerable nature of the bicycle as a vehicle.

Hours after the Times column ran Sunday morning, a 52-year-old Temple Terrace bicyclist was killed Sunday afternoon by a motorist on eastbound Fletcher Avenue between the USF campus and the I-75 interchange in the Tampa area.

Sheriff's deputies said it appeared as if the motorist was racing with another car driver side-by-side and they're looking for witnesses to step forward.

I bike that road all the time and bike the bicycle lane used by the bicyclist killed by the motorist.

It could have been me.

I have stopped reading the moronic and mean-spirited comments written by angry anti-bicyclist haters after newspaper stories about bicyclist deaths. We have had a dozen people killed on bicycles in Tampa Bay since the middle of the 2010 summer and in my book motorists will not change their driving behavior until they understand that killing a bicyclist means a harsh criminal punishment.

Too many times a car driver kills a bicyclist and simply says, "Sorry, I did't see the bicyclist," and voila, the driver is off the hook.

Drivers don't even get a citation for violating the law that requires a car to pass a bicyclist by a minimum berth of three feet.

I'm upset.

And I'm angry.

Things need to change.

1 comment:

CyclerJim said...

"Injustice will not be eliminated until those that are not affected by it, are as outraged as those who are".