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Tandem bike accident shows danger on Florida roads

Riding a bicycle made for two is supposed to be a romantic experience, but a Florida couple suffered horribly when their tandem bike was struck by a driver on Sept. 2. The collision killed a 25-year-old man who was riding the bike, and his 27-year-old girlfriend is currently in a coma. Sadly, the fatality in this case simply adds to the number of bicyclists and pedestrians killed by cars every year on our nation's roads. These vulnerable road users deserve better protection.

Authorities report the pair's bike was splintered from the impact when a vehicle struck the tandem unit on Memorial Causeway in Clearwater. The man and woman were thrown 50 feet from each other because of the vehicle strike. Even though both were wearing helmets, they suffered catastrophic head injuries. Even more shocking is the fact that the driver fled the scene of the crime. Officers say they believe they have the culprit in custody. That man, age 29, is thought to have struck the couple with his Nissan pickup truck.

Official reports show that the driver is facing criminal charges of leaving the scene of a crash involving death and injury. Both of those counts are felonies. The man has admitted in a bizarre account that he does not remember driving home from his resort job that morning; however, he saw the news report and turned himself in to police. It is possible that the driver was intoxicated at the time of the crash and did not want to admit his wrongdoing to officers.

Sadly, the accident does not help Florida's reputation as one of the deadliest places in America for bike riders. In fact, 2011 numbers show that riders face more risk of death in Florida than in any other state, and the roads in the Tampa Bay area are often considered among the most dangerous in the region.

Source: www.tampabay.com, "Arrest made in fatal tandem-bicycle crash in Clearwater" Allison Barnwell, Keyonna Summers & Laura C. Morel, Sep. 03, 2013

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