Hundreds of Tampa Bay bicyclists hit while in transit in 2019

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Another bicyclist is recovering after being injured in an alleged hit-and-run crash last weekend. The latest incident points to a growing problem in Tampa Bay.

Florida had more than 6,630 bicycle crashes last year. Tampa Bay is responsible for 1,454 of those. And of those, 142 people died as a result.

Both Hillsborough and Pinellas counties each had more than 500 bicycle crashes in 2019.

Anthony Williams, 55, was crossing the intersection of 22nd Street South and 15th Avenue in St. Petersburg when a driver who allegedly had her lights off hit him.

Williams is just one of Pinellas County’s 57 bicycle crashes so far in 2020.

In Hillsborough County, the number of bicycle fatalities has almost doubled since 2013 with 32 fatalities increasing to 59 last year.

The Tampa Bay area is notably dangerous for pedestrians, and that’s a problem that continues to concern residents as the population increases faster than infrastructure solutions are created.

The Wall Street Journal named Tampa Bay – and Pinellas County specifically – among the deadliest places in the country for bicyclists in 2018.

AAA named Florida the most dangerous state for bicyclists last year. In the survey, AAA found that 36 percent of bicyclists in Florida don’t wear a helmet while riding their bike. According to the survey, 57 percent of cyclists ride with traffic while 21 percent ride against it, which is illegal, according to state traffic laws.

“Motorists and cyclists play an equal part in sharing the road,” AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said in a news release. “While motorists need to eliminate distractions and watch for people on bikes, cyclists can do their party by wearing a helmet and bright-colored clothing.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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