Sarasota County

Venice residents demand changes after deadly bike accident

VENICE, Fla. (WFLA) - One of the bicyclists involved in a terrible Venice car accident last week has sadly died. Now in the wake of this terrible news, a number of cyclists and residents have come forward to prevent more deaths in the future.

These residents told county commissioners this latest deadly accident is just another example of how dangerous Center Road is.

On Oct. 30, a group of four cyclists were riding east on Center Road when they were hit by an elderly woman in a car.

The four were hospitalized and one week later, 57-year-old William Harrison died of his injuries.

One victim is still being treated at a hospital while the other two have been released.

Authorities say the bicyclists made an improper lane change and the case is still under investigation, but a number of residents have had enough.

"The cars are accelerating at such a rate that the 40 mph speed limit is a joke. People consider Center Road a part of I-75,” said cyclist Don Lacoste.

"From my library there is a window facing Center Road and you can hear cars speeding down Center Road,” said a little girl to commissioners.

A group of residents told commissioners they want changes to the road. 

"Our concern for safety is paramount,” said one man.

They're demanding a slower speed limit and an additional red light. Many cyclists are scared to use that street.

"They could be going 50, 60 mph, and you're within three feet of those automobiles, it becomes concerning,” said Lacoste.

There are schools and a church near the accident scene. Locals hope this latest accident leads to some changes before it gets worse.

"I'm concerned that there's going to be more deaths,” said resident Pat Abde.

Commissioners listened to the concerns and said they will address these issues at a later date. These folks hope it's sooner than later.

These bicyclists say they will continue the fight to make sure changes come to Center Road. 


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