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Bicyclist killed in Largo accident

LARGO — A bicyclist died early Saturday along Starkey Road after he was hit by a van, Largo police said.

Gregory Gancarz, 55, was struck in the northbound curb lane at 4:48 a.m. and died at the scene. The van, a 1996 GMC driven by 62-year-old Lonnie Baumbach, was northbound in the 1200 block of Starkey Road when it hit Gancarz, police said. The area of the crash has no streetlights and Gancarz of Largo did not have a headlight or taillight on the bicycle, investigators said.

The van's speed does not appear to be a factor and the investigation is continuing, police said.

Baumbach of Largo is an independent delivery contractor for the St. Petersburg Times. He has been a contractor for more than eight years, said Jim Thompson, the Times' operations manager for home delivery. Thompson said he knew of no other driving-related issues or complaints involving Baumbach's work as an independent contractor.

Florida leads the nation in bicycling and pedestrian fatalities. Gancarz is at least the 20th bicyclist to be killed since July while riding on area roads. A consultant who wrote a report for Hillsborough County earlier this year about cyclist-vs.-car accidents found that the blame was split evenly for accidents between 2005 and 2009.

Amid the accidents, the Florida Department of Transportation launched a print, radio and television campaign to promote pedestrian and bicycle safety.

Bicyclist killed in Largo accident 06/18/11 [Last modified: Saturday, June 18, 2011 8:18pm]
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