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Bicyclist struck by car, seriously injured

The driver of the car was not found to be at fault, authorities said Saturday. Injuries to the victim, who was not identified, were not deemed life-threatening.

KATHLEEN FLYNN | Times

The driver of the car was not found to be at fault, authorities said Saturday. Injuries to the victim, who was not identified, were not deemed life-threatening.

SOUTH PASADENA — A girl riding her bike was struck by a car and seriously injured Saturday night, authorities said.

The unidentified girl was crossing Pasadena Avenue at Park Circle at 6:14 p.m. when a silver Dodge Charger heading south hit her, St. Petersburg police said.

The girl, who was not wearing a helmet, suffered a head injury and was taken to Bayfront Medical Center, police said. She was transported in stable condition and the injury did not appear to be immediately life-threatening, said police Sgt. Ricky Barber. The girl's name and age were not immediately released Saturday.

The driver of the Charger remained at the scene and was questioned by police. She told police that she did not see the bicyclist, Barber said.

Because the girl moved into traffic, the driver was not at fault, Barber said.

At the scene, the victim's BMX-style bicycle lay crumpled about 50 feet from the car as police investigated.

The accident comes soon after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the state was the second worst state in the nation for bicycle fatalities. In 2008, Florida had 125 fatal bike accidents, or 6.82 per million residents. The national average is 2.35.

Since July, there have been 11 fatal vehicle accidents involving bicycles in Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties. So far this year, two bicyclists were nearly killed in serious collisions with automobiles.

The cases vary; sometimes the bicyclist was at fault, other times the motorist. Sometimes both were to blame, said law enforcement officials.

Bicycle activists say local roadways are not designed with two wheels in mind, and that motorists need to do a better job of sharing the road.

Recently, the Tampa City Council held a bicycle safety workshop in which members of the Metropolitan Planning Organization presented a list of suggestions on how to improve bike safety.

The ideas included such things as improving roadway lighting, promoting bicycle safety education efforts in the community and creating bike lanes along streets.

Tips for cyclists

• Wear a well-fitting helmet.

• Obey traffic laws and drive your bike like a vehicle.

• Make sure your clothes and bicycle are visible (safety vests and lights help, especially in the dark).

• Be predictable and avoid swerving between lanes.

• Stay off the sidewalk and don't ride against traffic.

Tips for motorists

• Recognize that bicycles are considered vehicles.

• When passing a bike, keep at least 3 feet between your vehicle and the cyclist.

• Slow down for a cyclist.

• Avoid driving up behind a bicyclist and blaring your horn.

• Be patient.

Bicyclist struck by car, seriously injured 02/26/11 [Last modified: Saturday, February 26, 2011 11:56pm]
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