CLEARWATER — A 61-year-old New York woman was hospitalized Friday afternoon after she was hit by a car while riding her bike across busy Court Street at its intersection with East Avenue.
Police said Kathy McIntyre of Bronx, N.Y., was crossing Court from north to south near the intersection of East just before 1 p.m. Drivers who were stopped in traffic waved at her to cross the street.
McIntyre had made it most of the way across when she was hit by a westbound white Honda Accord driven by 27-year-old Jordan Lopez of Spring Hill, police said.
McIntyre suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was taken by ambulance to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg. Police determined she was at fault, but she was not cited, Clearwater police spokeswoman Elizabeth Watts said.
Dennis Day, 37, of Sand Key, was standing outside a nearby bike shop when the woman was hit.
"She went flying in the air, head over heels," Day said.
The incident temporarily closed the westbound lanes of Court headed toward Clearwater Beach. Westbound Court before the Memorial Causeway is notorious for traffic jams during spring break, holiday weekends and special events.
Mike Riordon, owner of City Cycle & Supply bike shop, said he has been urging city leaders to install a signal at the intersection for months.
"For months, I've had this eerie feeling I was going to come out here and see someone killed," he said. "This is so foreseeable."
The intersection has become more dangerous, Riordon said, since East was paved and a bike lane was added as part of a federally funded stimulus project that wrapped up several months ago. More bicyclists are using the bike lane, increasing the possibility of a collision with motorists, Riordon said.
City traffic operations manager Paul Bertels said city plans originally included a pedestrian crossing signal at that intersection, but that was vetoed by the state Department of Transportation.
"It's a state intersection. The city had designed signalization for that project, and the state opted not to put it in because their feeling was since the Pinellas Trail had been there a number of years — all we did is add the bike lanes — the decision was since there hadn't been an issue in the past, they would take that out," he said.
FDOT spokeswoman Kris Carson said data on the intersection was not immediately available late Friday afternoon. Bertels said he already had brought his concerns to FDOT and was in the process of gathering crash data to present at a future meeting with state transportation officials.