Bike collisions with vehicles on rise on Marco; three bicycle committee members hit

David Albers/Staff 
 Marco Island resident Bobbi Housley, 77, looks for cars failing to stop at the intersection before crossing Heatherwood Drive on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012, on Marco Island. Housley suffered fractured ribs, a fractured pelvis and a dislocated hip when she was struck by a car while riding her bicycle in February 2011.

Photo by DAVID ALBERS, Naples Daily News // Buy this photo

David Albers/Staff Marco Island resident Bobbi Housley, 77, looks for cars failing to stop at the intersection before crossing Heatherwood Drive on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012, on Marco Island. Housley suffered fractured ribs, a fractured pelvis and a dislocated hip when she was struck by a car while riding her bicycle in February 2011.

In 2008, there was just one reported car-versus-bicycle collision on the Island. But that number has climbed each year to 10 reported in 2011, and the increase concerns some riders.

— Attorney Patrick Neale keeps a photo of himself on his desk so he doesn't forget the accident. The broken nose and thumb, the gash over his eye and all 14 stitches remind him to ride his bike carefully.

While riding on Marco Island five years ago, a car pulled in front of him at an intersection, forcing him to brake.

"I flew over my handle bars, and the next thing I knew I was in a helicopter being flown to Naples Community Hospital," the 58-year-old former Marco Island resident said. "It didn't feel good."

Neale is one of three former or current members of a biking committee on the island who have had riding accidents involving vehicles. In 2008, there was just one reported car-versus-bicycle collision on the Island. But that number has climbed each year to 10 reported in 2011, and the increase concerns some riders.

"Every ride that I'm out, there's at least one incident where I'm cursing the car driver because he cut me off or stopped in front of me or blew his horn at me because I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing," said Neale, who still bikes on Marco Island once a week but now lives in Naples.

Phil Kostelnik, a fellow committee member, said better police enforcement would force motorists to pay attention to bikers.

"They drive too fast. They don't pay attention. They're doing other things," he said.Marco police Capt. Dave Baer said various factors probably led to the increase in reported accidents since 2008, and said 35 percent of the time more than one person was at fault. When a driver was at fault, it was usually for failure to yield or careless driving.

Education, engineering and enforcement can lower the risk of an accident, Baer said.

While he hasn't noticed trends in areas or intersections of the city where accidents happen with bicycles most frequently, he believes engaging with citizens to educate them will help most.

The months with the most accidents over the past four years were February, March, May and July. Some riders say they notice more bikers and walkers during season, which also could lead to more accidents.

The months with the most accidents over the past four years were February, March, May and July. Some riders say they notice more bikers and walkers during season, which also could lead to more accidents.

"When you're in a beautiful place like Marco and people want to take advantage of riding and walking, we all have to share the advantages of the roadways and sidewalks," he said. "Cars need to be on the lookout and bikers need to make sure if they're on the roadway, they're operating within the rules."

Baer worries the number of accidents is deceptively low and that many people who aren't seriously injured while riding their bikes don't call police to report the accident.

Dave Baer.

Photo by QUENTIN ROUX, Staff // Buy this photo

Dave Baer.

"Sadly, it skews the results to make it look like every crash is an injury crash," Baer said.

Sally Boyce, 71, regrets not reporting her accident this year.

Boyce was the third bike committee member to have encountered a car. She was riding home from visiting another friend, Bobbi Housley, 77, who broke her pelvis and ribs in a recent biking accident with a car.

"I had seen this man coming toward me, but I knew he wasn't coming fast and that he would stop at the stop sign," Boyce said. She was wrong.

She was riding on San Marco Road when she was hit. The man got of out of his car, helped Boyce to her feet and offered her $60 to fix her broken seat. She accepted.

"Now I'm super cautious. I stop at every crossing," she said. "There's all different reasons people have for not stopping at the stop sign, but there's really no good reason."

Patrick Lane, an accountant on the island and former committee member, had his accident while riding his mountain bike on Bald Eagle Drive before the bike lanes were added a few years ago. He was riding on the sidewalk when a man in a Porsche hit him while leaving a shopping plaza. A row of newspaper stands had obstructed the driver's view.

Lane, 53, landed on the car's hood, leaving a scratch and a dent. The owners asked if he was OK. His wrist ached but Lane didn't call police. He pushed his bike with the newly broken wheel home.

"I might have approached it differently if they hadn't been so nice," Lane said. "But there was no visibility. He was just creeping out. If there was a bike lane back then, he would have been able to see me.''

The city installed a bike lane on Bald Eagle Drive shortly after.

"I don't know what the statistics say," Lane said. "But I'd say the bike lanes make a huge difference."

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 25

marco826 writes:

Bikers need to be more careful also. I have seen some bikers make assumptions or even be cavalier in their bike riding. Some don't ride defensively at all. They ride like they own the road. A little caution on all side will help. Accidents happen. Bikers need to know this and be careful or stop when nearing vehicles.

happyhorowitz34145 writes:

Nice picture! Really resposible rider with a dog in the basket, so when the dog panics and jumps out in front of an oncoming car and causes an accident, it will still be the drivers fault!
After $5 million for shared use sidewalks bicyclists ride down Collier Blvd. in the roadway causing cars to veer around them.
Bicycle paths on San Marco, but bicyclists ride 2 abreast causing cars to swerve into the oncoming lane.
S. Barfield bicylists ride 3 abreast taking up the lane causing drivers to swerve around them.
Inlet Dr. no bike paths, with bicyclists riding 3, sometimes 4 abreast racing up and down the hills and on the wrong side of the road into corners with complete disregard for their safety and disregard for vehicles.
You are absolutely right Dave Bear, "Where's the cops"?

marcomitch writes:

I have been a recreational cyclist for nearly 50 years and riding on Marco for 15 years. Each winter, I ride 1500+ miles on Marco. The last time a motorist honked or yelled at me was 8-10 years ago. Motorists have become far more courteous and compliant with "share the road" programs in recent years. Both drivers and cyclits should appreciate the bike lanes that the city has added in recent years.
I am concerned about riders use of the sidewalks. The recent explosion of adult sidewalk riders has created new hazards. Our street alone has had three bike/auto collisions recently. Cyclists frequently fail to notify pedestrians when passing. Many states do not allow adult cyclists on the sidewalks for good reason. Pedestrians deserve the right of way and to be forewarned of passing cyclists.

2themoon writes:

we cant drive out of our condo lot with out constantly almost being hit by a bicyclist. They just donr pay attention!

Throat_Yogurt writes:

My horn is my best friend :)

GFonda writes:

And on top of this, there is a proposal afoot for horse drawn carriages on Marco roads. I kid you not!

26yearsonmarco writes:

in response to marcomitch:

I have been a recreational cyclist for nearly 50 years and riding on Marco for 15 years. Each winter, I ride 1500+ miles on Marco. The last time a motorist honked or yelled at me was 8-10 years ago. Motorists have become far more courteous and compliant with "share the road" programs in recent years. Both drivers and cyclits should appreciate the bike lanes that the city has added in recent years.
I am concerned about riders use of the sidewalks. The recent explosion of adult sidewalk riders has created new hazards. Our street alone has had three bike/auto collisions recently. Cyclists frequently fail to notify pedestrians when passing. Many states do not allow adult cyclists on the sidewalks for good reason. Pedestrians deserve the right of way and to be forewarned of passing cyclists.

I could not agree with you more about bikes on sidewalks. I have lost count how many times these people come up behind me with no warning and miss me by inches.

The Florida Statute addresses the issue of a warning device which can be considered a person's voice which I find hard to believe.

Sidewalk Riding (see Section 316.2065, F.S.)
• When riding on sidewalks or in crosswalks, a bicyclist has the same rights and duties as a pedestrian.
• A bicyclist riding on sidewalks or in crosswalks must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and must give an audible signal before passing.

naples_rocket writes:

this town is too big for bicycles. And there is nothing we can do about it.

marcomitch writes:

in response to naples_rocket:

this town is too big for bicycles. And there is nothing we can do about it.

There are many cities far bigger than Marco Island that are bicycle friendly. Most college towns are a good example.

happy6 writes:

seems as though a nreve was struck...baer does not seem to think the bike riders share any blame...and the numbers will always go up when you keep building bike paths down the main roads.
why not enforce the bikers to share the sidewalks that were widened for just this...i'll bet the nice "young" lady in the photo has never been to a bike safety class...if there is such a thing on marco...and if she were my mother i'd make her "hang it up".

26yearsonmarco writes:

in response to happy6:

seems as though a nreve was struck...baer does not seem to think the bike riders share any blame...and the numbers will always go up when you keep building bike paths down the main roads.
why not enforce the bikers to share the sidewalks that were widened for just this...i'll bet the nice "young" lady in the photo has never been to a bike safety class...if there is such a thing on marco...and if she were my mother i'd make her "hang it up".

Please, the last thing I need is more inconsiderate bikers on the sidewalks, widened or not. As a Walker, I’m thinking it would be safer for me to walk in the bike lane facing traffic.
As far as our rumored to be the new Chief Bear is concerned, he looks like he could use some “bike time” to lose weight.

marconed writes:

You can drive anywhere on marco at night til early morning and see bike riders wearing dark clothes and no headlight or taillights. I believe on Naples theres an ordinance that you have to have lights. Why not here?.Another point,we dont need bike paths the city poured sidewalks on both sides of Marco Lake Dr and everyone still rides on the road.

Tigertail writes:

The motto is "share the road!" As a full time cyclist who rides 4,000 to 5,000 miles a year, I feel like I have the experience to talk about this topic. 98% of the drivers are courteous to cyclists, and visa versa. It's the 2% of drivers and cyclists that are the problem. For some reason, some drivers feel like they have to intimadate cyclists in the roadway. They honk their horns for no reason, try pulling their car/truck as close as possble to the cyclist when passing them, or unnecesarily speed up to turn in front of the cyclist coming up to an intersection and turn in front of them. The other scary time is when the cyclist is going up a small bridge on the island and there is no bike lane to use. Instead of the driver waiting 10-15 seconds for the cyclists to safely go up the bridge, they tailgate, cut off, and/or cross the double yellow line and go into on coming traffic. This is a recipe for a serious accident!
Cyclists can be a problem too. The ones who ride and jog going the wrong direction (against traffic) in the bike lanes, or weave all over the road going 2 miles an hour on side streets, or who fail to watch out for cars pulling out of driveways.
Why can't we all share the roads? Just do the right thing, slow down when passing a cyclists, obey the 3 foot move over rule!!, and keep an eye out for everyone as you need to watch out for other cars, trucks, motorcycles, runners, people walking, and cyclists.

happy6 writes:

i agree with several of your comments tigertail...but, i mean, look at the picture...does this nice lady have any business riding a bike and especially with a dog in the basket....but she's probably riding a bike because her driver's license got revoked...there is an age at which one needs to stop doing certain things.

Tigertail writes:

LoL... Shadow. You said it right!

happy6 writes:

klaus....PLEASE GET A BIKE AND RIDE IN THE STREET...ANY STREET, ANY DIRECTION...AND CARRY A SIGN "I'M KLAUS".

blogsmog writes:

Shultz..err excuse me Klaus, shouldn't you be on the lookout for escapees for stalag 13, instead of blogging all the time? ...

26yearsonmarco writes:

in response to GorchFock:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Klaus: My historical knowledge is based on stories told to me, during my childhood, by an Uncle who served under General Patton during WWII. One of my prize possessions was a German helmet he sent me with a bullet hole through it.
Also, my Mother had many relatives killed in London during the bombing, so do not give your BS about Hogans Heros.

blogsmog writes:

in response to 26yearsonmarco:

Klaus: My historical knowledge is based on stories told to me, during my childhood, by an Uncle who served under General Patton during WWII. One of my prize possessions was a German helmet he sent me with a bullet hole through it.
Also, my Mother had many relatives killed in London during the bombing, so do not give your BS about Hogans Heros.

Shultz..sorry.. Klaus, you should be happy we base our opinions of the germans in WWII on a silly little TV Show, if you like we could base our opinions on the facts....but i dont think you really want to got there.

captnjimbo writes:

test

captnjimbo writes:

I feel qualified to comment on this, a bike rider for 25 years on Marco Island. First the issue of share sidewalks. I always yield to pedestrians. Period. I have a bell, I carefully move onto the street if coming from behind and if I can't do that safely I simply stop until the pedestrian passes.

As far as shared road use, most streets here have adequate space for bikes and cars. But some bikers and even people walking seem to have an attitude of entitlement. Dumb. Declaring equal rights against a car or truck will get you killed. People going up to a stop sign are looking for cars coming not bikes that can be not there one second and be there the next and cars have blind spots. Also in case you don't know it everyone's eyes have blind spots

Also we are loaded with strangers in paradise that sometimes are gawking at the island beauty and Florida is kind to older drivers. Does it not occur to bikers that there are many drivers that don't see as well or reflexes are comprimised...trust me these are real issues. Bikers must be defensive, we are vunerable and should act that way.

Mayor_McCheese writes:

in response to 26yearsonmarco:

Klaus: My historical knowledge is based on stories told to me, during my childhood, by an Uncle who served under General Patton during WWII. One of my prize possessions was a German helmet he sent me with a bullet hole through it.
Also, my Mother had many relatives killed in London during the bombing, so do not give your BS about Hogans Heros.

Sorry, but your historical knowledge is actually terribly flawed. I'm sure you had no idea you were conversing with a 13th century pirate.

blogsmog writes:

Seargent Shultz, in less than 3 years the USA not only armed its self but most of its allies in WWII. Then we shipped them half way around the world, not only to Europe but the pacific where we were fighting a completely different war,
Two wars at the same time against completely inhumane enemies, we kicked butt, and we were compassionate after the wars. My only wish is that your family in Germany ended up on the soviet side of things after we beat you down, that way I wouldn't have to waiste my time defending the greatest country on earth from clowns like yourself because you wouldn't even be here.

2themoon writes:

Blogsmog, you forgot to tell the idiot we rebuilt europe after the war,..on our dime.

MarcoCitizen writes:

It sounds like the Bicycle Commission members are atypically inattentive and accident prone relative to the overwhelming majority of careful and responsible bicycle users on the Island. What is the point here?

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