One of a cyclist’s worst nightmares claimed another victim on Monday afternoon on Gulf Blvd. near Howard Drive, in Belleair Beach. News accounts report Nathen Wright was cycling southbound in the bike lane when the driver of a pickup truck traveling in the same direction reached down to pick up a notebook. In the process, the truck swerved to the right out of its lane and struck the cyclist from behind, severely injuring him.
A cyclist is most vulnerable from being run down by a driver approaching from behind. This is on the mind of anyone bicycling on the road, especially where the speed limits exceed 30 mph. An approaching driver will be traveling at speeds three to five times faster than the cyclist and will overtake them in seconds. There is little a cyclist can do to protect themselves in this type of crash. They have to rely on drivers keeping their eyes on the road and their vehicles under control.
This horrible collision is another reminder to drivers of the danger of even one or two seconds of distraction. No driver wants to cause an injury to a cyclist or anyone else. At the same time, too many drivers intentionally take their eyes off the road to check their cell phone, reach for something or talk to someone in the car. These brief seconds of distraction can be more dangerous to cyclists than if the driver was driving under the influence of alcohol. Too many drivers disregard the risk their distraction creates for another innocent user of the road. This has to change.