OLDSMAR, FL - A 29-year-old Clearwater man was killed Friday night when a pickup truck ran over him, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said.
According to the report, the crash happened just before 10 p.m when 53-year-old William Cowan of Tampa was pulling out of a driveway on the 3600 block of Tampa Rd. in his 2011 Dodge Ram pickup truck. He was attempting to access the westbound lane of the roadway. Vitalii Karpenko was riding his bicycle east on the north sidewalk when Cowan accelerated and the truck struck him.
The impact pinned the cyclist under the pickup truck. Karpenko suffered fatal injuries at the scene of the crash.
Cowan was not injured. Detectives say alcohol may have been a contributing factor in the incident but it is still under investigation.
There is a debate among some cyclists over whether it is safer to ride on the sidewalk or on a road. Each side firmly believes they are right. There is nothing to say this tragic bike crash couldn't have happened if the cyclist was on the road, rather than riding on the sidewalk.
The reality is many drivers aren't looking for a cyclist on a sidewalk. But, drivers have the greater responsibility because of the danger their vehicle presents to a cyclist or a pedestrian. Under Florida law, bicyclists have every right to be on the sidewalk, regardless of which direction they are riding.