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Study looks at bikes vs. car crashes in St. Johns County

6:13 PM, Nov 11, 2013   |    comments
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ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- "It is so very, very sad," Sue Pettit said Monday. She lives just across Daveston Avenue from where Randy Miller lived in St. Augustine.  She said she has known him and his family for decades.

"Randy always rode his bicycle because that was the only form of transportation he had," Pettit explained.

She said Miller was riding his bicycle home from work at the International House of Pancakes Friday night when a car hit him on State Road 16, just west of Four Mile Road. Troopers said the car took off, leaving Miller on State Road 16. He was less than a mile from home.

Pettit remembered, "Randy always rode in the bike path."

Troopers say the driver has not been found.

"This is an issue. This is an obvious problem," Heather Neville said Monday afternoon. Neville is a bike advocate and the Executive Director of a cycling group called VeloFest in St. Augustine. She is helping St. Johns County study bike vs. car crashes.

"In the last week, there have been six reported incidents in the county. That doesn't include the number in the city or in the beach, just the county," Neville noted.

Neville is helping the county gather information to better understand how many bike crashes happen on roads in St. Johns County. She said, the data shows 60 bike crashes in the last two years, and she said many more go unreported.

"It's beyond fault at this point," she said, meaning it's beyond blaming the driver or the cyclist.

"When collisions get to this quantity, there's a deeper seated problem," Neville noted.

She is working with state and county agencies - asking questions such as "Is there an infrastructure problem? Is there a sanctuary problem?" The she added, "We all know there's an education/awareness problem."

Neville said it will take law enforcement, schools, and government agencies to come up with solutions and better cyclist/driver education so cases like Randy Miller's won't happen as often.

Tuesday, Neville will meet with the Community Traffic Safety Team in St. Johns County. She said it's driven by the Department of Transportation.

Neville also reminded drivers about the 3 foot law which states drivers must provide cyclists three feet of space. She also said cyclists have to operate their bicycles just like any other vehicle on the road, following the rules of the road.  

Meanwhile, Pettit shook her head, looking across at her neighbor's home. "It's tragic just to leave a person on a bike just like that."

Miller had done what he did for years, she said. He peddled down his road to State Road 16 to go to work... but Friday, he didn't come home.  

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