Getting There: Bike crash deaths up in Hillsborough County

By Chuck Henson, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The city of Tampa was recently recognized in Bicycling Magazine as one of the 50 best bike cities in the United States.

But as Real Time Traffic Expert Chuck Henson reports, bike deaths are up in Hillsborough County.

Rohit Shastri, a student at the University of Tampa, talked about one of the many problem areas for bikers.

"I feel really scared to use the bike lanes," he said. "I mean, the cars are going so close, and I would rather take the sidewalk than go on there. I feel afraid to go on that bike lane."

In 2014 and 2015 in Hillsborough County, eight cyclists lost their lives in crashes with cars. In 2016, the number jumped to 12.

"We try to look at the trends and say, 'What's really causing these crashes,'" said Stephen Benson of the Florida Department of Transportation. "At the end of the day, what we notice is it's just people who are not being courteous to one another."

As drivers, one thing we can all do to make cyclists and pedestrians safer in their space is be more aware in ours. One great example of that is the big white line -- the stop line where cars should stop before before making a right on red.

Of course, sometimes there are changes that need to be made to the road or signs to make a safer space for everyone who uses the road.

The state has invested a lot of money on those changes -- in new crosswalks, lane markings and dedicated walk-bike paths to help bring the number killed on our roads to zero.

Now it's our turn. Be an aware driver.

Bay News 9 has partnered with the Florida Department of Transportation on its “Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow” campaign. The idea is to make sure we’re all sharing the road with people who walk or ride their bike and everyone makes it where they need to be safely. The Florida DOT has all kinds of resources for you on AlertTodayFlorida.com

You can even look at interactive maps of some of the trouble spot areas.