Cycling stories

Letter to the Editor

I read the article in The Sun about staying safe while cycling and wanted to share a personal experience that not many have thought of and I feel needs to be addressed.

I own Harry’s Grill on Gulf Drive in Anna Maria. At the front of our location along Gulf are parallel parking spaces. When you are parked and exit the car from the passenger side you open your door onto a sidewalk. The staff at Harry’s Grill have witnessed two very serious accidents within the past year.

Once, a cyclist was riding at a pretty good clip down this sidewalk with the flow of traffic. A car had parked in one of the parallel spots and the passenger opened the door to get out of the car. At the exact moment that the cyclist was coming. The cyclist ran into the door, flew up in the air off the flipped bike and landed on their head. They were very badly injured. Our staff ran out with the first aid kit until others arrived to treat the injured cyclist. The passenger was OK since they had not gotten out of the car but the car door was damaged.

On a more recent occasion, a man on a bicycle was pulling his baby in one of those canvas covered wagons behind the bike. The same thing happened, where a car had parked and a passenger was exiting the car. The dad swerved his bicycle just in time and ran into one of our huge expensive planters (which broke into pieces) to avoid the car door. The dad was shaken and the baby was OK, but if he had been going faster and had hit the door it would have been worse.

Is there any law against riding on sidewalks where parallel parkers are exiting onto the same sidewalk?

Jan Labriola

Anna Maria