Recent bicycle fatalities highlight importance of safety on the roads

Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 8:04 PM CDT
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Local bike shop owner Steve Burdeshaw says his son could have died in a cycling crash. Burdeshaw believes a helmet saved his life.

“The person, actually, my son, was wearing this helmet, he was (going) 21 miles an hour and went head first. He had a severe concussion and broke his collarbone. If he hadn’t had this helmet on, we’d be having a whole different story to tell,” Burdeshaw said.

Now he wants to see more safe places for cyclists to ride.

“The city’s talking about a bike path between downtown (Panama City) and St. Andrew’s, that would be really cool if that actually happened, that would give us some good places to ride for a good distance, that would be nice,” said Burdeshaw.

In 2020, there were 53 bicycle crashes in Bay County, including three that were fatal. Already there have been ten crashes in 2021, and in the last 24 hours, two people have died.

The recent crashes highlight the importance of safe biking practices, according to Panama City Police Department Captain John Moore.

“When they’re on the roadway they need to go with the flow of traffic, they need to stay to the right as far as possible and use a bicycle lane when it’s possible,” said Moore.

It’s not just cyclists who need to take safety measures. Drivers can also do their part to be cautious.

“Obviously we want people to stay alert for bicyclists, slow down whenever they see one and give them three feet of space for safety when passing them,” said Moore.

He added that cyclists should also wear bright-colored clothing, have reflectors on, and put lights on their bikes when riding at night.

More information on bicycle fatalities and crashes can be found on the Florida Highway Patrol website.

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