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Longboat Key Wed Aug 25, 2010 4 years ago

Two bicyclists seriously injured in Key crash

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by: Robin Hartill Managing Editor

Two bicyclists were injured and transported to Bayfront Medical Center via Bayflite helicopter after a vehicle struck them Saturday.

According to a Longboat Key Police Department report, around 8:40 a.m., Cristi Eslinger, 45, Regina Bonynge, 46, and Harry Hammond, 52, all of Sarasota, were riding in the southbound bicycle lane of Gulf of Mexico Drive and Outrigger Lane when they were hit by a 2008 Mercedes-Benz driven by Milton Comer, 81, of Longboat Key. The report states that Comer was driving northbound on Gulf of Mexico Drive when “for (an) unknown reason,” he crossed into the southbound lane. Eslinger and Bonynge sustained serious injuries.

Hammond was not injured.

According to Longboat Key Fire Rescue Interim Chief Paul Dezzi, one woman had a fractured wrist and a possible head injury, while the other woman suffered possible injuries to her lower extremities.

A hospital spokeswoman confirmed Monday afternoon that both women remained hospitalized in fair condition.

Comer was cited for careless driving, and police submitted a request for a driver’s license re-exam.

The incident was the second accident in two weeks in which a Bayflite helicopter responded to a bicycle accident on Longboat. The earlier crash occurred Aug. 7, when Steven Paley, 48, of Sarasota, approached the intersection of Gulf of Mexico Drive and Bay Isles Parkway on his bicycle and hit the brakes abruptly, causing the bicycle to flip. According to Longboat Key Police Chief Al Hogle, Paley has since recovered and retrieved his bicycle from the police station.

Hogle said that bicyclists can stay safe by being aware of their surroundings.

“You should have a mirror on your bike and be looking over your shoulder,” Hogle said.

Contact Robin Hartill at rhartill@yourobserver.com.

BICYCLE SAFETY TIPS

According to Longboat Key Fire Rescue Interim Chief Paul Dezzi, bicyclists can stay safe by following these tips:
• Always wear a helmet.
• Don’t ride against traffic.
• Ride your bicycle near the right-hand edge of the road.
• Always use turn signals when making turns or stops.
• Look out for cars at cross streets, driveways and parking places.
• Use caution when checking traffic, and don’t swerve when looking over your shoulder.
• Wear brightly colored clothing to stand out to drivers.

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