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Longboat Key Thursday, May 16, 2019 3 months ago

Report on Longboat fatal crash concludes driver, cyclist share responsibility

New York bicycle rider was killed in crash with parked truck on Gulf of Mexico Drive in April.
by: Eric Garwood Managing Editor

An investigative report following a fatal collision between a bicycle and a parked truck last month said the rider who died and the truck’s driver share responsibility in the incident on Gulf of Mexico Drive.

Cyclist Ridgely Harrison III, 67, of Tupper Lake, N.Y., was killed in the April 22 crash

Investigators from Sarasota Police examined the scene of the crash, spoke to witnesses and consulted GPS data and other evidence in coming to their findings, which were released this week. The report says Harrison was northbound in the bike lane in the middle of the 5800 block and crashed into the back of the truck.

Truck driver Steven J. Cline of Port Charlotte was cited for parking a vehicle in a bicycle lane.

Harrison “failed to operate (his bicycle) in a careful and prudent manner, having regard for traffic and all other attendant circumstances which ultimately caused injuries that took his life.‘’

According to the report, Cline – a driver for O’Green Concrete Pumping of Naples – arrived in the 5800 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive for a job and parked with the truck's right wheels in the grass and the left wheels touching the white line marking the edge of the northbound driving surface at around 10:35 a.m.

After setting the parking brake and turning on emergency flashers of his Mack concrete pumping truck, he walked up the driveway to look for the best way to access the property and also consult with a contractor at the work site.

He told investigators he was away from his truck for about 5-7 minutes and when he returned, he found a Longboat Key Police officer on the scene and the victim on the ground behind the truck.

Investigators reported Harrison was likely traveling between 20-25 mph and was riding with so-called aero bars on his bicycle, which allow riders to lean forward with forearm rests in addition to handgrips.

Harrison was pronounced dead at Blake Memorial Hospital.

Sarasota police investigated the fatality in cooperation with Longboat Police because the town does not maintain a traffic-homicide investigator.

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