TAMPA, Fla. - Hal Flowers was out for a leisurely bike ride on Tampa’s scenic Bayshore Boulevard, but he never made it home. The Tampa business attorney and father of four was crossing the street near Rome Avenue when investigators say a speeding motorcyclist crashed into him.
Witnesses quickly ran over to try to help Flowers, but it was too late.
“The bicyclist was thrown 25 yards. His leg was severed. I didn’t see him move after the accident,” witness Russell Olinger recalled.
The motorcyclist, who has not been identified, didn't survive the crash either.
This is now the third fatal crash, and fifth death, on Bayshore in the last two years. Community groups say they are fed up.
“Right now, because of our ‘safer at home’ order, our entire city is a virtual school zone. We have more biking and more walking than we normally do,” said Christine Acosta with Pedal Power Promoters, who advocates for bike safety in the Tampa Bay area.
And with fewer cars on the road, she says, there are more speeders.
Some nonprofit groups, like Walk Bike Tampa Bay, are asking the city for speed bumps and cameras.
They also want to see Bayshore closed to vehicular traffic.
Tatiana Bryan walks on Bayshore, but wouldn’t think of riding her bike here.
“I don’t feel particularly comfortable in the bike lane at this point. As a pedestrian, I feel OK, but yeah, barriers would be a good idea, I’d say.”
Bystanders rushed to help after the crash
In May of 2018, Jessica Raubenolt was pushing her 1-year-old daughter in a stroller. Investigators say three teenagers were street racing and one teen plowed into them, killing both mother and daughter.
In January of this year, George Gage was taking a stroll on Bayshore when he was struck and killed by a suspected drunk driver who jumped the curb and plowed through a retaining wall, knocking Gage into the water.
Following these three tragic incidents on Bayshore, some say it’s time to put some safeguards in place.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor put out a statement this afternoon saying she has looked into closing roads like Bayshore, but has decided not to because it would cause more of an attraction for people to gather. For now, she continues to promote social distancing to flatten the curve.
"I have directed our Chief of Police to launch a major, citywide enforcement to crack down on speeding and dangerous driving behavior," Castor wrote. No loss of life on our streets is acceptable."