ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - St. Petersburg police are clarifying the events that led up to a bicyclist being struck by a hit-and-run driver after surveillance footage showed the victim riding past a stop sign. They said the flashing lights to stop traffic on the Pinellas Trail were activated when the bicyclist was hit.
Police said the clarification comes “after much debate on social media.” On Friday, the agency released a surveillance video showing the collision, which occurred on November 1. Investigators said that before the victim entered the crosswalk, one of the two cyclists seen crossing the same crosswalk on the opposite end of the street pressed a button to activate the flashing lights to stop traffic. Those lights signal for vehicles to stop.
When the victim entered the crosswalk, those lights were still flashing, police said. The lights were still on when he crossed halfway over 49th Street South and when the suspect’s vehicle hit him.
The driver of the suspected hit-and-run vehicle, a white Chrysler sedan, stopped to move the bike out of the road, then fled from the scene, police said.
“Although the bicyclist could've exercised more caution and stopped, he had the right of way and won't face any charges. It is the law that drivers stop if there is anyone in a crosswalk,” police wrote in a statement. “The driver who hit him was obligated to stay at the scene until police arrived.”
The victim had broken bones, police said, but his injuries are not life-threatening. Anyone with information on the driver is asked to call St. Petersburg police at 727-893-7780.