Venice residents call for safer intersections after bicyclist's death

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Sharing the road can be a challenge for cyclists and drivers, especially off Center Road in Venice. 

"When the light turns green, they are racing to the next traffic light," said Don Lacoste, the vice president of the Coastal Cruisers Bicycle Club. 

Lacoste hasn't been able to forget last week's crash that injured four bicyclists. One died of their injuries.

"We try to avoid it, but it's concerning. My goal on Center Road is to get off it as quickly as I can," he said. 

Four cyclists were hit by a driver off Center Road on October 30. The Florida Highway Patrol is still investigating, but they said it appears the cyclists made an improper lane change. 

57-year old William Harrison died from his injuries. Three others continue to heal. 

All belonged to the Coastal Cruisers' Club. 

"We are part of a 560 group of cyclists and we consider ourselves family to each other," said Lacoste. 

Lacoste and others believe something needs to be done. Part of their concern comes from the fluctuating speeds along Center Road.

In some areas, it's 45 miles an hour, and in others, 35 or lower, but most residents say drivers are doing well above that. 

"It's almost like a race to get over to Rockley. People consider center road a part of I-75," said Lacoste. 

Residents from Meadow Run community packed a Sarasota County Commission meeting. They asked commissioners to deny an access road to future development near their neighborhood. 

"I guarantee you more crashes are going to continue and possible deaths," said Patricia Abde. 

Patricia Abde said, without a traffic light or speed change, it will get worse. 

"There's been over 13 heavy-duty crashes in the last five years at that intersection," she said. "It's going to continue." 

Commissioners approved the new road. They said they'd be willing to talk about a speed change in the future. Residents said they are ready. 

"I'm going to keep on fighting till they do something," said Abde.