Bicyclist Alan Snel has a real passion for cycling. He has biked across the country solo twice and bikes more than 12,000 miles a year on the local roads of Tampa Bay. Alan Snel covered government and business news for more than 20 years before he went from Tampa Tribune reporter to bicycle awareness/rights activist in Tampa Bay in 2006. During his time as a bicycle advocate, he has worked hard for safety measure and bicycle lanes, and forging political relationships to make bicycling more prominent in Tampa Bay. That may all have come to an end on March 7th.
As Alan was riding on that morning on Old Dixie Highway near Fort Pierce shortly after 8 a.m., he was struck from behind by a vehicle operated by 65-year-old Dennis Brophy. According to the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office police accident report, Brophy was inattentive and his condition was noted as fatigued. Police also noted that Brophy was in the middle of a breathing treatment when the crash occurred.
But no citation was issued.
“Florida is a no-fault state,” said Deputy Bryan Beaty, spokesman for the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office. “He didn’t intentionally hit the bicyclist and there’s no evidence that indicates he purposely set out that day to go and run over a bicyclist.”
Surely, it’s ironic and tragic that one of Florida’s leading advocates for bicycle safety was mowed down by a distracted, tired driver who told police he was blinded by the sun and didn’t even see Snel prior to the crash.
Florida leads the nation in bicycle deaths and, according to the police, there is nothing to be done about this particular crash in terms of a traffic citation. Of course, Alan Snel may decide to avail himself of the civil justice system in order to extract justice from this tragedy caused by a distracted driver.