The excuses negligent drivers use to explain accidents involving motorcycles, pedestrians and bicycles sometimes have a veiled meaning. "I just didn't see him" is a common refrain. The unspoken sentiment may be that a person or small vehicle doesn't belong on the same road with a car or truck.
Traffic in the Florida Panhandle can have a pecking order. Drivers might feel rights to the road are dependent on the size of the vehicle they operate. The attitude ranks motorized vehicle operators above motorcycles, vehicles without motors and pedestrians. Power and bulk elevate semi-trucks to lords over all other traffic.
Certainly, not all Escambia County drivers look down their hoods at pedestrians or smaller vehicle drivers. Some do, with unfortunate and deadly results.
A bicyclist on a fund-raising mission was struck by the mirror of a passing truck in Polk County. The 24-year-old rider, dependent on a hearing aid, was knocked down and injured. The victim survived with fractured facial bones, a concussion and skin abrasions.
The young bicyclist intends to complete the journey he began about six months ago, a quest to help deaf people afford to hear. The man rode his bike nearly 10,000 miles across the U.S., from one professional baseball stadium to another, to raise money for surgical implants. He had successfully accumulated over $140,000 for the cause.
The bicyclist became a truck accident victim less than 200 miles from his final goal, a Miami finish line. He's already planning to complete the trip, when doctors permit him to get back on a bike.
Polk County authorities have not decided whether to charge the truck driver. The accident investigation remains open.
Criminal investigators might accept the "I didn't see him" excuse in pedestrian or bicycle crashes. A civil court may not be as forgiving. Compensation is due to accident victims injured by large-vehicle attitudes and negligence.
firstcoastnews.com, "Deaf man cycling for cause injured in Fla. crash" No author given, Sep. 23, 2013