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UPDATE: Cyclist hit in Sanibel crosswalk listed in fair condition

By Staff | May 26, 2015

A Sanibel bicyclist seriously injured in a May 22 collision is listed in fair condition at Lee Memorial Hospital.

Richard Schneider had been airlifted with critical injuries following the mishap at about 9 a.m. on Periwinkle Way. Witnesses said Schneider, 73, was knocked from his bicycle by the driver of a gray Chrysler sedan as he rode into a marked crosswalk near the St. Michael and All Angels Church in Sanibel. Witnesses said Schneider appeared unresponsive in the roadway. He was not wearing a helmet and carried no identification.

Witnesses said a driver in a westbound Honda SUV had stopped to allow Schneider to cross, but that the driver of the eastbound Chrysler struck the rider. Gaeton Long, 79, was behind the wheel. He was with his wife. The couple are from The Villages in central Florida. Lee County sheriff’s deputies are handling the investigation. Sanibel police had closed off Periwinkle for more than two hours following the mishap.

Sanibel police chief William Tomlinson said bicyclists in Sanibel’s 25 miles of mixed-use pathways have the option of riding crosswalks, but suggested that walking a bike is safer.

Remarkably, members of the Sanibel Bicycle Club sponsored an event last Wednesday honoring those injured or killed on bicycles. The Ride of Silence attracted some 100 bicyclists on the 10-mile ride. Lee County has logged nearly 30 bicyclists killed on roadways since 2009, making it one of the more deadly regions for riders in the country.

Sanibel last November was recognized with a silver award by the League of American Bicyclists. The city in 2010 was awarded a bronze designation by the association that was founded in 1880 as the League of American Wheelmen to advocate for paved roads. The silver “Bicycle Friendly Award” recognized Sanibel’s commitment to improve conditions and investing in bicycling pathways, education programs, infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies. There are some 326 US communities with the same silver status, only three others in Florida.