Robert W. Lemon, of Middleville RI, hoped to own a bike shop one day. Unfortunately, Robert’s dream was cut short on Labor Day when he was struck and killed by a hit and run driver on the Memorial Causeway Bridge in Clearwater, FL. Lemon was riding on a tandem bicycle with his girlfriend Hilary Michalak. Hilary was critically injured and remains hospitalized in St. Petersburg, FL.
Robert was an avid biker and often rode with caution. He wore a helmet and even had an ankle bracelet with his father’s name and phone number engraved on it. The impact from the collision splintered the tandem bicycle and sent the couple flying 50 feet apart from each other. The driver of the vehicle, 29 year old Christopher Patrick Weed, just kept going. He was ultimately arrested on two felony charges of leaving the scene of a crash: one for Rob Lemon’s death, and the other for the injuries to Hilary.
Christopher Weed came forward Tuesday after the crash to say his green Nissan pickup truck may have been involved in the deadly crash. He told authorities that before the collision, he had just left his job at Shephard’s Beach Resort. He told police he blacked out on the way home and did not remember hitting anyone, but he decided to contact the police after seeing a report of the crash on the news. Police Chief Anthony Holloway stated “It seems a little fishy”.
Police inspected Weed’s vehicle and discovered the windshield was missing and there was noticeable damage to the front and top of the truck. Weed gave explanation regarding how the windshield went missing.
For years, Florida has ranked near the top in the nation for bicycling fatalities and injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Florida had 125 bike fatalities in 2011. More than 300 cyclists rode across the Clearwater Memorial Causeway on Sunday in memory of Lemon, who was a manager at the Ride ‘N Roll Cyclery in Largo. The Florida Department of Transportation is painting designated bicycle lanes on that stretch of road to make it safer for cyclists.
According to the California Highway Patrol, there are several contributory factors in most biking accidents:
- Auto driver making unsafe left or right turn
- Bicyclist riding from driveway or sidewalk into path of car
- Auto driver opening door as bicycle passes
- Bicycle rider weaving, leaving edge of road or bike lane
- Bicyclist making unsafe left turn
- Bicycle without headlight or reflectors
In most cases, good judgment exhibited by both cyclists and motor vehicle drivers mitigate the risk of enjoying the beautiful Florida weather. Most unfortunately in this case, the criminal negligence of one has caused irreparable damage to at least two families.
Rob Lemon is survived by his father and step-mother, Patrick and Corinne Lemon of Charlotte, mother and stepfather, Susan and Jon houseman of Middleville, brothers, Sean Lemon of Grand Rapids, and Daniel and Tim Lemon of Lansing.
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This is yet another tragic reminder of how dangerous the roads can be for pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, and riders. This couple was obeying all traffic laws, were wearing helmets, and proceeding with caution. Sometimes even when we use the roadways cautiously, danger ensues. If you or a loved one has been injured on a Florida roadway, contact the experienced Trial Attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA. We are always available for a free case evaluation by calling (727) 451-6900.