Increase in hit-and-run collisions

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The number of hit-and-run accidents on Orange County roads has increased.

Florida Highway Safety figures show 6,914 hit and run crashes last year, while 2020 saw 6,136; this is an increase of 778 accidents.

That’s according to numbers provided by Florida Highway Safety. Hundreds of other crashes in 2021, up from 2020, include run-ins with cyclists on the roads.


What do you want to know

  • Number of hit-and-run crashes increased from 2020 to 2021, Florida Highway Safety says
  • Data shows 2021 saw 6,914 crashes, while 2020 had 6,136
  • Cyclists are on high alert as the numbers include some of their own

Avid cyclists suspect some erratic driving behavior and distracted driving might be to blame, but urge caution while advising cyclists to stick to trails and special bike lanes.

It’s a scary trend, for cyclist Lisa Portelli. President of the Board of Directors of Bike/Walk Central Florida, she travels a few tens of kilometers each day before working with a group of friends. She’s had it for years.

“Riding for me has also become my social life. It’s just a fun thing to do with friends,” she exclaims.

Portelli and his group try to stay on the roads less traveled in his neighborhood of Winter Park, but it’s not easy to do in the morning traffic. Drivers mixed with cyclists can be a real recipe for danger.

So, she prefers to stay on trails and paths meant specifically for those like her group, and wants even more paved through the area.

“Drivers driving too close…there’s a 3ft rule that we’d like them to stay clear and give us at least a half lane of space,” Portelli asks.

Florida Highway Safety figures show 6,914 hit and run crashes last year, while 2020 saw 6,136; this is an increase of 778 accidents.

Bike shop guru and rider David Dodd isn’t exactly surprised by those numbers. He himself has seen his share of accidents while driving. He also had the experience of being a victim. He once injured his neck when a car hit him on State Road 434.

“I’ve been hit by a car twice since 1988. And I don’t know them personally, but I know people who are in groups I ride with, last year three people were hit,” says Dodd.

This is why he recommends safety equipment to his clients: lamps, helmet, reflective vest, etc. That’s what he rolls with, never letting his few bad experiences stop him from doing what he loves.

“That’s what I like to do,” he shrugs.

The former soldier says the horseback riding exercise is just too good to stop. He’s been doing it for decades.

“Man, I took a bike to Korea when I was in the army in ’88, so since ’88,” he adds.

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