FHP: Severely injured bicyclist at fault in crash

Video from YouTube

A bicyclist who was knocked off her bicycle and dragged underneath a trailer in February was ticketed Sunday by the Florida Highway Patrol, which said she was at fault.

Elayne A. Jackson, 46, of East Naples, received a moving violation ticket for an incorrect left turn.

On the afternoon of Feb. 29, Jackson was on Vanderbilt Beach Road attempting to turn left onto U.S. 41 North.

Stopped at a red light, Jackson and her bicycle were positioned in between the left turn lane and the through lane for vehicles going straight, according to the accident report. When the light turned green, Jackson remained stopped with a red arrow while the driver to her right, Jerry Mac Blackwell, 52, of Bonita Springs, proceeded forward.

Somehow, Jackson was ejected from her bicycle and dragged underneath a trailer towed by Blackwell’s Ford F350. Troopers later measured a 229-foot trail of blood in the intersection.

Jackson was flown to Lee Memorial Hospital after having fractured her knee, severed her liver, lost her left breast and broken three vertebrae, nine ribs and her collar bone, among other injuries. She was released from the hospital about two weeks ago.

“I am disappointed that I’ve been cited,” Jackson said Monday, referring other questions to her lawyer.

Attorney Theodore Zelman said Jackson was improving, though she is due for another skin graft and still requires at-home care and the use of pain medications.

Jackson has not decided whether she will dispute the citation, he said.

In March, Zelman filed a notice of claim with the Collier County Commission, asking the county to accept financial responsibility for the accident. Blackwell is a county employee who was driving a county vehicle.

Zelman said Monday he still was investigating the claim.

County attorney Jeffrey A. Klatzkow said the county had not reached a decision about the claim.

“We’re still a defendant in this, and it will be tried,” he said. “It’s still a horrific accident and an awful tragedy.”

© 2012 Naples Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 48

Max_Headroom writes:

It's about time she's ticketed. She is totally at fault.

RickScott writes:

yep-her fault.

Ruger writes:

Crosswalk signals are useless until some enforcement happens. You can watch regular infractions right beside the courthouse at the intersection of Airport/41 every day.

How hard is it to wait until you have the correct signal?

DonkeyWhispererakaDuh_novan writes:

Painful lesson that I hope others can learn from.

wentfishn writes:

in response to Ruger:

Crosswalk signals are useless until some enforcement happens. You can watch regular infractions right beside the courthouse at the intersection of Airport/41 every day.

How hard is it to wait until you have the correct signal?

Good post !

Here4Now writes:

Doubt that's gonna keep that nutjob from sueing.

rybo writes:

Great reporting......

First, can this sentence be written so it's at least readable: "the FHP revealed that Jackson for at fault as a truck driven by Jerry Blackwell tried to turn left from Vanderbilt Beach Road to U.S. 41 North."

Second the truck was going straight through the intersection, not trying to make a left turn.

Lastly, what law did she violate?
What is the correct method for making a left hand turn?

Here4Now writes:

in response to rybo:

Great reporting......

First, can this sentence be written so it's at least readable: "the FHP revealed that Jackson for at fault as a truck driven by Jerry Blackwell tried to turn left from Vanderbilt Beach Road to U.S. 41 North."

Second the truck was going straight through the intersection, not trying to make a left turn.

Lastly, what law did she violate?
What is the correct method for making a left hand turn?

English as a second language

SunStar writes:

Thanks FHP! Erratic bicylists and pedestrians are driving car drivers crazy lately..

fritobandito writes:

GOOD. Lesson learned, hopefully. Personal responsibility.

QueBonita writes:

in response to arrow:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Florida roads are not designed for bicycles.
Safe cyclists pedal sidewalks and don't test their right-of-way on half-blind octogenarians.
Smart cyclists leave their bikes at home.

nativeonepointone writes:

in response to Ruger:

Crosswalk signals are useless until some enforcement happens. You can watch regular infractions right beside the courthouse at the intersection of Airport/41 every day.

How hard is it to wait until you have the correct signal?

I witness no less than 5 each morning. Mother with stroller in 3' wide median, county workers darting in and out of traffic going to work and bus riders running to catch the CAT bus to name a few.

Every year at least one gets killed or badly injured. I was under the impression that jaywalking was an enforcable infraction.

Therealist writes:

I thought it was relatively obvious that if the truck driver struck her and not the cars she was waiting in line with, that she was sticking out too far.

baldygrandpa writes:

From the article I think she probably positioned her bike on the left side of the left turn lane rather than the correct right hand side. This resulted in her being caught by the turn radius of the trailer. She would have been able to avoid the collision had she been in the correct position. Hard lesson.

itmattershere writes:

About time that the law worked. She can learn from her mistake, & others we hope, but in this town good luck.

MisterK writes:

in response to baldygrandpa:

From the article I think she probably positioned her bike on the left side of the left turn lane rather than the correct right hand side. This resulted in her being caught by the turn radius of the trailer. She would have been able to avoid the collision had she been in the correct position. Hard lesson.

"Lookout Grandpa, that trailer's not turning!"

rybo writes:

So if the driver of the truck would have hit a vehicle with the trailer instead of cyclist it would have been the vehicles fault? Lived in this town for 18+ years and the good ol' boy mentality never ceases to amaze!!

The cyclist has a great case. She was stopped, positioned to the right of the outer most turning lane (as per the law) and was hit by a towed trailer, not the truck itself. Sounds like the driver cut the corner a bit due to the slight bend through the intersection or possibly even clipped her with his mirror knocking her down and then dragging her. Either way this will be an interesting case.

rybo writes:

NDN - where are these 'various' videos FHP reviewed? The only video the public has been shown is of such low quality that it's hard to tell there was even an accident.

There must be others because there is no way that out for money only American Traffic Solutions could issue a ticket without being able to clearly read the tag numbers.

fungui writes:

in response to baldygrandpa:

From the article I think she probably positioned her bike on the left side of the left turn lane rather than the correct right hand side. This resulted in her being caught by the turn radius of the trailer. She would have been able to avoid the collision had she been in the correct position. Hard lesson.

My understanding is of this is a little different. I was under the impression that she was on the right hand side of the left turn lane. She positioned herself on the right hand side of a car already in the lane, thus allowing herself to be hit by the person going straight.

If it is illegal for me to lane split on my motorcycle, then it is also illegal for her to do on a bicycle.

Heraclitus writes:

Florida Bicycle law:

http://flbikelaw.org/2010/03/left-tur...

This isn't over.

wes writes:

She obviously wasn't in her lane. Too bad for the ticket on top of the injuries but that's just what has to happen when bikers and walkers don't obey the rules.
I see so many bikers riding illegally, stuff like not signaling or riding the wrong direction right in front of the police and nothing as far as I could tell.
Just today some guy was riding a mini-bike motor cycle down the sidewalk along Rattlesnake Hammock and the police just rode right along like he was invisible.

starvingartist writes:

OK, so while on a bike don't move to the right side of your traffic lane to allow cars to pass you or you will be ticketed and dragged through an intersection. Instead, place yourself squarely in the middle of the lane so no one can pass you without swinging out into another traffic lane. Forget courtesy or some red neck will run your bum over and it will be your fault!

savethewhalz writes:

The plaintiff's attorney, expecting filet mignon from the Public Trough Diner, was just handed a stale turd sandwich from a FHP waitress.

swampbuggy writes:

I certainly hope Mac Blackwell gets a public apology from Michelle Avola with the Naples Pathways Coalition. Remember she was "incensed" he had not been charged and of course wanted more money from the taxpayers via the MPO.
Jackson lawyered up before the investigation was complete. We should receive compensation from her for damages to the trailer and lost county employee time.

rybo writes:

@wes

If she was not in her lane then the truck would have hit her, not the trailer.

The driver of the truck likely proceeded through the intersection and failed to maintain his lane with the entire vehicle and trailer as the intersection requires you to turn slightly to the left to head east on Vanderbilt. It was a large enough trailer that if he started the turn a bit early, the trailer would pass through part of the turning lane.

Interestingly the only video we were able to see is no longer up or has been moved and/or I simply can not locate it. However, if memory serves me the truck was not the first vehicle through the intersection.

FHP, a Collier County vehicle, Naples, and a ticket a month later....believe what you want!!! Sounds like a case of CYA!

Sick writes:

I guess she can throw away that idea of starting a cause.

Some people. I swear. Must be a liberal democrat looking for her entitlements.

Dumb Dumb Dumb.

CoolridenJoe (Inactive) writes:

She was lane splitting and that is not legal! She caused this accident and should be ticketed for it.

Therealist writes:

in response to rybo:

@wes

If she was not in her lane then the truck would have hit her, not the trailer.

The driver of the truck likely proceeded through the intersection and failed to maintain his lane with the entire vehicle and trailer as the intersection requires you to turn slightly to the left to head east on Vanderbilt. It was a large enough trailer that if he started the turn a bit early, the trailer would pass through part of the turning lane.

Interestingly the only video we were able to see is no longer up or has been moved and/or I simply can not locate it. However, if memory serves me the truck was not the first vehicle through the intersection.

FHP, a Collier County vehicle, Naples, and a ticket a month later....believe what you want!!! Sounds like a case of CYA!

Sorry, but the trailer would have clipped one of the vehicles she was stationed between if this were true.

I don't think you have towed before if you think a trailer is capable of making sudden angles like that when being pulled forward by a truck.

I stick to my theory I initially came up with when this story was first released; McBlackwell would have hit a vehicle with his trailer if he was too far over.

I don't believe Miss Jackson took proper precautions to keep herself out of harm's way.

Bigkondorsback (Inactive) writes:

Thank God. Finally something happens that makes sense here!!!

lovemycat writes:

I'm sorry this happened to this lady.
Many bicyclists are a menace on the roads. When you see a pack of them in spandex, you can bet they will fly through stop signs and such. Those people seem to be intent on working up the biggest sweat they can in the shortest time possible. Or, maybe they want to go faster on the route than last time to break their record.
Why can't they get their exercise in a gym and leave the bike lanes for the casual bikers and their families who are cruising along.

absolutsti writes:

all the bikers in naples look like gay aliens, gayliens!

rybo writes:

@bobbyd

I am not the injured cyclist. Don't even know the woman. Have I spent a considerable amount of time on bike? Yes and it's daaammnnnn scary riding in this town. Way worst here then anywhere else I've been. I have not been on the roads with my bike around here for a few years but like looking for motorcycles, I always check twice for cyclists and I also provide a enough room when around them.

@therealist

I have towed a boat that was 28 feet. And when towing at slow speeds if you drive to the inside edge of a corner the rear of the trailer follows on straight line to the front wheel.

I really don't think this woman was out challenging anybody on her bicycle, especially a 6,000lb vehicle towing a very large trailer. From what I hear she was stopped and to the right side of the turn lane as per the law and was run over. The ticket will hopefully get this in front of a judge sooner then later.

ontheroad writes:

so if he hit a car its his fault if he hits a un armored cyclist its the cyclist fault. FHP need to stay on the interstate where they maybe know the laws

malcolmlandry writes:

Wearing a wetsuit while riding a bike does not excuse you from the laws of physics. The whole family laughs our tails off when we see these unfortunate looking people trying to exercise in traffic.

NativeFlaGirl writes:

Sorry, after watching and re-watching the video, the Driver seemed to KNOW that something was UNDER his tires or was wrong with the trailer. He stops right in the middle of the intersection, WHY did he continue thru? Somebody had to see her get pulled under! This is tragic for everyone concerned. Can we just say ACCIDENT and BAD JUDGEMENT ?

amyashby writes:

swampbuggy is a MORON! Michelle should appologize to a guy who hit a cyclist with a trailer, drug her for 200 ft? Because of county missed time? If anyone reads this as anything but a county CYA, you are an uneducated idiot, much like swampbuggy. You pansies should post with your real names here, not your family vehicle. She was on the right side of a turn lane, this is exactly where she should have been. Truck was too close, trailer was too wide. Jerry should not have hit Elayne. He had his head up his a-- and was not paying attention. Don't hit cyclists, its the quickest way to lose your entire net worth. Its like a power boat hitting a sailboat or a kayak. Its not OK and its never the sailboats fault. Unless the county owns the powerboat, then we give the sailboat the ticket and dumb NDN readers think thats the conclusion.

wes writes:

in response to starvingartist:

OK, so while on a bike don't move to the right side of your traffic lane to allow cars to pass you or you will be ticketed and dragged through an intersection. Instead, place yourself squarely in the middle of the lane so no one can pass you without swinging out into another traffic lane. Forget courtesy or some red neck will run your bum over and it will be your fault!

Exactly correct. That's what a rider has to do and it's called 'taking the lane' and is not dis-courteous at all but a requirement for survival.
A biker must be signaling and letting other drivers know and then ride hard. Alot like boating in a way. It takes nerve and confidence and following the traffic rules.

RA713 writes:

in response to ontheroad:

so if he hit a car its his fault if he hits a un armored cyclist its the cyclist fault. FHP need to stay on the interstate where they maybe know the laws

This is one of the few sensible and cogent comments that have been posted. The cyclist was stationary. The truck passed her on her right (in plain view of the truck driver) and did not hit her. The following trailer hit her. Nothing else is relevant.

wes writes:

in response to amyashby:

swampbuggy is a MORON! Michelle should appologize to a guy who hit a cyclist with a trailer, drug her for 200 ft? Because of county missed time? If anyone reads this as anything but a county CYA, you are an uneducated idiot, much like swampbuggy. You pansies should post with your real names here, not your family vehicle. She was on the right side of a turn lane, this is exactly where she should have been. Truck was too close, trailer was too wide. Jerry should not have hit Elayne. He had his head up his a-- and was not paying attention. Don't hit cyclists, its the quickest way to lose your entire net worth. Its like a power boat hitting a sailboat or a kayak. Its not OK and its never the sailboats fault. Unless the county owns the powerboat, then we give the sailboat the ticket and dumb NDN readers think thats the conclusion.

Amy, I definitely agree with you regarding the moron assertion, but it seems to me that the trailer must have been in its lane or the police would not have given her a ticket. I don't believe there is any conspiracy here to protect liability.
Let these guys like SB have their fun, but we all know the truth and it's the drivers' mindset here that are by far the most dangerous part of it all and bikers must set an example and deflate the jeolousy and hate. What the bike haters don't realize is that the vast majority of riders killed aren't the despised spandex riders, but rather recreating old people and children and others just trying to get places.

Ps. I also believe that recreational riding in traffic is more the act of a martyr than one interested in good health. But I support bicycle martyrs and have logged thousands of miles commuting in traffic and it's not for the faint of heart.

My advice to those looking to a wheeled workout: Buy a fat tire bike and ride it on the old ATV and buggy trails and get a safe workout.
But however, I think many of the spandex riders have exibitionist tendencies that need fulfillment.

Heraclitus writes:

in response to wes:

Exactly correct. That's what a rider has to do and it's called 'taking the lane' and is not dis-courteous at all but a requirement for survival.
A biker must be signaling and letting other drivers know and then ride hard. Alot like boating in a way. It takes nerve and confidence and following the traffic rules.

Exactly... for example, much of Orange Blossom drive (which is heavily ridden by cyclists) is too narrow to accommodate both a cyclist and a car. Wasn't there someone a few years ago who "took the lane" on Orange Blossom... and was actually moving pretty fast, although not fast enough for the car behind him, who decided to give him a little "nudge"?

I was cut off this morning. I was on my bike... on the sidewalk... paralleling a right turn lane approaching an intersection, moving at about 15mph, and the old man in the large white car in the turn lane sped up to make the right turn in front of me. His wife in the passenger seat gave me a funny look as I swerved.

You're not even safe on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk.

ontheroad writes:

Everybody loses on this citation by the FHP. A bad driver given a pat on the back is on our roads and a threat to all. Aggressive bullying drivers feel vindicated in their power dominance of the roadways. No lessons learned by drivers of their responsibilities. Bikes and peds alienated from a just legal system will have less or no respect for the laws. When the law suit is over the County’s insurance will pay and the experience ratio will go up with increased premiums paid by the taxpayers.

Heraclitus writes:

A small editorial comment... I have found, when talking to LEOs, that many... maybe most... of them don't cycle or know Florida bicycle law.

So I assume we're observing National Bicycle Month next month? And we're all going to do our part for Bike to Work Day?

Heraclitus writes:

in response to wes:

Amy, I definitely agree with you regarding the moron assertion, but it seems to me that the trailer must have been in its lane or the police would not have given her a ticket. I don't believe there is any conspiracy here to protect liability.
Let these guys like SB have their fun, but we all know the truth and it's the drivers' mindset here that are by far the most dangerous part of it all and bikers must set an example and deflate the jeolousy and hate. What the bike haters don't realize is that the vast majority of riders killed aren't the despised spandex riders, but rather recreating old people and children and others just trying to get places.

Ps. I also believe that recreational riding in traffic is more the act of a martyr than one interested in good health. But I support bicycle martyrs and have logged thousands of miles commuting in traffic and it's not for the faint of heart.

My advice to those looking to a wheeled workout: Buy a fat tire bike and ride it on the old ATV and buggy trails and get a safe workout.
But however, I think many of the spandex riders have exibitionist tendencies that need fulfillment.

There are and have been many bicycle races and triathlons all over this state. There's a difference between riding a road bike and a mountain bike. If I put in too many weeks without getting on my road bike, I'm a little unsteady when I get on it again. The only way to get good at something is to do it often.

These folks are not exhibitionists (although I wear spandex shorts to hold my "package" in place, I usually ride in a T-shirt or sweatshirt), but I really fail to see what part clothing plays in this discussion other than to highlight the idiocy of one side.

More of you need to buy real bikes and use them instead of treadmills and stationary bikes. Nothing used to amuse me more than to see a whole line of treadmills with folks on them wasting electricity when they could be outside walking for real. And no amount of time spent on a stairmaster can match actually walking up stairs.

Here4Now writes:

in response to absolutsti:

all the bikers in naples look like gay aliens, gayliens!

With those space alien aerodynamnic bs helmets and gay spandex tights, riding around with their noses one inch away from the arse of the guy in front of them. Next to wrestling, muy gay!

ConsiderOthers writes:

in response to Here4Now:

With those space alien aerodynamnic bs helmets and gay spandex tights, riding around with their noses one inch away from the arse of the guy in front of them. Next to wrestling, muy gay!

Serious sport cyclists wear spandex for the same reason Harley Riders wear leathers, Hunters war camouflage and NFL Players wear pads and tights. It’s a functional uniform with a purpose.

Next time you feel macho go tell a 300 pound NFL linebacker he is a wimpy "man who loves other men" in his pads and tights. Meanwhile keep driving your big super truck that you need to make up for you small “weapon”.

goodlander10 writes:

the one that ride bikes today on busy roadways I think have a death wish, I nearly hot one on highway 92, they should not even be on some of these roads, her lawyer said the ticket will have nothing to do with the civil case, I think different, I want to set on that jury , don t forget if you side with her, its your, the taxpayers money

Here4Now writes:

in response to ConsiderOthers:

Serious sport cyclists wear spandex for the same reason Harley Riders wear leathers, Hunters war camouflage and NFL Players wear pads and tights. It’s a functional uniform with a purpose.

Next time you feel macho go tell a 300 pound NFL linebacker he is a wimpy "man who loves other men" in his pads and tights. Meanwhile keep driving your big super truck that you need to make up for you small “weapon”.

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

LifeIsATerminalIllness writes:

Florida’s Bicycle Laws

In Florida the bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle. Bicyclists have the same rights to the roadways, and must obey the same traffic laws as the operators of other vehicles.

Left Turns (see Section 316.151 (1)(b)(c), F.S.)
• A bicyclist intending to make a vehicle left turn is entitled to full use of the lane from which the turn is made. After scanning, signaling, and moving to the center of that lane, the bicyclist must check the signal, then proceed when it is green and safe to do so.

Now picture this scenario: Ms. Jackson approaches the intersection, takes a position in the center of the turn lane behind three or four cars, and proceeds forward as traffic begins to move. Not possessing the sprinting ability of a Mark Cavendish (who?), she is incapable of accelerating as quickly as the vehicles in front of her, but proceeds through the intersection in the center of the turn lane, as required by law. How many drivers behind her are going to blow a gasket because they missed the light? She positioned herself at the right-hand side of the turn lane in order to allow traffic to proceed through the intersection unimpeded by her. This is a no-win situation for the cyclist, but I believe Ms. Jackson's method to be the best way to make a left-hand turn through a busy intersection.

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