On Tuesday the 14th April, mother of 2 Chastity Rettinger set out from her office to spend her lunch hour training for the MS150.
Chastity along with friend and co-worker Kristine Whitley had no reason to worry about their intended route. They would be riding along Old St. Augustine Rd. which is one of the few roads in Jacksonville that not only has marked bike lanes. But that also correctly moves the cyclist to the left of right hand turn lanes eliminating "The Right Hook" which is the number one cause of automobile/cyclist accidents.
Approaching the I-95 overpass a driver was too busy fiddling with his GPS to notice the cyclists on his left as he left the right turn only lane to merge back into traffic. In doing so he hit both cyclists ending Chastity Rettinger's life and sending Kristine Whitley to the hospital.
The driver drove away from the accident scene with a minor citation.
Kristine Whitley suffered no major injuries and is back to work and still plans on riding the MS150.
According to the Times-Union, "The driver didn't see Hartley because he was wearing dark clothing and didn't have any lights on his bike." No information is available if the driver was cited or not. I'm going to go out on limb here guess not. We (Bike Jax) have put in a request for a copy of the Accident report once available.
So yes, Mr. Hartley bared a certain amount of responsibility for the actions that lead up to his death by not having lights. But last I checked with the State of Florida bicycle and traffic laws, I failed to find any law or statute governing clothing color.
The thing that is so bother-some about Mr. Hartley's accident is the location and the statement, "The driver didn't see Hartley." Abhishek and I didn't make it out to place the bike until just before sunset. By the time we had determined where to place the Ghost Bike and made it back to our vehicle it was well after dark. We did however notice on the walk back how well lighted the stretch of Chaffee Rd. from I-10 to Beaver St. is.
Chaffee is so well lighted that if Mr. Hartley had been dressed as a Ninja there is no reason that the driver should not have seen him other that of inattentiveness.
Divers of motor vehicles have one job to do when driving. That is to simply not hit anything. Is that really asking too much?