Naples cyclist seriously injured when van struck on Immokalee Road

A Naples bicyclist was rushed to the hospital this morning, after he was hit from behind by a van that crossed into the bike lane on Immokalee Road.

Edward Stephan, 54, was hit just before 7 a.m. while riding in the early morning fog just south of Oil Well Road. He was thrown and skidded nearly 60 feet before coming to a rest, suffered serious injuries and was taken to NCH North Naples Hospital, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

He was still in serious condition and being treated in the emergency room Saturday.

The driver of the van, Daniel Barberena, 28, of Naples, was headed north on Immokalee, too, and in the fog let the van drift two feet into the bike lane, police said.

Troopers charged Barberena with careless driving.

The accident comes a few weeks after a speeding pickup truck hit bicyclist Chuck Kelly while he was on a morning ride with several dozen other riders. Kelly, 57, punctured a lung, broke several bones and suffered a concussion.

Kelly’s crash prompted the creation of the new task force for bike and pedestrian safety.

The two crashes show the immediate need to raise awareness about the unprotected dangers bikers and pedestrians face on the road, said Patrick Ruff, president of the Naples Pathways Coalition.

"This happens all the time," Ruff said. "And there’s going to be a little story in the paper, and everyone moves on. But people don’t realize how much someone’s life just changed. For the next two-and-a-half years someone’s life is now dramatically and totally different than it was this morning. And the costs are incredible."

The task force will host its first gathering March 1 at Cambier Park. Police, homeowners, local politicians and government officials will meet to talk and learn about road safety, as well as educate as many as possible about laws requiring a three-foot buffer between cars and other vehicles.

The pathways coalition also plans to push state lawmakers to enact minimum fines and sentences for drivers that strike bicyclists, Ruff said.

"Everyone needs to get smarter about this – the cyclists and motorists, the police," Ruff said. "Civility has to creep in."

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Comments » 39

ibestrait writes:

Foggy morniing just before sunrise. That wuold be when I would ride my bike on Immokalee Rd.

Rainman11 writes:

in response to ibestrait:

Foggy morniing just before sunrise. That wuold be when I would ride my bike on Immokalee Rd.

Aye, a busy road like Immokalee Rd. is just the road I would choose too... if I had a DEATH WISH!!!!

MisterK writes:

Mercy. What a horrible accident.

laserjock222 writes:

So the fault is with the cyclist who is obeying the law, and not the motorist who wasn't?

MasonDixon writes:

Was coming back from the casino at night a few weeks ago; (barely) saw a guy riding his bike, with no lights, and no hands on the handlebars. And it was in this general vicinity.
Right or wrong, I can see how something like this can happen on that road.

WeThePeople2016 writes:

Why is it that bikers, minding their own business, get jumped on--as I expected, including the very first comment?? Do these people think that since they are a biker, they must ba Progressive Liberal?? or a Socialist (which is the very same thing to many)

Rainman11 writes:

in response to laserjock222:

So the fault is with the cyclist who is obeying the law, and not the motorist who wasn't?

No, it was not his fault. That he chose to ride on Immokalee Road, considered one of the most dangerous roads in Collier County.

No, it was not his fault. That he chose to ride on Immokalee Road, on a very foggy morning with poor visibility.

No, it was not his fault. That he got hit.

But, he could of made some smarter choices this morning, couldn't of he?

Rainman11 writes:

in response to WeThePeople2016:

Why is it that bikers, minding their own business, get jumped on--as I expected, including the very first comment?? Do these people think that since they are a biker, they must ba Progressive Liberal?? or a Socialist (which is the very same thing to many)

Har...not that my first thought was that he was a PROGESSIVE LIBERAL.

But... now that you mention it, he did choose a dangerous road to ride on, a foggy road with poor visibility.

Hmmm... make me wonder about his political leanings.

So...from your comment, do you know him to be someone that thinks other people should pay for things he wants with their money?

laserjock222 writes:

in response to Rainman11:

No, it was not his fault. That he chose to ride on Immokalee Road, considered one of the most dangerous roads in Collier County.

No, it was not his fault. That he chose to ride on Immokalee Road, on a very foggy morning with poor visibility.

No, it was not his fault. That he got hit.

But, he could of made some smarter choices this morning, couldn't of he?

Maybe this conversation should move towards 'Gee, I am driving a 5,000 lb vehicle that can cause injury or death to myself, my companions in the car and those in nearby vehicles including cyclists and pedestrians. Maybe I should be careful and pay attention to where I am going. I can make that phone call later, and text my friends when I stop the car in a few minutes. I might even keep my eyes open instead of nodding off for a the next 10 seconds or so.'

But the general response is 'poor choice by the cyclist'.

When will the attitudes change?

MasonDixon writes:

in response to WeThePeople2016:

Why is it that bikers, minding their own business, get jumped on--as I expected, including the very first comment?? Do these people think that since they are a biker, they must ba Progressive Liberal?? or a Socialist (which is the very same thing to many)

You really should give it a rest for a while; maybe take a nice long bike ride?

Heraclitus writes:

in response to Rainman11:

Har...not that my first thought was that he was a PROGESSIVE LIBERAL.

But... now that you mention it, he did choose a dangerous road to ride on, a foggy road with poor visibility.

Hmmm... make me wonder about his political leanings.

So...from your comment, do you know him to be someone that thinks other people should pay for things he wants with their money?

Wasn't W a "serious" cyclist:

http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/europe/...

Must be nice to have a Secret Service escort when you bike. Was the driver texting?

Beachbaby writes:

Geez, what is wrong with you people who try to shift blame for the accident to the biker. For god's sake, he was hit while riding in the bike lane by a careless automobile driver who drifted into his lane.

Reading comprehension problems or sheer stupidity?

avbatista writes:

The simple solution for bike lanes is that the painted stripe needs to have bright yellow bumps so that all the people who are driving around while talking on the phone, goofing off, texting, smoking, drinking, etc., can at least notice that BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP warning, before they see a human body fly onto their windshield and get squashed like a bug.

rocknfla writes:

in response to avbatista:

The simple solution for bike lanes is that the painted stripe needs to have bright yellow bumps so that all the people who are driving around while talking on the phone, goofing off, texting, smoking, drinking, etc., can at least notice that BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP warning, before they see a human body fly onto their windshield and get squashed like a bug.

That's a really good idea!

Jingl writes:

The warning bumps on a brightly painted line seems a solid practical idea that respects both users of our roadways. How we begin that process might be a good subject for Naples Pathways to investigate. It's certainly a more positive, forward action than the blame-game. Could we begin with City and County roadways, then apply to State for matching funds for those? Worth looking into.

MisterK writes:

in response to Beachbaby:

Geez, what is wrong with you people who try to shift blame for the accident to the biker. For god's sake, he was hit while riding in the bike lane by a careless automobile driver who drifted into his lane.

Reading comprehension problems or sheer stupidity?

I think they can comprehend, and I don't think they're s-----. Possibly egocentric lacking an upper conscious level.

Sunnynwarm writes:

Bike lane or not, this is a pretty dumb move!
Anybody that would ride in a bike lane on Immokalee Road, let alone on an extremely foggy morning, isn't playing with a full deck of cards.

PMC_Rider writes:

in response to Sunnynwarm:

Bike lane or not, this is a pretty dumb move!
Anybody that would ride in a bike lane on Immokalee Road, let alone on an extremely foggy morning, isn't playing with a full deck of cards.

Heraclitus writes:

in response to avbatista:

The simple solution for bike lanes is that the painted stripe needs to have bright yellow bumps so that all the people who are driving around while talking on the phone, goofing off, texting, smoking, drinking, etc., can at least notice that BUMP-BUMP-BUMP-BUMP warning, before they see a human body fly onto their windshield and get squashed like a bug.

They have those bumps... Reflective Pavement Markers (RPMs) along the bike lanes on 41 East. They work really good at waking people up.

A little pricey, but a great idea. What's a human life worth?

NaplesCritic writes:

Forrest Gump said it best "s----- is as s----- does."

erock writes:

I suspect that a vehicle mowing down a cyclist would be considered a "discrepancy of force."

tessi1021#260625 writes:

The county Commissoners need to turn on all of Immokalee street lights on. Immokalee road is very dark and some people have to walk or ride thier bikes. Money talks and BS walks were are the peasants of Golden Gate Estates & Immokalee road. I pray for the person that bot injured and hope he recovers. I also feel sorry for the driver,we will never know what caused him to cross the bike path? Only him and God will know.

pritchard2020 writes:

No none wants to hit a cyclist. This is a terrible situation for both. The biker is allowed to ride his bike on the road, the car is not allowed to hit him. What about making a 10 mile bike path loop at the south blocks, south of 75 on Everglades blvd. This would give us a safe place to ride. My GF said to me, this doesnt happen in mass because we have bike lanes. NAPLES!! We need bike lanes.

HenryChinaski writes:

I don't understand how anyone could be so naive as to leave their safety up to others. To assume every single Driver on the road, Drivers who are distracted, on prescription pills, on goodness knows how many martinis are looking out for you is a recipe for disaster.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the demographics of the disparate mix of Drivers on our Naples/Collier roads here are a few low lights:

More drivers over the ago of 100 than any place else per capita.

More drivers over the age of 90 than any place per capita.

More drivers on prescription medication than any place per capita.

Naples ranked as the ninth city per capita in the USA for alcohol consumption. Naples has been ranked as high as #1 in that dept. at times.

More drivers on the road illegally mixing booze and prescription medication than anywhere else.

More legally blind drivers than anywhere else per capita.

Add to this the fact that our roads are VERY overcrowded due to poor planning and two-thirds of the people who are currently driving on Collier roads have little to no idea of where they are going and many are impaired on one substance or another. Also many of these are unfamiliar with Florida law and drive according to the laws of their state despite the problems this causes.

Also the complete lack of planing when it comes to bike lanes and a dire need for legitimate bike lanes makes this dangerous mix even worse.

Be safe out there and don't assume these people are even aware of your existence. Only you can be responsible for your own safety.

DogFolks writes:

I have to wonder: Did the bike have headlights and tail lights as REQUIRED by law?

laserjock222 writes:

in response to DogFolks:

I have to wonder: Did the bike have headlights and tail lights as REQUIRED by law?

While you are wondering that, maybe you should also wonder if the driver was texting, sleeping, shaving, etc.. That's more to the point than trying to find blame with the cyclist.

It was the car that strayed into the bike lane and the driver was ticketed for careless driving.

HenryChinaski writes:

in response to laserjock222:

While you are wondering that, maybe you should also wonder if the driver was texting, sleeping, shaving, etc.. That's more to the point than trying to find blame with the cyclist.

It was the car that strayed into the bike lane and the driver was ticketed for careless driving.

I think you are missing the forest for the trees. The reality of the situation is if a person chooses to place themselves in harms way then they are the ones who have chosen to place themselves in harms way.

It's not a secret that we have a lot of distracted Drivers out there. Why give them the opportunity to kill you?

Simply choose to ride in an area where there is the lowest possible chance of being run over. Children can grasp this concept Im sure adults can.

DCoop writes:

If the law is a 3ft buffer there should be a built in 3ft buffer for the bike lane. Why make a bike lane & then tell motorists to move over? Make the bike lane the right distance from traffic.

HenryChinaski writes:

in response to DCoop:

If the law is a 3ft buffer there should be a built in 3ft buffer for the bike lane. Why make a bike lane & then tell motorists to move over? Make the bike lane the right distance from traffic.

Isn't the 3 foot law for when we are biking on the road? Why would we need an additional 3 feet if we are in a separate bike lane?

shwing writes:

I would guess 95% of drivers don't read this and have no idea this just happened. As Henry states, we have a TON of people out there not paying attention, texting, driving drunk/on meds, illegal with no license, etc etc.
These accidents will never end. This is why when I rarely ride a bike it is in a quiet neighborhood or off road bike only path.
I do not blame the biker, but even though he was in the right, he is laying in the hospital right now. Bikers always lose.

The ONLY way this will end is OFF ROAD bike paths/lanes. Many places have a 'rails to trails' movement going on to convert old train tracks to bike paths.
On Collier Blvd/951 there is a nice path wayyyy off the road alongside the canal.

You bike on any street where the speed limit is over 35 and you have a good chance of getting hurt. And after what happened 2 weeks ago on that quieter city of Naples street, even then a biker is not safe.

BonitaTango writes:

Unfortunately 6:00 pm news reports that another cyclist was hit tonight in South Lee County.
I can't imagine tooling around S.W.F.L. highways on a two-wheeler.
I cringe every time I swerve my full-size pickup to clear two abreast, as does the motorist in the lane to my left.
It doesn't seem that our highways were designed with bicycles or pogo sticks in mind.

NoReturner writes:

in response to HenryChinaski:

I think you are missing the forest for the trees. The reality of the situation is if a person chooses to place themselves in harms way then they are the ones who have chosen to place themselves in harms way.

It's not a secret that we have a lot of distracted Drivers out there. Why give them the opportunity to kill you?

Simply choose to ride in an area where there is the lowest possible chance of being run over. Children can grasp this concept Im sure adults can.

Bingo..... I made a similar comment, although probably not as directly stated...... EVERYONE is responsible for themselves and their actions.... Playing the blame-game doesn't hurt any more or any less if you die a principled death.......the outcome is the same....

jt1120 writes:

It's terrible that this happened, but it boggles my mind why someone would want to ride their bicycle so close to vehicular traffic, especially when there usually is a sidewalk ten feet away. What separates you from vehicles? NOTHING, when you're on the street. At least if you're on the sidewalk, you've got a curb between you, and traffic is far less likely to jump a curb and run you over.

Then there are those elitist cyclists who take as much of the bike lane as they want. Instead of hugging closer to the curb, they like to roll the dice and hug the line between them and two-ton SUV's. HUH? Sure, you've got rights, but again, what in your brain pan tells you to ride closer to cars instead of being safely away from vehicular traffic and riding on a safe, smooth sidewalk? Between the many snowbirds who have forgotten how to drive when down here, and people so self-absorbed that they HAVE to text and drive, I can't imagine ONE good reason that someone would want to ride their bike in the street.

The Naples Pathways Coalition needs to tell its followers that it just isn't worth their lives to ride in a bike lane. Far too many idiots on the roads these days. Sidewalks are so much safer.

I don't ride a lot, maybe 30-50 miles a week, but I ALWAYS ride on the sidewalk. SO much safer than in the street.

Having said all of this, I still feel sorry for both the rider and the motorist.

laserjock222 writes:

in response to jt1120:

It's terrible that this happened, but it boggles my mind why someone would want to ride their bicycle so close to vehicular traffic, especially when there usually is a sidewalk ten feet away. What separates you from vehicles? NOTHING, when you're on the street. At least if you're on the sidewalk, you've got a curb between you, and traffic is far less likely to jump a curb and run you over.

Then there are those elitist cyclists who take as much of the bike lane as they want. Instead of hugging closer to the curb, they like to roll the dice and hug the line between them and two-ton SUV's. HUH? Sure, you've got rights, but again, what in your brain pan tells you to ride closer to cars instead of being safely away from vehicular traffic and riding on a safe, smooth sidewalk? Between the many snowbirds who have forgotten how to drive when down here, and people so self-absorbed that they HAVE to text and drive, I can't imagine ONE good reason that someone would want to ride their bike in the street.

The Naples Pathways Coalition needs to tell its followers that it just isn't worth their lives to ride in a bike lane. Far too many idiots on the roads these days. Sidewalks are so much safer.

I don't ride a lot, maybe 30-50 miles a week, but I ALWAYS ride on the sidewalk. SO much safer than in the street.

Having said all of this, I still feel sorry for both the rider and the motorist.

Sidewalks have been proven many times over to be more dangerous than the travelled roadway. Cyclist on the sidewalk present a danger to pedestrians, they are largely hidden from view of vehicle traffic due to hedges, trees, etc.. A cyclist on the sidewalk is a hazard to themselves and everyone else. Maybe if you are riding at a walking pace, but no faster.

And please don't suggest that cyclist ride facing traffic. That's just as bad as riding on the sidewalk.

By the way, a lot of cyclist ride at 25+ mph. Riding on the sidewalk would be absolutely lethal.

HenryChinaski writes:

in response to laserjock222:

Sidewalks have been proven many times over to be more dangerous than the travelled roadway. Cyclist on the sidewalk present a danger to pedestrians, they are largely hidden from view of vehicle traffic due to hedges, trees, etc.. A cyclist on the sidewalk is a hazard to themselves and everyone else. Maybe if you are riding at a walking pace, but no faster.

And please don't suggest that cyclist ride facing traffic. That's just as bad as riding on the sidewalk.

By the way, a lot of cyclist ride at 25+ mph. Riding on the sidewalk would be absolutely lethal.

As with roads not all sidewalks are the same nor are they all a suitable place to ride. Some sidewalks are ideal for biking at any speed some are not. As with certain roads riding on certain sidewalks is a very bad idea. Not all roads or sidewalks are interchangeable. It just requires some thought and common decency on the part of the cyclist.

PMC_Rider writes:

For all the gloating you do, I truly hope you never get popped by a car, HC. If your impervious cycling techniques, impeccable common sense, acute situational awareness and unquestionable judgement should ever find you on the wrong side of a hood, trunk or driver side door.. the irony would just be too much to bear.

Heraclitus writes:

After retirement I totally switched to my mountain bike and use sidewalks as much as possible, but sometimes I still jump the curb and use the bike lane through intersections because it's safer than dodging right-turning cars. For some reason, peds don't seem to like it when I yell "on your left" about 100 ft. away. At 18 mph, that's about a 4 second warning. I think that's enough, but they tend to jump and sometimes go the wrong way or lose their footing. That's still better than the ones coming at me that try to see how close they can come.

If the sidewalk isn't raised too much I'll get on to the grass to pass a ped and then back on the sidewalk. At about 15 mph, that sudden noise always shakes them up, even if they're wearing headphones..

Sometimes, if they're walking two abreast and talking to each other, I coast up real close behind them and when I'm a few feet away, I softly say "Hi, there". That always scares the bejesus out of them. Riding on the sidewalk is fun.

The mountain bike is tougher and more stable than the road bike and is OK for sidewalks and ramps and crosswalks. The road bike - not so much.

jt1120 writes:

in response to laserjock222:

Sidewalks have been proven many times over to be more dangerous than the travelled roadway. Cyclist on the sidewalk present a danger to pedestrians, they are largely hidden from view of vehicle traffic due to hedges, trees, etc.. A cyclist on the sidewalk is a hazard to themselves and everyone else. Maybe if you are riding at a walking pace, but no faster.

And please don't suggest that cyclist ride facing traffic. That's just as bad as riding on the sidewalk.

By the way, a lot of cyclist ride at 25+ mph. Riding on the sidewalk would be absolutely lethal.

REALLY??? Proven? How many times do you hear news of a cyclist and a pedestrian being involved in an accident on a sidewalk? Compared to THREE bike/vehicle accidents in ONE DAY?! Sorry, if it comes to safety, the sidewalk is MUCH safer.

Go ahead and roll the dice. Ride three feet away from one of those gravel haulers that just happens to veer to the right for a split second when you happen to veer a little to the left at the same time. To me, riding in the street, especially around here, is a death wish.

Heraclitus writes:

in response to jt1120:

REALLY??? Proven? How many times do you hear news of a cyclist and a pedestrian being involved in an accident on a sidewalk? Compared to THREE bike/vehicle accidents in ONE DAY?! Sorry, if it comes to safety, the sidewalk is MUCH safer.

Go ahead and roll the dice. Ride three feet away from one of those gravel haulers that just happens to veer to the right for a split second when you happen to veer a little to the left at the same time. To me, riding in the street, especially around here, is a death wish.

You're wrong. In the 30 years I've been riding dowen here, I always felt safer on the street with a road bike. Not as many obstacles like utility poles, poorly designed and aligned ramps, broken glass (streets tend to be self-cleaning), "sidewalk closed for repair" signs, overhanging shrubs and branches, sidewalks that are too narrow for bikes to pass each other, people coming out of driveways turning right and looking left (a big one)...

I hurt myself more on sidewalks than I ever did on the street. Now if you'd improve the existing sidewalk network (taxes, not impact fees, because it's maintenance), maybe you could make them safe, but good luck moving utility poles out of the sidewalks.

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