Bicyclist killed by Lee County school bus in Bonita Springs crash

Published: Updated:

A man from Estero riding a bicycle has been killed in a Thursday morning crash with a Lee County school bus in Bonita Springs.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the school bus, driven by a 52-year-old Fort Myers woman with a 16-year-old boy from Bonita Springs as a passenger, was traveling west in the outside lane of Bonita Beach Road, approaching Orr Road around 4:30 a.m. The bicyclist, 59, was traveling east on the westbound side of Bonita Beach Road, at the intersection of Orr Road.

The bus hit the bicycle, throwing its rider onto the grass shoulder of the road. The bicyclist was pronounced dead at the scene.

Crash investigators are not ready to say if he was hit while trying to cross the street to get to a bike lane or if he was trying to cross the intersection to get to a sidewalk.

Crash investigators believe the man was biking east against oncoming traffic. We don’t know if he was riding on the sidewalk or the road.

James Farnsworth said, “My heart goes to the individual, to their family.”

Troopers say the man didn’t have lights on his bike.

Bicyclists in the area take it as a lesson and say they will be safer the next time they are on the roads.

“To see another bicyclist hit. It’s a scary thing. Provokes a lot of caution,” said Farnsworth.

William Bell said, “I need to wear a helmet, and I don’t, and I should, and I will, and you just have to be careful, especially at the intersections when cars are coming left and right.”

WINK News shared this story with a woman who is a biker and advocate for biker and pedestrian safety. She survived a horrible crash years ago. She fractured her spine and suffered a traumatic brain injury.

She said the first thing that popped in her mind; she hopes people remember this happened to a real person.

Diana said, “my heart sinks, you know, because this is really hard. My heart goes out to the family and friends of the victim/ this person is someone’s brother, someone’s husband, someone’s friend. So we need to humanize these challenges.”

She knows it is hard to ‘humanize’ this crash when you don’t know who this person is.

Diana hopes you think about your father, brother, or friend and keep them in mind every time you’re on the road.

The bus driver and the single student on board the bus are OK. They have been offered counseling.

The school district is cooperating with the crash investigation.

There have been 26 fatal crashes involving bicycles in Lee County since the start of 2018 and the data shows that when busses are involved, the odds of survival are significantly worse.

Roadway safety does seem to be going in the wrong direction. 2021 was the most dangerous year that the data covered, showing the highest numbers of total crashes and fatalities.

WINK News also looked at bike crash numbers in Lee County. Those numbers have stayed consistent across the last five years.

Nationally, data from shows how rare a deadly bike vs bus crash is. Less than 3% of fatal bus crashes have involved bicycles since 2009.

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.