Sunday, March 8, 2015

Paths of peril: Scott Johnsen

News-Press Sunday 3/8/15 Bike Safety Feature: Paths of peril

Janine Zeitlin, Melanie Payne and Laura Ruane,,

Each Southwest Florida bike death is a different, heartbreaking story...this is Scott Johnsen's story.

Scott Johnsen, 60

Crash date: Sept. 28, 2014

Cyclist Scott Johnsen was killed Sept. 28. (Photo: Facebook photo)

The potential for being struck is a danger that's in the back of many riders' minds. It's especially unnerving when a cyclist is doing everything right.

Johnsen's widow thanked the group. She stayed behind as they rode to the spot where her husband was struck on Sept. 28. Around 10 a.m., dozens of riders circled Johnsen's ghost bike, a memorial bike painted white and donned with flowers.

Steve Rodgers, vice-president of rides, shared memories of Johnsen, how he had started volunteering with the group, how safety conscious he was and how he had expected Johnsen to become a group leader.

Related: Cape Coral man arrested, charged in bicyclist's death

"Of all people to get hit ... not that anybody that would be struck down would be less of a cyclist."
They shared a moment of silence, then committed to being in court for every major court hearing for Jason Stewart, the man arrested for killing Johnsen. They want to see just punishment. Often when a bicyclist is killed or injured, the legal penalty feels like anything but fair to family and friends. In recent years, Stewart had faced charges related to reckless driving, drag-racing and speeding.

Johnsen's social media posts highlighted the joy of riding. He encouraged others. His final entry came the day before he was killed. He described an afternoon ride in which a tow truck nearly swiped him in Cape Coral.

"I yelled through his closed window, '3 FEET, YOU NEED TO GIVE ME 3 FEET!'
...Other than that, it was a great day for a ride."

Archives:Bicyclist talked of safety day before death on road

Johnsen's friends on social media have ridden more than 61,000 miles in his honor.

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