The community of Nocatee has great new roads, but the neighborhoods aren't fully built out, so it is very popular among distance bicyclists. But Sunday morning's death where a 30-year-old rider was struck and killed by an SUV has investigators looking at ways to prevent future accidents.
About 7:30 a.m., Jared Bynum (pictured, below) was riding east in the right-hand lane near the intersection with Crosswater Parkway when he was struck by an 2008 Honda SUV driven by 21-year-old Shannon Brink.
St. Johns County investigators say that stretch of Nocatee Parkway is a limited-access freeway where non-motorized vehicles are not allowed to ride. Yet bicycles are allowed on other areas of the parkway and Channel 4's Jason law says he could not find any signs posted alerting bicyclists either way.
As he peddled up equally busy Palm Valley Road's bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway on Tuesday, Paul Sampson says he avoids riding his bicycle on Nocatee Parkway.
Sampson said he loves to bike throughout parts of Nocatee, but says accidents like Sunday's are a cold reminder of how dangerous it is.
"We feel that every minute we're on the road, there's a certain amount of risk," Sampson said. "The chap who works with me heard about this (Monday) and said he rides inside nine out of 10 times on a training bike, maybe he's going to be 100 percent of the time now. That's about the only way to avoid the risk."
Channel 4 found designated bike lanes and signs on nearby Crosswater Parkway, but no clear signs on Nocatee. Deputy Joseph McGinnis says investigators are looking into the exact location where this deadly accident took place.
"Sections of Nocatee are limited access, and bicycles aren't allowed, and other sections of Nocatee they are allowed," McGinnis said. "We're looking into whether or not this section is one of those or not, and we're looking into the signage as well."
McGinnis says a accident investigation involving a death can take anywhere from three to five months, so it could be early next year before there's a final report on the accident that took Byrnum's life. That report may make recommendations about making changes to make the area safer in the future.