Michael Schwaid, known by his friends and fellow bicyclists as “Michael on Bicycle,” passed away on September 27, 2017. Michael was an inspiration to bicyclists everywhere, and he always had a smile to share and a passionate word to say about bicycle safety and his experience in the saddle. Many know that Michael endured a long recovery after a drunk motorist with a blood alcohol level of 0.283, more than three times the legal limit, crashed into him on March 30, 2016 while he was commuting on his bike. Lesser known is that it was his great determination to reclaim his place on the road that drove his recovery––and with the help of his family, he got there.
This past summer, Bike/Walk Tampa Bay presented Michael with the 2017 Bicyclist of the Year Award for his extraordinary courage and resilience, and for being a role model to other bicyclists. He proudly accepted the award and shared his experiences as a self-proclaimed “roadie” to an attentive audience, while also reminding anyone driving of the reasons he and other road cyclists might be riding in the center of the roadway instead of the bike lane, such as to avoid debris or give themselves more visibility. To continue to honor his memory, Bike/Walk Tampa Bay and Michael’s family will announce the inaugural presentation of what the coalition has now named the “Michael Schwaid Bicyclist of the Year Award,” at the Gulf Coast Safe Street Summit on February 27, 2018.
A charitable fund for cash and in-kind donations to support local bicycle safety education and research has been set up by the Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida to support the award. Charitable donations may be made to the fund in memory of Michael Schwaid at https://www.cutr.usf.edu/giving/.