Family remembers 72-year-old bicyclist killed after hit-and-run

A man that was seriously injured after being hit by a vehicle while riding his bicycle in Estero on Friday morning died on Saturday.

The Florida Highway Patrol says the 72-year-old man from Waterdown, Ontario, Canada, was riding his bicycle southbound in the outside bicycle lane of Three Oaks Parkway, approaching Coconut Road, at 6:15 a.m. on Friday, when a vehicle hit him from behind, throwing him off the bike.

The driver in an unknown vehicle fled the scene southbound on Three Oaks Pkwy.

The family has identified the victim as Tom Simon, a prolific cyclist who had ridden over 12,000 miles this year alone. He was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, troopers say. He died Saturday afternoon, the family said.

They feel that they’ve lost their inspiration, role model and hero. Theresa Litster is the victim’s sister. “He was the leader of our group of family. He was always there for everybody. He was just a strong person and personality. A good heart,” she said.

Those 12,000 miles prove that cycling wasn’t a hobby for Tom, it was his passion. “This was his joy in life,” Litster said. “He somehow turned me into a cyclist also.”

Just this past week alone, he rode more than 500 miles around Florida. “It made him so fitting and so strong. That’s why I was hoping and hoping and praying that he would be OK,” she said.

Tom Simon spent some of his last moments on Friday morning doing what he loved, riding his bicycle. FHP says he was in the bike lane around Three Oaks Parkway just before Coconut Road in Estero. That’s when the car hit the back of his bike.

“It’s a pit in your stomach. It hurts. It’s just, he was so careful. For a cyclist, Tom had such experience. He wore the most reflective clothes. He wore the best helmet,” said Litster.

Troopers say that after the driver of that car hit the back of Tom’s bike, they left the scene. Simon then died in the hospital on Saturday.

Now, Litster and the rest of Tom’s family are pleading that the driver comes forward and turn themselves in. “It leaves me no words for this person. It’s hard to have anger because it is someone you don’t know. But they are living with this. and they are going to have to live with this the rest of their life, what they did to him. And maybe for their sake, they should turn themselves in or tell somebody,” she said.

If anyone has information regarding the hit and run, call *FHP.

You can also call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477). All callers will remain anonymous and will be eligible for a cash reward of up to $3,000. Tips may also be made online at southwestfloridacrimestoppers.com or on the P3Tips mobile app.

Reporter:Andryanna Sheppard
Writer:Drew Hill
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