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Driver tries to avoid animal, slams into bikes

Posted at 6:59 AM, Mar 21, 2016

About 11 bicycles used for downtown visitors to rent were damaged early Monday morning when a driver said he swerved to avoid an animal near CityPlace.

West Palm Beach police said around 3:39 a.m., a driver in a white sport-utility vehicle crashed into a SkyBikebike rack, a light pole and a tree.

"When I heard the noise, I thought it was lightening," said Richard Atkinson, who filmed the aftermath of the crash with his cell phone. "I didn't think it was a car or anything. It didn't sound like it."

Police said the driver was not under the influence at the time of the wreck. 

The driver told investigators he was driving in the area when some kind of animal jumped into the road. This caused the driver to swerve in order not to hit the animal, causing the wreck.

"The bikes were pretty mangled," added Atkinson.

No one was arrested or hurt in the crash.

Police are checking to see if local businesses have surveillance video of the incident. 

SkyBike said 11 bikes were at the CityPlace location and all appeared to be damaged.

" I can't use them to go to the beach, to go to Clematis Street because it's quite a walk," said Holly Nelson, a West Palm Beach resident, who relies on the bikes about once a week.

SkyBike is ordering the parts to repair the bikes, which cost about $1,100 brand new.  The company hopes to fix them within the next two weeks.

The bike rental program, which launched June 2015, has 1500 registered users.