Boynton Beach man one of four bicyclists killed in county this year | #elderly | #seniors | #execrise
BOYNTON BEACH — Neil Goldman wasn’t your typical 75-year-old.
Not unless the average 75-year-old is a buffed-up personal trainer who can do pushups with a person sitting on his back, leg presses 800 pounds and goes on 500-mile bike rides.
“He worked out every day,” said Debi Goldman, Neil’s 53-year-old daughter. “My parents were big into cruises and he’d spend the entire time in the gym. He was very committed.”
Goldman, a Vietnam War veteran and resident of the Venetian Isles community in suburban Boynton Beach, was on his daily two-hour bike ride shortly after noon on Feb. 26 when he was struck by a vehicle on Lyons Road just north of Atlantic Avenue in unincorporated Delray Beach.
A 79-year-old suburban Boynton Beach woman driving a 2019 Lexus RX350 swerved out of her southbound lane for “unknown reasons” and hit Goldman, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said. He died at the scene.
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Investigators say the driver was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A PBSO spokeswoman said no charges have been filed, but the case remains under investigation.
“I was always concerned when he went out riding,” said Paula Goldman, Neil’s wife of 55 years. “I had a feeling – a gut feeling – this was going to happen some day.”
There are few things more dangerous to do in South Florida than ride a bike or walk on public roadways. Although bicyclists and pedestrians make up only two percent of commuters in Palm Beach County, they accounted for 30 percent of all transportation-related fatalities between 2018 and 2020, according to the Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency.
In Palm Beach County, 11 bicyclists died in 2020, more than double the number of fatalities recorded in 2019, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
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Including Goldman, at least four bicyclists have been killed this year in the county, a rate that would surpass last year’s total. A week ago, a 30-year-old man was killed when a vehicle struck him and another person as they rode bicycles along Jupiter’s busiest street, authorities said.
Goldman, a native of Queens, N.Y., took up fitness and body-building as a kid. Paula Goldman remembers first noticing her future husband as he stood “shirtless, showing off his pectoral muscles” outside a Flushing, N.Y. candy store when they were teenagers.
“He had a big ego,” she says with affection.
Whatever it was, worked. The Goldmans married before Neil shipped out to spend four years in Vietnam on a U.S. Navy destroyer, and stayed together for 55 years.
After Neil left the navy, the family moved to Los Angeles where they lived for 35 years. In 2012, the Goldmans moved to Boynton Beach and Neil, who had worked in the garment industry and owned a home security company, decided to fully devote himself to personal training.
Debi Goldman said her father had around 40 clients and was both feared and loved for his boot-camp classes.
“Very military-ish,” she said. “Very disciplined.”
Paula Goldman said Neil could coax elderly clients “to do things they didn’t think they could do” like burpees, a vigorous full-body exercise used in strength training.
When Goldman, 5-foot-11 and weighing between 210 and 220 pounds, wasn’t working on someone else’s body, he was developing his own at his home gym, which he dubbed “The Palace of Pain.”
Despite the need for knee replacements, Goldman could still leg-press massive amounts of weight – 800 to 1,000 pounds, his wife said – and managed pushups with 125-pound client Dee Henann sitting on his back.
Henann said Goldman didn’t take just anyone as a ‘trainee” and that you had to “qualify” by following specific goals in “diet, discipline and dedication.”
“He’s a tremendous loss,” Henann said.
Goldman, who once rode from New Jersey to Florida, had planned to complete a 500-mile bike ride last May to celebrate his 75th birthday, but the Covid-19 epidemic foiled that idea.
Undeterred, Goldman decided to do the 500-mile trek this year. On Feb. 26, he took off for his daily regimen that included at least two hours on his bike. The Goldmans said they were told by PBSO that Neil was wearing all the necessary protective gear and had “done everything right” when he was struck.
“He was the king lecturer when it came to safety, the bastion of safety,” Debi Goldman said.
Neil Goldman received military funeral honors and was buried at South Florida National Cemetery in Lake Worth.