Cyclists, Politicos Convene Bike Safety Summit

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A handful of cyclists and politicians are talking about safety on the Rickenbacker Causeway and surrounding areas at a special summit at the Miami-Dade Government Center.

The meeting was arranged after the tragic death of cyclist Aaron Cohen earlier this month who was struck and killed on the causeway by a driver who has been charged in his death. Cyclists have long complained that more needs to be done, both in the short-term and long-term, to protect them from drivers, especially those who exceed the causeway’s speed limit.

“There’s absolutely no police enforcement whatsoever,” said cycling enthusiast Jack Sherwood, “And it’s not on the agenda for police anywhere in Dade county.”

There’s also the perception that some drivers just don’t care about the cyclists with whom they share the road.

“We have the right of way,” said cyclist June Savage. “It’s just a lack of respect and a lack of enforcement on Key Biscayne.

More than a thousand cyclists rode the causeway on February 18th in memory of Cohen and to raise awareness of the problem.

One of the short-term solutions from Miami-Dade Public Works being discussed is re-striping the bike lane so it is separated from the traffic lane by a two foot buffer. Another suggestion would be put ceramic ‘buttons’ (essentially small raised discs) in the bike lane striping which would warn drivers when they stray into the lane. Both of these options could be implemented fairly quickly. A third suggestion, installing a rumble strip between the traffic lane and the bike lane, would take longer to complete.

The panel is also expected to discuss lowering the speed limit from the mainland toll plaza to Key Biscayne.

  • Elias

    …nice ideas, but as we all know Miami-Dade has no monies.

  • Ericstevenc Tix Stubs

    Bicyclist need lights on their bikes and need to stop at lights like cars and stop riding against traffic they also make it dangerous for the motorist. I ride a bike and putting a light on it is a small investment !

  • Hoof Arted

    If they’re going to ride on the streets they should pay for a tag, just like cars.

    • Opus the Poet

      So, how are you going to price that tag? on the value of the bike? on the amount of damage a bike does to the roads? on the amount of space a bike takes up o0n the roads?
      If you price the tag on the value of the bike, some bikes are free, and many are sold at less than $50, if you make bike tags proportional to the percentage that drivers pay on their car tags compared to the value of the vehicle you’re going to get a bike tag that cots less than a penny.

      If you price the tag on the amount of damage a bike does to the roads then government is going to have to pay cyclists because bicycles do so little damage to roads that it gets lost in simple weathering. The actual ratios of damage done is on the order of 1100:1 for a Smart Car to 8000:1 for an Escalade or 160000000:1 for a fully-loaded semi, using the formula from the AASHTO on relative wear of vehicles on roads.

      If you price the tag based on the amount of room required for a bike on the road you can get 20 bikes in the space of an Escalade, Suburban, or H1.

      Or you could go with the UK way and tax by the amount of pollution the vehicle creates in use. Bikes over there pay as much as electric cars (nothing on either one).

    • ErnPasc

      The law said that bicycle should be REGISTER, BUT NOBODY ENFORCED. How about bicyclist RIDING ON SIDE “WALK”, ENDARGERING THE SAFETY OF PEDESTRIANS?

  • Adan M, Miami

    I drive a fleet vehicle every day to Key Biscayne . Bicyclist don’t use bike signals they take red lights and even cross the bike lane without looking back or using hand signals .
    Its so bad i feel like video recording it .
    (Driving clip pedaled bike is unsafe and should be only used in competition .)
    (Thursday morning you get more than 200 bicyclist riding in packs covering the bike lane as well as main road without any supervision or regulation.) This is unsafe.

    • ErnPasc

      This is happening EVERYWHERE, even if front of the POLICE CARS and nobody do nothing.

  • Jimbo99

    Just from reading the comments so far, I knew this would turn into a finger pointing and blame shifting affair. 1 fratality every 2 years on Key Biscayne’s Rickenbacher causeway ? This one was a case of 3 idiots. Starting with the motorist that went into the bike lane. The two cyclists were out in the dark, sometime between 5:15 & 5:45 AM when sunrise was at 7 AM. Training for a triathlon at that ? My point there, bike lights are pretty weak and being seen was an issue as well. When one trains for a triathlon, when playing in traffic, wouldn’t it be smarter to be out there in broad daylight ? And I can hear it now, the fatality 2 years ago was during sunrise and sunlight hours, Well that JAM was drunk. Again, this is not an issue of the road itself. There is more than enough room for everyone to commute at the bridge and accomodations for all are made. When you get a bunch of people who insist that what they want to do should supercede common sense, we get this kind of think tank. Trust me, they’ll stripe or whatever needs to be done in the area to make the noise of this go away, that is until the next fatality somewhere up the road occurs. And it’ll involve motorist that is simply a poor driver, possibly a cyclist or few that contributed to their own demise.

    My question to all these hardcore cyclists, if you’re training for a triathlon, there are 3 components, swimming, running & cycling. Obviously the tri athlete isn’t swimming at 5 AM, in Biscayne Bay, because they’d be shark bait, or a boat might run them over. So that leaves cycling & running. With a sidewalk with a barrier, shouldn’t the athlete have common sense to be doing the running training at 5 AM instead of being on the road in the dark ? I ride NMB to South Beach all of the time. I have bike lights, I also realize the dangers and ride that bike at or well after sunrise. When I leave South Beach, the sun is still out and I’ve calculated the time it takes to get home, while the sun is still out. Sure, I’d like to begin earlier and leave later, but safety mandates that I ride the times I do. Be accountable & responsible for yourself, that way when a stupid driver does what this one did, you as a cyclist aren’t there to get run over. Can’t run over what isn’t there to be run over. I have empathy to a point, but using wife & kids as human shields in this argument, if the cyclist truly gave a damn abount that, he wouldn’t be putting himself in that jeopardy on that particular or any other day. Sorry to sound harsh, nobody deserved anything, but they sure as heck didn’t hurt their chances that day by making poor decisions and following thru on those choices in life that everyone can make. I agree, a light on the bike and you should be able to ride at night. Is it more dangerous ? Sure, so man up and own that just the same. Blaming a bridge that has a sidewalk, a barrier, a bike lane and at least 2 automobile lanes, all of sufficient dimensions is over looking the real problem here, it’s 3 adults that acted as if common sense isn’t something that one needs to make it thru life.

  • Jimbo99

    And after the police enforcement is stepped up, another cyclist is involved in a collision on the AM of Th, 3/1/2012. I’m really more convinced now that the people on that island are stupid. let them go at each other until they weed themselves out. Think of it as survival of the fittest, the dimwit that is indigenous to Key Biscayne is not an endangered species and should not be saved in spite of itself. When there are no more of them left to do stupid things to each other, the world will be void of stupid things. My only fear is that there is no procedure in place to prevent more dimwits moving there to replace the one’s that are eliminating themselves.

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