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Miami-Dade Orders Safety Study For Dangerous Rickenbacker

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KEY BISCAYNE (CBSMiami) – The Rickenbacker Causeway, linking Miami to Key Biscayne and named for a famed adventurer, can pose a life and death venture for some.

You need look no further than husband father Aaron Cohen, a bicyclist struck and killed by a hit and run driver in 2012.

Or cyclist Christophe LeCanne, who left behind a wife and children when a drunk driver hit him, dragging his mangled bike more than a mile before being caught in 2010.

Scarcely a week goes by that bike and car don’t tangle in some fashion on the causeway.

Miami-Dade commissioners Tuesday took up a resolution aimed at changing that, ordering Mayor Carlos Gimenez to conduct a detailed study of how the Rickenbacker, and other bike-popular roadways can be made less dangerous.

“I walk and I also cycle,” said Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz, who sponsored the resolution.  It comes after high profile accidents on the causeway and lots of protest rides by cycling groups demanding improvements be made.

In supporting the resolution, Commission Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa said there has to be a way for everyone to get along.

“The bikers, the ones who drive cars and the ones who walk, have to survive with each other,” Sosa said.

Commissioner Diaz said he would expect his proposed study to look at everything – maybe even closing the outside lanes of the causeway to cars on bicycle-busy Saturday and Sunday mornings.

“Changing the traffic patterns, doing markings, more signage, whatever we can possibly do to make it safer for those people,” Diaz told CBS4’s Gary Nelson.

Activists argue that good bike paths make for good business.

“To attract the newest generation of workers and their employers, bike path viability is crucial,” said Maggie Fernandez of the group, Sustainable Miami.

Others feel bike safety has been studied to death.

“Another safety study is absolutely not necessary,” said Marta Viciedo of the organization, TRAC.  Viciedo said it’s clear what needs to be done to make roadways less dangerous for cyclists, joggers and cars and the county and various cities should just get on with it.

Still, Diaz’s resolution won unanimous approval Tuesday, getting the ball rolling on a study of two and four-wheeled transportation that will perhaps make a difference.  Bicyclists and pedestrians who use the causeway said Tuesday that they hope, in approving the resolution, the county will prove…resolute.

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