MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Ever visit your favorite outdoor cafe and notice how close your table is to traffic?READ MORE: Suspected Shoplifter Shot By Police After Pulling Weapon At The Falls Shopping Center In SW Miami-Dade
Have you wondered if there are any laws or ordinances to protect diners like you from getting hurt by an out of control car or a freak accident?
CBS4’s Brian Andrews reviewed the laws and ordinances in four South Florida cities in the wake of the October accident in Miami that injured ten people dining al fresco.
In Fort Lauderdale, the city simply requires outdoor dining permit holders to make sure there is adequate space for pedestrians to pass by tables. There is nothing specific in Ft. Lauderdale’s code about how far a table must be from the curb or roadside.
Fort Lauderdale’s code says outdoor dining permits will be issued in areas where there is curbside parking, assuming those parked cars will be a buffer if anyone loses control.
During CBS4’s recent visit to Las Olas to shoot video for the story, our crew notices yellow tables and chairs outside a restaurant called Cheese Culture. Later, a check of city records revealed Cheese Culture did not have a permit for outdoor dining.
When the City sent inspectors by, the outdoor tables and chairs were gone.
Our crew returned to the scene of the accident in Miami’s Upper Eastside where the crash happened weeks ago. There were no outdoor tables at the Limoni Cafe and Pizza on NE 2nd Avenue and 46th Street.
Our review of Miami regulations show no specific requirement for how far a table must be from a curb. The only specific rule was that there must be at least 5 feet of available walkway for pedestrians.READ MORE: CDC's New Mask Mandate Encourages People To Get COVID Vaccinations
Miami does require a minimum of 5 feet distance for tables, chairs, and furniture from cross walks, bus benches, and electrical boxes. When our crew visited Green Street Cafe in the Grove, we found one sofa along Main Highway that was closer to the cross walk than required by city regulations.
On Miami Beach, our review of the city’s sidewalk dining ordinances also found no specifics on how far tables must be from the curb. CBS4’s Brian Andrews found some restaurants on Washington Avenue near 13th Street with tables less than six inches from the curb.
The beach does have rules for distances that outdoor tables must be from crosswalks and bus benches. It also has rules about the quality of the tables, chairs, and umbrellas that are used for outdoor dining.
However, there is nothing in specific in the Miami Beach sidewalk dining ordinance that addresses the safety of diners from an out of control car.
Espanola Way restaurant owner Al Rojas told CBS4’s Brian Andrews he’s installed some planters to act as a buffer, but he believes the city needs to update its laws.
“I think it will be better for the safety of the tourists who come down here,” he said.
CBS4 News also visited South Miami, where the issue of establishing a safe distance for tables from the curb is addressed in local code. The city requires a minimum of 18 inches.
Each outdoor establishment we visited near Sunset Place was in compliance with the 18 inch rule.
The take away from this? CBS4 News found there are laws on the books covering tables, chairs, and distance from bus benches and cross walks.
However, there is little if any specific wording in the codes we reviewed that may have helped to prevent the chaos and injuries that happened outside the Limoni Cafe in Miami last month.MORE NEWS: 'There's More Aggression, More Confrontational Attitude': Miami Beach Police Chief On Increasing Safety, Security
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