MIAMI (CBSMiami) – One day after a cyclist died on the Rickenbacker Causeway, other bicyclists are calling on lawmakers for a crisis intervention.
The new push for safety comes after 51-year-old Walter Reyes was struck and killed as he rode on the Rickenbacker Causeway Wednesday morning. Henry Hernandez, 40, was also hurt in the accident.
“We need change,” Cyclist June Savage said Thursday. “We as the voters and the residents want you to help us get the political officials to make that change or we will vote for someone who will!”
“We don’t need any more fatalities,” attorney Lee Marks added. “How many more will it take?”
Police said 21-year-old Alejandro Alvarez slammed into the two cyclists with his Volkswagen Jetta as he drove home from a Miami Beach club at around 5:22 Wednesday morning.
Alvarez is facing multiple charges, including leaving the scene of a crash involving death and DUI manslaughter.
On Thursday, members of the cycling community rode in Reyes’ honor.
“We had a terrible tragedy again on the Key that’s impacted us a lot,” cyclist Maria Boza said.
Reyes’ name has already been added to a white memorial bike positioned at the foot of the Bear Cut Bridge.
Other victims include Aaron Cohen, Christophe Lecanne and Omar Otaola.
“It can’t be another death on our watch. It just can’t be. We as a society can’t put up with this anymore,” said cyclist Dr. Mickey Witte.
Witte helped pass the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act in memory of the 37-year-old cyclist killed in 2012. He is now backing up Plan Z, created by architect Bernard Zyscovich, in an effort to make Rickenbacker Causeway safer.
“Our point is that we understand many needs in the county, but when we get specific with bicyclists and runners something needs to be done in a form of dedicated funding,” said Zyscovich.
The plan calls for the reduction of lanes to two, with separation between motorist and cyclist. It would also implement flashing lights from dusk until dawn and a long-term commitment from Plan Z.
Savage would also like DUI checkpoints implemented in the early morning hours at the entrance to the causeway. She thinks the speed limit should be reduced to 35 mph.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez agrees more needs to be done.
“I feel for the family,” Gimenez said. “We’re going to change some of our enforcement practices there. But the built environment, we’re improving it all the time.”
In this case, the driver told police he was changing the song on his phone and not looking at the road when the crash occurred.
He originally left the scene, but police said he returned 20 minutes later crying hysterically.
Investigators said he’d been at a Miami Beach club before the wreck and they believe he had been drinking.
“You never realize what you’ve got until all of a sudden they’re gone,” Reyes’ daughter Jennifer told CBS4’s Lauren Pastrana.
As Reyes’ family mourns the loss of a father and husband, his cycling comrades ride on in their quest for change.
“I think that it’s time that these elected officials that make these promises stand up and do what they say this will do before another person dies on the street,” Savage said.