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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Ten million cars drive on the Rickenbacker Causeway in Key Biscayne every year. In the last year, there has been an increase in accidents—and city officials and police are doing something about it.
On March 2, the Key Biscayne Police Department began a task force—devoted to reducing the of accidents on the causeway.
“You see a tremendous amount of speed, reckless driving, and the texting and driving is horrific,” said Key Biscayne Chief of Police Charles Press.
Chief Press is fed up.
“We’re just looking for bad drivers and there’re enough of them out here to keep us busy,” he said.
In February 2012, Aaron Cohen died while riding along the Causeway with his friend. A hit-and-run driver slammed into them. In January, cyclist Walter Reyes was killed near Crandon Park by an alleged drunk driver who drove into the bike lane and hit him.
Since March 2nd, when the task force began, residents and visitors have seen more officers patrolling the causeway—especially so from 5 AM to 9 AM which are peak hours for bicyclists.
“We realized that this just can’t be a fly by night initiative. We calm down traffic for a little bit and then we go away and God forbid something happens again,” said Chief Press.
Just half way through the trial run, there have already been seven arrests, six of those were DUIs. There have been 882 traffic citations, 46 of those were issued to cyclists. Chief Press said the numbers show progress.
“You can drive down this causeway at nighttime now and there’s very rarely you see a speeder. There’s been a tremendous reduction of accidents on the causeway so we are very pleased so far with this initiative.”
At the end of May all the authorities involved will take a look at those numbers again and see how well the task force is, or is not, working. That’s when they’ll decide whether to make adjustments, but Chief Press says one thing that won’t be changing, is the increased police presence on the Rickenbacker.