MIAMI (CBSMiami) – In a show of solidarity, bicyclists gathered to raise awareness of the persistent problem of cycling safety in South Florida.
Bike305’s “Ride of Silence” was held Wednesday night.READ MORE: At Least 1 Hospitalized As Car Ends Up In Pond In SW Miami-Dade
It was an opportunity to honor those whose lives were cut short and demand local leaders be more proactive about the safety of all bicyclists.
“It was a Wednesday morning just like now. We were cycling up the Rickenbacker Causeway, and out of nowhere there’s a loud bang and I’m on the ground. When I rolled over, there’s nobody around. There’s no cars. Obviously the guy had left the scene. And Aaron is laying in the middle of the road. Aaron got the brunt of the of the force of the accident and he was killed,” recalled Enda Walsh.
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava personally knows the dangers these cyclists face.
“My husband regularly commutes to work, and unfortunately had a very serious accident. He was knocked off his bicycle. He had his helmet. The bike was broken and his arm was broken. And we learned, unfortunately, through that incident that oftentimes the bicyclists are blamed when there is an incident,” she said.READ MORE: Officials Urge South Florida Residents To Prepare For Upcoming Hurricane Season
She noted “Florida and certainly Miami Dade have a terrible, terrible track record” when it comes to bicyclist safety.
“We worked through my county commission office to create a program to make sure that all of our police force understood the mutual responsibilities of everyone on the road. So that was an eye opener for me,” she said.
“This year, we have seen an incredible amount of cycling fatalities,” said Sue Kawalerski with Bike305. “It gives more reason to not only remember the victims of these crashes, but also to look at ways we can improve our cycling infrastructure and encourage law enforcement to proactively be on the lookout for aggressive and distracted drivers.”
Jeishy Zerpa remembered her late husband at the ride.MORE NEWS: Fire Rescue Officials Emphasize Water Safety For Boaters, Jet Skiers This Holiday Weekend
“Juan was a dreamer, and he accomplished most of his dreams. But his biggest dream was to be a father. And that dream was cut short three months ago. The only thing that it’s left today is an endless desire to see him again,” she said. “I miss his smile and I will do anything to bring him back and have him here to celebrate our daughter’s first birthday next week. My best friend, my hero and the wings beneath my wings.”