Currently viewing the tag: "Rickenbacker Causeway"

Today was my first day back on the road bike since the deadly accident two weeks ago on Bear Cut Bridge. Quite frankly, I was a little spooked by the accident and it has taken me a couple of weeks to build some courage to ride again.

As usual hundreds of bicyclists and pedestrians were on the Rickenbacker Causeway enjoying the gorgeous day.  I noticed that there were more police officers present on the Rickenbacker Causeway than usual.  This is certainly an encouraging sign. Both Miami Dade County and Miami Police officers were noticeably present.  Enforcement certainly is a step in the right direction, but it is not the solution for our speeding problems on the Rickenbacker Causeway.  As long as we have a roadway designed to induce speed, the speeding will continue and bicyclists and pedestrians will continue to get hurt. Even with increased enforcement I noticed several cars on the William Powel Bridge traveling in excess of 65 mph.

My ride was going fairly well until I caught up to a small group of riders on Virginia Key. I was ridding in the back of the group (10-15 bicyclists) when all of the sudden a bicyclist in the group clipped the rear tire of the rider in front of him.  He took the rider behind him down with him; somehow I avoided crashing too.

The first cyclist to crash landed head first into the asphalt. Although he remained conscious he most likely has a slight concussion, his helmet was cracked in half. The second cyclist to crash walked away from the accident with a little road rash, but was OK. Fire-Rescue was called and within 10 minutes they arrived.

In all fairness, this group was riding slowly and they were not ridding aggressively as some groups do.  This really was just an unfortunate accident. Nevertheless, it was the 6th accident in the past 6 months that I have personally witnessed while riding in groups/pelotons.  I will no longer ride in large groups and quite frankly I believe something needs to be done regarding aggressive groups/pelotons which ride irresponsibly.  I am not sure what can be done.  If you have any suggestions please let us know. This problem needs to be addressed asap.

About ten minutes after witnessing this accident and still a little shook up, I was nearly t-boned by a car that was attempting to turn into the Marine Stadium.  I was traveling in the bike lane heading north back to the mainland, when a car traveling south bound on the Rickenbacker Causeway attempted to make a left turn into the Marine Stadium entrance. Rather than waiting for me to pass, the driver tried to make the left turn; I yelled and he stopped halfway through his turn. Luckily for me there was a Miami Police officer right behind him.  He witnessed the entire incident and pulled the car over. I turned around to thank the officer and then continued back home. I’m not sure if the police officer gave the driver a warning or a ticket.  My hope is that he was ticketed. Regardless, I am happy to see that the Miami Police department is being proactive and is pulling over drivers for reckless behavior.

After the second incident I decided to call it a day and cut my ride short; too many close calls for a Saturday morning.

fyi: A little road rash makes you look tough.

Dear Fellow Cyclists:

I read with great interest your involvement in this past weekend’s memorial ride for Mr. Christophe Le Canne.  I am a native Miamian and grew up cycling Key Bicayne for many years so I know the area very well.  I currently live in Palm Beach County and serve as a National Board Member for the League of American Bicyclists, Executive Director of the South Florida Bike Coalition and as well as Director of Government Affairs of the Florida-based zMotion Club, a 600-member cycling organization in South Florida.

Though the memorial ride was well deserved, I pause with concern over the demand in the paper to create “some sort of barrier or physical separation between motorists and bicycle lanes.” Based upon our collective national experience, such a demand will have adverse and unintended consequences throughout the region and the state.

First, the continued demand for some sort of barrier or physical separation between vehicle and bicycle lanes highlights the stereotype of the cyclist as a “vulnerable user” of the roadways and that cycling is a dangerous activity that has no place on the public rights of way.  We believe that the more people who elect to ride a bike and leave their cars at home will begin to enlighten the public that cycling is a superior form of transportation, a health benefit, and a mode of mobility that tends to reconnect communities.  A physical barrier on Key Biscayne will undermine that argument.

Second, a barriered bike lane is the antithesis of good public policy.  There is a national movement for “Complete Streets“, and the demand for segregated bike lanes is a push in the opposite direction.

South Florida is undergoing a slow, long effort to change both the behavior of cyclists on the roads and the attitudes of the non-cycling public towards bicyclists.  We are one of the largest metropolitan regions in the entire country and are somewhat unique in our anti-cycling problems due, in part, to the absolute and exclusive reliance upon motor vehicles for personal mobility; there is no real public transportation system and no more land with which to create one.  This, combined with our repeated designing of our roads to move only single-occupant cars as fast as possible, and the conflict between motorist and cyclist over use of limited public right of way is unavoidable, inherent, predicable, and effectively programmed.

Also, a barrier relieves motorists, cyclists, and law enforcement of their responsibility when using (and policing) the roadways.  Cyclists, motorists, and law enforcement officers do not know the laws establishing the rights of cyclists to use the roads, and equally, cyclists do not know (or respect) the laws that govern their behavior when operating a bicycle on the public rights of way. Even with such education, the existing laws have no real “teeth” to change cyclists or motorists behavior towards each other.

Third, if safety is the issue, the most expedient way to protect cyclists from motorists is to remove cyclists from the Key. The repeated demand for a barrier is going to force the City’s hand to “do something” for the “safety of the cyclists”. The likely outcome of that cry to help - limit bicyclists access on the Causeway. Or, if a barrier is developed (with public money), the public is going to demand that it be the exclusive road used by cyclists and prohibit cycling elsewhere.  A barrier would kill cycling on Key Biscayne as we have historically enjoyed it and will have elevated the motor vehicle to the “supremacy” that our society current views it as.  Cycling on the road is not a right, it is a privilege (very much like driving a car).  It can easily be taken away from us “for our own safety.”

Fourth, and from a practical perspective, a barrier is actually going to cause more accidents than prevent them.  All cyclists, travelled at all different speeds, would all be herded like cattle into a chute which would cause a much larger number of conflict points than the admittedly rare and infrequent car v. cyclist crash.

So, we  have discussed what NOT to do.  What CAN we do to effectuate change?

Up here in Broward and Palm Beach counties, we are doing something about that. We have been working with the zMotion Club under the astute leadership of their president, Pat Patregnani, to support their endeavors to create such change.

This is overwhelmingly an EDUCATIONAL endeavor.  Until the non-cycling public begins to understand that bicycles are absolute rightful and equal users of the roadways, public sentiment will always sway towards keeping cyclists off of the roads, “for our own safety” and so they can get as quickly as possible to their destination, damn be the consequences for the rest of society.  The demand for a separate barrier on Key Biscayne falls right into this argument.

So how does this begin to change?   Rather than fight for separate facilities, help us to spread the word about zMotion’s “Ride Right/Drive Right” campaign and let’s get it into each and every city in Miami-Dade County.

And most importantly, let’s get ALL cyclists to support the organizations who are fight for you every day (FBA, LAB, zMotion, South Florida Bike Coalition, Green Mobility Network, to name a few).

We remain ready, willing and able to work with you in these endeavors. We have also copied the other community “leaders” in Miami-Dade County who share similar concerns.  A small “bicycle summit” of the “thought leaders” in bicycle issues would be a great place to start.

For now, continue to organize yourselves and define the message.  This can be the beginning of the “tipping point” for a true “mobility” culture in South Florida.  But please keep always present and in the forefront that emphasizing the “vulnerable” status of cyclists as users of the roadways only serves as fodder for the anti-cycling crowd to underscore cyclists do not belong on the roadways.

After this past weekend, you have everyone’s attention.

Jeffrey Lynne, Esq
jeffreylynne@bikeleague.org

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There is a growing movement to reduce the speed on the Rickenbacker Causeway and a formal petition is set to be submitted to local leaders today. The petition reads as follows:

PETITION TO IMPROVE SAFETY ON THE RICKENBACKER CAUSEWAY
To improve safety for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, the undersigned petitions Miami-Dade County, the
Board of County Commissioners, to implement a policy that would:
1. Enforce a Safe Speed Limit, not to exceed 35 mph, on the Rickenbacker Causeway (from the Toll Plaza to the Village of Key Biscayne), with visible police presence throughout peak hours to guarantee strict compliance with the speed limit and sobriety laws.
2. Dispatch the nearest emergency/rescue vehicles and personnel to the scene of an injury accident, regardless
of municipal / jurisdictional boundaries.
Signature: ___________________________________________   Date:_______________
Full Name: ___________________________________________    Age: _______________
[Print Legibly]
Address: _____________________________________________________________________
City, State, Zip: _____________________________________________________________________

Telephone No.: _____________________________________________________________________
E-mail address: _____________________________________________________________________
Mail Signed Original  to: Zensah Team Lifeline, 201 South Biscayne Blvd., Suite 1330, Miami, FL 33131
Fax copy to: 305 377 9937   or    Email copy to: SafeSpeedLimit@Yahoo.com

The cyclists who put together this petition are asking that anyone interested please fax or email it to them TODAY and then mail the original, as well. You can also email them for a PDF version.

There are lots of methods available to local planners, engineers and politicians to improve safety along our causeways and the easiest one is to reduce speed. Another, simple measure - just narrowing the lane a foot or two, causes motorists to ease up on the gas, and would also leave room to widen the heavily used bicycle lane along each side.

Thousands of cyclists came out last Sunday to remember Christophe Lecanne and pay tribute to all cyclists killed on our roads while riding safely and legally. Momentum is growing to prevent another tragedy like this from happening again.

TransitMiami.com encourages you to get involved in our community and be proactive in sharing your ideas with policymakers.

An estimated 4000 bicyclists and pedestrians showed up this morning for the Key Biscayne Memorial Bike Ride to pay their respects to Christophe Le Canne, the bicyclist that was killed last Sunday by a hit and run driver.

Bicyclists came from as far as the west coast of Florida, Broward and Palm Beach Counties. I hope our elected officials are listening to us. Our unified voices will only become stronger. We will be writing more about what this means for the cycling community in Miami and South Florida.

A special thank you to the County Public Works Department and the Miami Dade, Key Biscayne and Miami Police Departments; without them this event would not have been possible.

We expect a large turnout for the Key Biscayne Memorial Ride on Sunday. The County Public Works Department along with the Miami Dade, Key Biscayne and Miami Police Departments have been working tirelessly over the past few days to ensure our safety. We expect between 1000-2000 bicyclists and possibly more. Cyclists from as far as Broward and Palm Beach County have confirmed that they will be attending this event to pay their respects to Christophe Le Canne, the bicyclist that was killed last Sunday by a hit and run driver.

We need everyone’s cooperation to make sure no one gets hurt. The police will be on hand to help us and are providing an escort for the large group that will be meeting across the street from the Mast Academy at 9:00 a.m.  We will leave promptly at 9:15 a.m., stopping at the Christophe Le Canne memorial sign which the County Public Works Department has very thoughtfully placed on Bear Cut Bridge where the accident occurred.

After a twenty minute stop we will proceed to the entrance of Bill Bagss Florida State Park on Key Biscayne.  We will turn around before the entrance to the park and head back towards the mainland. At this point the police escort will effectively end.  Please use caution after the escorted ride is over; regular vehicular traffic will be present. Remember we must also follow the rules of the road; share the road works both ways.

*The Miami Seaquarium has invited us to use their parking lot as a staging area for the 9am ride. They ask participants to use the main Marquee entrance to enter the parking lot and park as close to the causeway as possible.

Family & friends of Le Canne are asking those who wish to help to donate funds to Haiti Relief instead.

Make checks payable to:
American Red Cross
P.O. Box 37243
Washington, DC 20013
Notation on check:
AP 2885 – Haiti Relief – IMO Christophe Le Canne

I don’t think anyone will argue with me when I say that Christopher Lecanne’s death last Sunday could have been avoided. There are a number of factors that contributed to that tragic event, starting with Carlos Bertonatti’s decision to inebriate himself and then drive back home under the influence. This was not an accident. Bertonatti may not have set out to kill Lecanne, but the moment he decided to drive under the influence he accepted, consciously or not, that he could be an instrument to death. And he was. But there was also an aspect to the event that has to deal with the bicycling infrastructure on which Lecanne transited, namely the bike lane that puts people on bicycles right next to cars on a road where drivers routinely overshoot the speed limit.

This event highlighted something that bicycle advocates in Miami have been telling those in positions of power for days, weeks, months and years prior: our roadways are not safe for people on human-powered vehicles. Key Biscayne is one of Miami’s premier cycling location, the place where, if anywhere, going beyond the strict requirements of the law would be worth it given the amount of people on bicycles that use it. And yet, as written by Esther Calas, P.E., Director of Miami-Dade County Public Works Department, the facilities there only meet the State and Federal requirements. That’s all they shot for, without consideration that this particular area could use some specifications that go beyond.

Key Biscayne is a microcosm of Greater Miami. The tragedy that took place on Key Biscayne last week can, and has, and will, happen elsewhere in Miami wherever bikes and car are forced to co-exist without the proper attention as to how that coexistence needs to happen for safety’s sake. Need proof? Look no further than October 2009 and the sad case of teenager Rodolfo Rojo, killed on Biscayne Boulevard.

How many more Rojos or Lecannes will it take before those people in positions of power, people put there by our very own votes, will finally get the message and take action to protect the bicycle-riding segment of the population they represent and serve?

As it is usually the case, the tragedy has acted as a catalyst and now we’re getting responses and promises from people like Commissioner Sarnoff and Miami Dade County Mayor Alvarez (still notably missing is Miami Mayor Regalado). I hope these lead to actual changes, I really do. Maybe this will make people realize that bicycle advocates are not just talking to hear themselves talk when we tell politicians over and over than more and better bicycling infrastructure can and does help keep people safe when on human-powered vehicles.

Bicycle riding isn’t a fad. It is an accepted, long-standing and continually-increasing form of transportation, one that has to be taken seriously and accounted for in current and future plans for the cities and county of Miami.

When it comes to Lecanne, could a separated bike lane have saved his life? We’ll never know for sure. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could figure it out before we have another such tragedy in our hands?

TransitMiami.com continues to reach out to local leaders for a response to Sunday’s fatal hit and run incident on the County’s Rickenbacker Causeway. City of Miami Regalado has yet to return our call but City of Miami Commission Chairman Marc Sarnoff has issued the following statement:

“First of all, we cannot lose sight of the fact that a man made the decision to allegedly stay out all night drinking and then get into his car to recklessly drive home. There are far too many unanswered question from the tragic aftermath of this incident, but we can all agree that Carlos Bertonatti should face the fullest and most severe punishment allowed if he is in fact found guilty in the death of Christopher Lecanne. It appears to be a total breakdown by county dispatchers who should have immediately called in rescue teams from the City of Miami and Key Biscayne. According to our Fire Chief Maurice Kemp, Miami dispatchers called County to make sure they were aware of crash on a county road. Our dispatchers were told the County was aware. Twice during that conversation, City dispatchers asked the County if they need our crews to respond and told no. This is on tape and absolutely unacceptable. I know our Mayor is working with the County to find out exactly what went wrong and then take all necessary steps immediately.

This tragedy highlights the dangers our cyclists and runners face each day on our roads from careless and drunk drivers. Next Thursday, Jan 28th at 5pm, the City Commission will decide whether or not to extend the hours alcohol in local bars from 3am to 5am. I’ve already received hundreds of emails from local cyclists warning of the danger, since so many rides on the Rickenbacker originate in Coconut Grove. This was even before the tragedy with Mr. Lecanne. I urge anyone with concerns to attend this important meeting to ensure their voice is heard by Commissioners. It is our duty to keep our roads safe.”

Readers: Please let us know if you have been successful in reaching out to your local leaders. We hope to see you this Sunday for the Key Biscayne Memorial Ride at 9am.

Below is a statement from Miami-Dade county Mayor Carlos Alvarez regarding the death of Mr. Christophe Lacanne:

The death of a bicyclist along the Rickenbacker Causeway is a devastating tragedy caused by the recklessness of a hit and run driver.  Miami-Dade County arrested a suspect, is investigating the sequence of events, addressing opportunities to improve regional cooperation with emergency responders and determining whether any additional engineering measures would be effective in preventing this type of collision. Additionally, if it is found that standard operating procedures were violated with regard to emergency response, those involved will be held accountable.  No one wants to see this happen again.  My son is an avid biker and trains along this same route, along with thousands of other bikers and pedestrians.  This issue is a personal and professional one for me.

Thanks Mayor Alvarez. We need strong leadership on this issue, and I hope you not only listen to your professional public works and planning staff, but the many people who use the Rickenbacker Causeway as more than just a high speed connection between Key Biscayne and the mainland. Their daily experience is worth more than any textbook standard.

This letter comes from Esther Calas, P.E., Director from Miami-Dade County Public Works Department in response to a letter from citizen advocate and friend of Transit Miami Blanca Mesa. Here is the exchange:

From Blanca:

The Rickenbacker Causeway should be redesigned to discourage additional vehicular traffic, to slow down existing traffic and to protect pedestrians and bicyclists. The Rickenbacker Causeway is a LINEAR PARK.” This fact should be the primary directive in designing improvements. There should be a coordinated approach within the County Departments to reduce the number of cars to the area parks and beaches. Greater public transportation should be offered — trams and buses that circulate among the state, county and city park facilities, with adequate public transportation shelters and greater frequency. Perhaps some mainland parking lots could be designated as pick up points in neighborhoods or Metrorail station lots.

The unfortunate weekend incident is not an isolated event.  Many more injuries and even deaths will occur along the Rickenbacker unless the policies and plans change.

Esther’s response:

Dear Ms. Mesa:

We in Public Works are also deeply disturbed by this tragic traffic accident.  We are well aware of the unique characteristics of the Rickenbacker Causeway, and agree that the island chain leading to the Village of Key Biscayne has the characteristics of a linear park. However, as you note the Causeway is a principal highway that travels through it and is the only access road not only to those adjacent facilities, but to the Village of Key Biscayne .  For the many different types of users, PWD provides in addition to the main roadway, and off-road non-motorized multiple-use trail for walkers, skaters and bicyclists, in-road bicycle lanes for more serious cyclists who wish to travel at higher speeds without sharing space with pedestrians, and a beach road system for low-speed motor vehicle travel for parking and beach access.

Our staff has reviewed the Bear Cut Bridge this morning and re-reviewed the construction plans for the bicycle lanes as well and have confirmed that the bicycle lanes meet State and Federal requirements.  We have also just received a copy of the traffic accident report and we will make a determination whether any additional engineering measures would be effective for mitigating this type of collision.

Sincerely,

Esther Calas, P.E., Director

Doesn’t sound too convincing to me. It is not a matter of whether state and federal requirements are followed. Obviously, those requirements are not preventing deaths, so something is wrong. Anyone have any good ideas they want to share with Ms. Calas and Commissioner Carlos Gimenez?

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This is a very special ride dedicated to Christophe Le Canne, a 44-year-old cyclist and family man who was struck and killed by a motorist on Sunday morning.

Come show your support for a safer Rickenbacker Causeway.  Together we can make the Rickenbacker Causeway a better place for everyone.

This ride is for everyone!  Cyclists, pedestrians, roller skaters, etc. Anyone who uses the Rickenbacker Causeway for recreational purposes. All are welcome.

We will meet across the street from:

Mast Academy / Rickenbacker Causeway
Key Biscayne, FL 33149

*If meeting at the beach is an issue we can meet a few yards away at the Miami Seaquarium parking lot.

You can find the facebook invite here.  Please invite your friends and family to come.

We have strength in numbers and politicians will listen to us!  Please spread the word.

*The Miami Seaquarium has invited us to use their parking lot as a staging area for the 9am ride. They ask participants to use the main Marquee entrance to enter the parking lot and park as close to the causeway as possible.

Today’s article in the Miami Herald suggests that fire-rescue took too long to arrive to the aid of Christopher Lecanne, the bicyclist that was killed on Sunday morning on Bear Cut Bridge. Although I agree that the response time was not good, there was very little fire-rescue could have done to help Christopher Lecanne.

Unless you are Superman, the chance of surviving an impact at 60 mph is close to zero. The chance of surviving an impact at 45 mph (posted speed limit on the Rickenbacker) is about 10% (see below). So let’s stop pointing the finger at fire-rescue, there is absolutely nothing they could have done to save his life.

The County Public Works Department should be held responsible and liable for this accident.  They designed and approved an unprotected bicycle lane next to a highway where cars often travel in excess of 60 mph. Our most popular cycling route in the county is a ticking time bomb. More deadly accidents will occur. By designing an unsuitable roadway for all users the County Public Works Department effectively gives cyclists a false sense of security. Fast moving cars and unprotected bicycle lanes do not work.  It never has and it never will. I cannot be more emphatic about this point!!!

Of course, Carlos Bertonatti also needs to be held responsible.  There will be more accidents like this on the Rickenbacker Causeway if the fundamental design flaw is not addressed.  Distracted drivers are a fact of life. The very least we can do is give our bicyclists a chance of surviving.  This can be done by designing a roadway which encourages cars to slow down and by putting protective barriers between bicyclists and cars on our bridges.

Let’s point the finger at the County Public Works Department.  They have neglected bicyclists and pedestrians for too long.

Please send Esther Calas, Director of the County Public Works Department, an email demanding a safer Rickenbacker Causeway @ ecalas@miamidade.gov

This morning I reported that a bicyclist was killed on Bear Cut bridge.  This is the 2nd bicyclist that has been killed while riding on the Rickenbacker Causeway in the past three years.  The Rickenbacker Causeway is unquestionably the most popular biking route in Miami, and on any given weekend morning thousands of bicyclists of varying abilities descend upon it to ride their bicycles.

Much will be written about who’s at fault for this accident. I would not be surprised if the driver was drunk or under the influence. Most people will blame the driver for the accident. I for one believe the driver should share the blame with the County Public Works Department. The County PWD should be held accountable for designing such poor bicycles lanes. Unfortunately, it was just a matter of time before this happened and to be quite honest I am surprised accidents like this don’t occur with more frequency.

About two years ago, the County Public Works Department began resurfacing the Rickenbacker Causeway.  The PWD modus operandi with regard to bicyclists seems to be “Do as little as possible for bicyclists”. This is exactly what they have done on the Rickenbacker Causeway-as little as possible.

Anything less than a protected bicycle path should not be accepted by the bicycling community. By protected bicycle path I mean there should be a concrete barrier that physically separates the cars from the bicycles. If the County Public Works Department is going to encourage bicyclists to ride the Rickenbacker Causeway, they have the responsibility to make sure that the bicycle infrastructure they design is safe first. Putting a bike lane next to a roadway in which cars are traveling at speeds in excess of 45-65 mph creates an extremely unsafe and all to often deadly situation for bicyclists. The Rickenbacker Causeway (and frankly all our Causeways) are long overdue for an overhaul which insures the safe travel of all, including bicycles and pedestrians.

Physically Seperated Bicycle Path: Wilson Bridge Bike Path. Photo courtesy of http://joeholthaus.com/id69.html

Physically Seperated Bicycle Path: Burrard Bike Lane, Vancouver Canada. Photo courtesy of www.news1130.com

Below is a graph which shows the likelihood of surviving a collision with a car. Bridges typically happen to be areas where cars like to speed.  If the County Public Works Department continues to encourage bicyclists to ride here without the correct bicycling infrastructure, accidents like this will sadly continue being a fact of life.  I for one have been discouraged from biking here, but my passion for riding on two wheels will have me back on the Rickenbacker tomorrow morning.  I just hope I don’t become another Rickenbacker Causeway statistic.  Be safe.

Source: http://peds.org/2009/01/

This morning at around 8:40 a bicyclist was struck from behind by a hit and run driver in the south bound bicycle lane on Bear Cut bridge. The driver was apprehended about 4 miles away from where he struck and killed the bicyclist; the bicycle still underneath the car.

I don’t know all the facts of the accident yet, but I can assure you there is not a single factor that contributed to the death of this bicyclist. There will be plenty of blame to be shared; especially by the County Public Works Department which designed the dangerous and inadequate bicycle facility on the Rickenbacker Causeway.  There are 1000’s of bicyclists that ride the Rickenbacker Causeway every weekend. Accidents like this can be prevented be designing proper bicycle facilities.  This is the second fatality in the past three years on the Rickenbacker Causeway. Numerous other bicyclists have been injured here too.

Our condolences go out to the family of the bicyclist.

This morning I went out on my regular Sunday morning bicycle ride to Key Biscayne. I usually head out by myself, but end up riding with other bicyclists.  Normally I choose not to ride with the large groups (100-150 bicyclists) because I consider their riding style dangerous and lawless.  Today this was confirmed to me.

I wiped out pretty hard due to the gross negligence of two other bicyclists at the front of the peloton. For some reason, two bicyclists got into a pissing contest, got off their bicycles, and started to scrap on the side of the road.  Yes, you read it correctly.  At 8:30 a.m., two bicyclists in spandex were throwing punches at each other on the side of the road! The fight spilled out into the bicycle lane and roadway, causing several bicyclists to stop short and fall to the ground. Luckily neither I, nor the other 4 bicyclists who crashed was seriously injured. I have a little road rash and a major bruise on my ass cheek. I’m not going to lie, it hurts.

Please comport yourself like a respectable bicyclist.  Incidents like this give bicyclists a bad name.

Bicyclists make use of the bicycle-only tollbooth lane, a hard fought and deserved concession.

The Miami Herald finally caught up to the bicyclists vs. motorists battle that’s been brewing since Commissioner Carlos Gimenez announced a plan to convert the Rickenbacker tollbooth into a SunPass speedway.

The Herald  makes it known that the greater Miami-Dade bicycling community will have to band together so that conditions for cyclists-of all abilities- will not be  compromised by the Commissioner’s plan. Thus, if you bicycle on the Causeway with any frequency, please consider speaking up and out about the two proposals. Offering  a line of support for the County’s option to keep at least a few vehicle-stopping cash booths in place would be particularly helpful. This would allow motorists and bicyclists to continue to share the Rick’s entrance somewhat safely. Without an unexpected gift of cash to  not just redesign the tolling, but the whole Causeway-mainland intersection (see our Complexity Visualized post), this seems to be the most prudent option.

To be sure, recent improvements to the toll booth, bicycle lanes, and signage have improved conditions, but exiting the Causeway and navigating the SW 26th Road/Brickell/South Miami  intersection remains dangerous.  The only reason it seems more pedestrians and bicyclists aren’t injured here is that traffic is usually backed up, allowing for easy eye contact and motor vehicle concessions to forlorn pedestrians and bicylists making all sorts of invented manuevers to cross the intersection.

Of course, whether on foot or bicycle, the Sunpass would only heighten the danger for those attempting to cross the street.

Both Transit Miami and Spokes n’ Folks have been following this issue closely and will continue reporting on what seems to be a one step forward, two steps back approach to  South Florida’s signature recreational destination.

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