We have some good Rickenbacker Causeway news to report this week.
A Transit Miami Shout-Out goes to Commissioner Carlos Gimenez. Commissioner Gimenez has proposed a resolution to conduct an analysis of the current expenditure of toll revenue generated by the Rickenbacker Causeway and to develop a work plan to allocate 25 cents of every toll collected to projects promoting pedestrian and bicyclist safety along the Rickenbacker Causeway. This proposed resolution will go to the full County Commission next month.
This is a great fist step Commissioner Gimenez! Keep up the good work. Commissioners Jose Diaz, Sally Heyman, and Rebeca Sosa co-sponsored the resolution. Please contact Commissioner Gimenez and thank him for his initiative.
The Miami Police Department also deserves a Transit Miami Shout-Out. Ever since the deadly accident on Bear Cut Bridge last month, the Miami Police Department has been noticeably present on the Rickenbacker Causeway. They have stepped-up enforcement in a major way; increased enforcement plays an important role to ensure the safety of all users on the Rickenbacker Causeway. Thank you MPD! Keep up the great work. Check out the pictures of the MPD in action on the Rickenbacker Causeway this morning
Today, we’d like to introduce a new feature we created to help track and identify unsafe intersections and roadways for pedestrians and cyclists. The 2010 Greater Miami Collision Database, provides us with a grim view of our local streets, depicting locations where cyclists and pedestrians have been struck-by vehicles over the past year. While the data is unpleasant, we’re hoping to call attention to problem locations over time (and through previous data sources, when made available).
It’s important to note, the markers on the map are not just waypoints, these are people. Lives lost or maimed because of poor infrastructure, careless drivers, or the likely combination of several variables - all of which contribute to the 40,000 people who die annually in vehicular collisions (Note: 5,000 cyclists and pedestrians are killed annually by vehicles). Enough is enough - we’re launching an aggressive campaign to reverse this trend.
This database is a collaborative process. We’d like to invite readers to submit (movemiami(at)gmail.com) information concerning any collision between a car and a pedestrian or cyclist. We’ll be updating the map soon (to a new platform) that will allow you all to participate more freely. And, as soon as we get our hands on some historical data, we’ll be sure to plot it out as soon as possible to illustrate some historical trends.
Please check out the editorial in the Miami Herald regarding the accident which occurred on the Rickenbacker Causeway two weeks ago that killed bicyclist Christopher Le Canne. Three residents ring in with their opinions.
Michael Muench from Miami calls for improvements to the design of the Rickenbacker Causeway, which include physically separated bicycle lanes. Physically separated bicycle lanes may not necessarily be the best solution as Mr. Muench suggests. One thing is for sure, as long as we insist that it is OK to have a highway next to a bicycle lane accidents will occur. Road design certainly contributed to the accident and will continue contributing to future accidents. We cannot allow the current roadway design to remain. Major improvements need to be made; the current design is too dangerous for all users of the Rickenbacker Causeway.
Bruce Nachman from Miami, correctly points out that the Fire-Rescue response time needs to be improved. Unfortunately, this will not solve the underlying problem. If a pedestrian or bicyclist is hit by a car going 60 mph the chances of surviving are less than 10%.
Lastly Janis Ball from Miami Lakes is outraged by the fact that the driver was set free on bail. Carlos Bertonatti should never have been driving in the first place, but to set bail so low for such a horrific crime is unacceptable. We need to start taking hit and run crimes a lot more seriously.
If you believe that the design of the Rickenbacker Causeway contributed to the accident please send Mrs. Esther Calas, Director of the County Public Works Department, an email asking for a safer Rickenbacker Causeway @ email@example.com
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.
Tomorrow, Wednesday January 27 @ 5:30pm, the monthly BPAC meeting will be held. All of you that have concerns about pedestrian and bicycle related issues in Miami Dade County should attend this very important meeting. We need to keep momentum on our side. Our elected officials are listening. You can find all the information about the meeting here.
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
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.
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.
The first official Transit Miami “shout-out” goes to the Traffic Signals and Signs Division over at the CPWD. Mr. Robert Williams and his staff came through and fixed the broken pedestrian crosswalk signal below in a very timely manner. The Traffic Signals and Signs Division should be recognized for their commitment to making our streets safer for all pedestrians. According the Mr. Williams, if you contact their department @ firstname.lastname@example.org, problems such as these will be repaired ASAP, generally within a few hours, but may take up to a few days. This is a much better response then we received from 311 which informed us that it could take anywhere from 2-4 weeks for the repair.
Keep up the good work Traffic Signals and Signs Division!
All downtown developers should be required to put up protective pedestrian scaffolding around their work site. Most large downtown development projects usually take over the sidewalks and pedestrians are left to fend for themselves. This picture was taken on Brickell between 6th and 7th Street. Kudos to the developer for taking this precautionary step and ensuring the safety of pedestrians. We should enact an ordinance that requires developers to make temporary provisions for pedestrians if the work site infringes upon the pedestrian’s right of way.
The Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) meets once a month. Meetings are held at 5:30pm at the Steven P. Clark Government Center. For more information about the meeting and for meeting minutes please visit the BPAC webpage.
For additional information you can email David Henderson, BPAC Coordinator and Bicycle Pedestrian Specialist, or by calling him at 305.375.1647.
Steven P. Clark Government Center
111 NW 1st Street.
Miami, FL 33128
Unlicensed driver Charles Sanford, 19, was sentenced to 5 years for killing 4-year-old Veronica Desir on April 4, 2008 according to the Miami Herald. Charles Sanford fled from the scene of the accident and was apprehended three days later, his damaged Dodge Magnum was found at a Fort Lauderdale body shop.
A five year sentence is not a just punishment for this horrendous crime. Broward Circuit Judge Bernie Bober should have sent a stronger message that hit and run accidents will no longer be tolerated by sentencing him to at least ten years. Sanford committed murder and witnesses said Sanford sped away without hesitation. Our condolences go out to Veronica’s family.
Here’s your chance to speak to an FDOT representative about the recently released Dangerous by Design report that ranked the following four metropolitan areas within Florida as the most dangerous for pedestrians in the United States.
1. Orlando-Kissimmee, FL
2. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL
3. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL
4. Jacksonville, FL
The MPO Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee will hold their monthly meeting on Wednesday Dec. 16th on the 18th Floor (room 18-3) of the Government Center. This will be the first meeting since the Dangerous by Design report was released. Please come out and express your concerns to the FDOT representative that will be present. We need to work together with FDOT and encourage them to design complete streets that address the needs of all users and not only those of cars. We deserve better streets.
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