It’s not often that something leaves me without words in Miami. But this does it.
Yes, that’s the Rickenbacker Causeway bike lane. Yes, that’s a giant sign blocking it, forcing bicycle riders into fast moving traffic. This is also located on arguably the most dangerous existing segment of the Powell bridge, where cyclists traveling downhill at higher speeds must be aware of merging traffic on the right (and vice versa).
This picture is all the more appalling considering that in the past few weeks alone, safety concerns along the Causeway have become even more urgent. A number of local media outlets again reported on the issue following an ugly incident earlier this month in which a drunk driver struck multiple cyclists. These reports included editorials in the Miami Herald, a WPLG news segment highlighting the dangerous conditions, and a public response from Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez only nine days ago.
How in the world can anyone believe that Miami-Dade County is taking this issue with any grain of seriousness? As one commenter on Transit Miami’s Facebook page said, “You can’t complain about the common sense in this town because there isn’t any.”
Our invitation is still on the table for Mayor Gimenez to come out with us for a ride and see the situation first-hand.
Special thanks to Transit Miami reader Ruben van Hooidonk for the picture. See something we should post? E-mail us or let us know on Facebook.
The Bear Cut Bridge connects the island Village of Key Biscayne to the Miami mainland via the Rickenbacker Causeway.
The following public message just came to TransitMiami from Jimmy Martincak, the Road & Bridge Maintenance Superintendent for Miami-Dade County’s Department of Public Works & Waste Management:
Emergency lane restrictions have been implemented on the Bear Cut Bridge along the Rickenbacker Causeway. The Public Works and Waste Management Department is routing vehicular traffic in a counter flow manner on two lanes of the current eastbound portion of the bridge (toward Key Biscayne).
One lane will be used for eastbound vehicular traffic and the other will be used for westbound vehicular traffic (leaving Key Biscayne). This will reduce traffic flow to one vehicular lane in each direction over the Bear Cut Bridge.
Eastbound bicyclists in the bike lane are being directed onto the off road path. Westbound bicyclists in the westbound bike lane are unaffected [emphasis added].
Should you have any questions or concerns, kindly contact our office.
Thank You, Jimmy
James Martincak, Road & Bridge Maintenance Superintendent
Miami-Dade County - Public Works And Waste Management
4299 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne, Florida - 33149
Be sure to contact Mr. Martincak with your thoughts on the matter.
Some cyclists just don’t seem to get it. Why do some continue to run red lights in Key Biscayne; especially the Crandon Boulevard and Harbour Drive intersection which is extremely dangerous?
Kudos to the Key Biscayne P.D. for rightfully enforcing the law; recently I have seen more and more cyclists respecting red lights in Key Biscayne. Unfortunately, there are a few bicyclists that give us all a bad name.
For some reason there are bicyclists that believe a special set of rules has been written for them while they are on the bicycle. I can assure you that no such rules exist. Grow up and start respecting the rules of the road.
Keep up the great work KBPD!
A Transit Miami-Shout Out to La Carreta on Key Biscayne for putting up a new bicycle rack. La Carreta is a popular pit stop for cyclists and on any given weekend you will find hundreds of cyclists refueling with pastelitos and coffee. Thank you La Carreta!
A cyclist was struck by a car yesterday morning in Key Biscayne. According to the Miami Herald, the cyclist ran a red light and was then struck by the car. If this accurate, it does not surprise me one bit. Quite frankly, there are too many testosterone-filled cyclists out there giving good cyclists a bad name. All cyclists need to start obeying the rules of the road if they want to earn the respect of motorists. Running red lights and breaking other traffic laws makes all cyclists look bad. It goes without saying that cyclists will usually end up on the losing end in a collision with a 3000 lb vehicle. Please let us know if you have more details of this accident.
Several months ago I had lunch with Chief Press and Deputy Chief Jose Monteagudo from the Key Biscayne police department. Chief Press invited me to meet with him after I posted a blog regarding the ticketing of cyclists on Key Biscayne. We agreed on mostly everything, even the fact that bicyclists needed to be ticketed because most were riding their bicycles through Key Biscayne as if it were the Wild West.
Education and enforcement is certainly working on Key Biscayne. Recently I have noticed an increase in the number of cyclists that are stopped at red lights on Key Biscayne. Chief Press explained to me that along with enforcement his officers have been educating cyclists. Most cyclists who are caught breaking the law are cited. I was shocked to hear that the Key Biscayne Police department had cited several cyclists for repeated infractions. This is unacceptable. Cyclists which regularly break the rules of the road are the very same ones that give all cyclists a bad name. Grow up. This ain’t the tour.
Christophe Le Canne’s memorial continues to garner attention on an ever increasing scale and the NYC-based environmental organization, Time’s Up, is organizing a “Tribute Ride for Miami” this Sunday in solidarity with local advocacy efforts.
If you are in New York City this weekend, we hope that you will let us know how it goes. There is some discussion at MiamiBikeScene to organize something here, as well. Stay tuned-
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.
According to the Key Biscayne Times, a young girl was struck by a car while riding her bicycle in Key Biscayne. The car was making a right hand turn and hit the bicyclist. Luckily the girl seems to be doing alright.
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?
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:
*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 @ firstname.lastname@example.org
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