Local biketivists from across Miami and Broward joined around 200 more transportation planners, engineers and bicycle professionals in Tampa yesterday for the first National Bike Summit, hosted by USDOT. The event kicked off a campaign that USDOT Secretary Ray LaHood promised to do for bike safety what ‘Click it or Ticket’ did for seat belt use and Mothers Against Drunk Driving have done for DUI. It has no catchy name yet but the idea is simple: We need a cultural shift in this country so that nowhere is it socially acceptable or legal for motorists to disrespect cyclists. LaHood and other speakers promoted more bike lanes, more tickets for those who pass cyclists too closely and an aggressive education campaign targeting people who ride and drive on proper, safe behavior.

There is more at Streetsblog but Transit Miami thanks all who traveled to Tampa to represent Southeast Florida. Special shout out to Bike SoMi, the City of Fort Lauderdale, Broward Complete Streets, Green Mobility Network, Atlantic Bike Shop, Fort Lauderdale Critical Mass, and many others I may have missed. There were also three of us from the Broward B-cycle program, including myself.

Florida Bicycle Association Executive Director Tim Bustos sent us this recap of the event:

“When we first got the official notice that there would be a bike summit in Tampa, we were ecstatic!  Although many of us are already actively engaged in trying to improve the dismal bicycle crash record in Florida, we really felt like this kind of exposure, and the support of USDOT would be very helpful.  The only catch was that it was happening in 10 days!  Wow.  Having put on many events like this over the years, I knew that most conference planners require at least six months - and a year is preferred.  However, USDOT staff vowed to make it happen, and, since Secretary Ray LaHood has already announced that he would be stepping down soon, I can only guess that he wanted to be sure it happened before he left.  So, no problems - just opportunities!”

“First steps were to contact all of our members possible - as soon as possible,  as well as colleagues and affiliate organizations.  This blitz was followed with a conference call between USDOT and FHWA staff to offer our assistance with planning efforts in Florida, and to suggest speakers.”

“Given the incredibly short window of opportunity, the bike summit actually came off very well.  USDOT was hoping for at least 150 participants, and there were almost 200 in attendance!  The speakers were also very well qualified and engaging, and spoke to the issues of community design, traffic engineering countermeasures, law enforcement, and current bicycle education efforts in the state.  The only area I felt was lacking was the subject of funding programs.  Given that MAP-21 (the new transportation funding bill) is still relatively new, and many people are still trying to figure it out - including FDOT, we felt this could have been a welcome addition to the line-up of presentations, but to me, it seemed to be conspicuous by its absence.”

“Still, Secretary LaHood should be commended for his intent to pull off this conference before he left office, and his staff gets bonus points for pulling it together at warp speed.  And, as I mentioned at the end of my presentation on bicycle education, I look at this event not as a one time effort, but the beginning of a renewed effort throughout Florida to make bicycling safer and more enjoyable effort in Tampa, and throughout the state.”


One Response to Tampa Bike Summit: “Zero Tolerance for those who disrespect cyclists”

  1. Mike Arias says:

    As a pro bono public safety roadway advocate for motorists, pedestrrians and bicyclists for South Florida I would like to be able to read the minutes of the meetings which transpired at this bicycle summit if someone that attended were to post them on this site in order to determine if much needed safety enhancements are someday eventually going to occur on the public roadways in order to hopefully protect the public safety of recreational bike riders in Miami Dade and throughout the State of Florida as well.

    Please note for those bicyclists that ride on the Rickenbacker Causeway the addition of the vibratory markings installed on the edge of the travel lane adjacent to the bike lanes are in my estimation totally inadequate to prevent an errant vehicle from crossing over into the bike lane to prevent another tragedy from reoccuring on this roadway.

    The proposed long term solution I believe is quite simple. Seperate the passing motor vehicles by utilizing either a concrete median divider or a safety guard rail high enough to prevent a bicyclists that could potentially fall of their bicycle from toppling over onto the travel lane of the roadway where vehicles are passing by.

    In addition to the seperation issue the majority of the drivers are traveling at high speeds 55 to 60 mph on this roadway although the current posted speed limit is 45 mph entering the Causeway and 35 mph when departing from the Causeway.

    Unfortunately, there are currently no funds available to install this much needed safety equipment on this public roadway and even if there would be funding available this project would take years for it to be realized and completed.

    In the interim time period that, these options are considered and hopefully eventually someday are implemented I just recently proposed and recommended to Miami Dade Public Works Department to consider reducing the speed limit on this public roadway during the daytime ( from sunup to sundown) from 45 mph to 30 mph in order to protect the public safety of bicyclists that are riding in the unguarded bike lanes on this public roadway.

    Many of the drivers traveling on the public roadways are distracted, passing other vehicles in a reckless manner, are driving impaired and are inconsiderate as well.

    To make matters worse the majority of the drivers in Miami Dade do not abide by the Move Over Law for bicyclists ( nor for emergency vehicles as well) as well since they are simply not familiar with it. Pehaps some additional MOVE OVER signs like those installed in the City of Sunrise which visually illustrates a picture of a bicyclists and a vehicle) posted on this roadway would be beneficial and cetainly would not hurt as well.

    The majority of the motorists are currently traveling on this roadway at estimated speeds of 55 to 60 mph which is 10 or 15 mph over the posted speed limit. Some vehicles are traveling at higher speeds 70 MPH + without any recourse currently being taken by the 3 law enforcement agencies responsible for patroling this roadway other than ocasional sporadic traffic enforcement.

    Primarily nn the weekends and Holidays additional traffic enforcement personnel presence and details are much needed from City of Miami, Miami Dade and Key Biscayne as well in order to hopefully deter potential speeding motorists that are traveling on this roadway(and other roadways throughout Miami Dade County as well).

    If speeding drivers are not detered on the Rickenbacker Causeway and numerous other roadways as well throughout Miami Dade County and the State of Florida as well) since this is a systemic issue occuring preventable collisions will unfortunately simply continue to occur between motor vehicles and bicyclists resulting in additional tragedies for bicyclists that are riding on the public roadways.

    Always ride defensively and safely by being aware of your surroundings, wear highly visible safety gear, so that you can hopefully Arrive Alive to your intended destination and enjoy your recreational ride.


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