The Old Cutler Road bike path is in shambles. Below is a fire hydrant that has been placed in the middle of bike path. There are dozens of other obstacles that cyclists need to avoid on this path. The Old Cutler Road bike path is long overdue for a makeover. Root rot, dangerous intersections, poor placement of signs, and oncoming cars are just a few other examples of obstacles that cyclists need to avoid when riding here.
Today was my first day back on my road bike since the fatal accident on Bear Cut Bridge nearly three months ago. I don’t think I could have picked a worse day to ride my bicycle on the Rickenbacker Causeway; the Sony Erickson women’s semi-finals.
Here’s what I observed this morning:
- Hundreds of people riding bicycles
- Average speed of cars 45-50mph
- About 10 cars doing at least 65 mph
- A motorcycle doing about 75 mph
- A police car (department will remain nameless) overtake another car in the right hand lane while encroaching the bike lane going about 70 mph before the Rickenbacker Bridge. This was a non-emergency, illegal pass; the police cruiser did not have lights on.
- At least 5-6 cars cut me off as they accelerate in order to overtake me so they could make a right hand turn.
- A cyclist riding against traffic
- Safety cones encroaching the bicycle lane rather than encroaching or being placed in the travel lanes to calm down traffic
Enough is enough. Cyclists in South Florida are sick and tired of FDOT’s antics. FDOT chooses not to include or even consider bicycle lanes in most of their resurfacing projects in District 6. Last night about 35 cyclists attended an open house in which FDOT told the attendees that bicycle lanes would not be included in the Sunset Drive resurfacing project; so much for public participation.
Yesterday the newly energized South Florida Bicycle Coalition announced they would seek legal action if FDOT does not include bike lanes in the Sunset Drive resurfacing project without the required design exception, traffic and impact studies.
Well done South Florida Bicycle Coalition! Keep up the great work!
Our expectation is that FDOT should design a complete street that includes sidewalks, bike lanes, narrower traffic lanes, lower speed limits and additional traffic calming devices. We will no longer tolerate shoddy FDOT workmanship such as the bike lanes on Coral Way and the MacArthur Causeway. FDOT has a responsibility to provide safe bicycle infrastructure that exceeds their abysmally low minimum design standards.
It should be noted that this is a MAJOR route for cyclists traveling east/west. Trinity County Pineland Park and three elementary schools sit on Sunset Drive. These attributes make this stretch of roadway the perfect candidate for a complete streets initiative by FDOT.
Until recently Miami had never really given bicycling much consideration. During the past year or so the bicycling movement has gained momentum here. The Miami Bicycle Master Plan was approved by the Miami commissioners, bicycle lanes are slowly popping up and we see more and more cyclists on the road everyday. This is certainly a good thing; however I’m a little concerned about the quality of some of our bicycle lanes on roads were the design speed of the roadway exceeds 40 mph.
For example, here in Miami we have had several bicycle lanes placed on roadways were the design speed of the roadway exceeds 40 mph and we can even find unprotected bicycles lanes placed adjacent to roadways were the design speed is closer to 50-65 mph. The probability of death or serious injury to a vulnerable cyclist increases substantially as motor vehicle speeds increase. Therefore before painting unprotected bicycle lanes, we need to make sure that the speed of traffic does not exceed 35-40 mph.
So this got me thinking, perhaps the best way to bring cycling into the mainstream in cities that are not accustomed to cycling would be to create a bicycle network which designates specific roads as high priority routes for cyclists. Cities would focus spending and market these high priority routes; they could be called Urban Bicycle Networks. Marketing is key and fundamental to the Urban Bicycles Network’s success; it would be seen as sexy and cool and would be a matter of pride for a city.
The high priority routes would serve as the backbone to a city’s Urban Bicycle Network. Once a city designates the high priority routes, speeding fines within it would double much like in a road construction work zone. Of course, there would need to be clear markers so that motorists and bicyclists are aware of the special conditions that prevail within the road they are traveling on. The Urban Bicycle Network would not be expensive to implement and 50% of the total fines from moving violations within it would be reallocated back in to the network to make improvements and for maintenance.
I’m not sure if what I am suggesting is legal, but I’m trying to think out of the box here. The doubling of speeding fines within the Urban Bicycle Network would quickly educate motorists about the cyclist’s right to be on the road, reduce the speed of traffic and cyclists would be encouraged to use those roads which are safest for them.
In my never-ending quest to add a truly vintage bicycle to my collection, this morning I stopped by a garage sale in Coconut Grove while on my morning bike ride. There out of the corner of my eye I spotted a 1953 Schwinn cruiser owned by Mr. R.K. Smith. Mr. Smith, a World War II veteran, purchased this beauty in Coconut Grove that very same year. Mr. Smith informed me that he rides his Schwinn Cruiser everyday for about a mile and a half to the Coconut Grove Library; this Halloween he will be 89 years old.
Mr. Smith is an inspiration to me. I sure hope that when I am 88 I am still healthy, enjoying life and riding a bicycle everyday. When designing bicycle infrastructure we need to consider all users. We would be a much healthier society if everyone who reaches the age of Mr. Smith were still on two wheels.
Mr. Smith told me that a lot of people have offered to purchase his bike. He won’t sell it; and rightfully so. She’s been with him for the past 57 years. It’s a beautiful bike which needs to remain with its owner. Thank you for serving our country Sir and being an inspiration to all cyclists.
Transit Miami’s very own Kathryn Moore has been appointed Executive Director of the South Florida Bicycle Coalition. Kathryn is an excellent choice for the Executive Director position. She was instrumental in coordinating Bike Miami Days and she was awarded the Young Professional of the Year by the Association of Pedestrian & Bicycle Professionals. Her experience and enthusiasm for cycling will undeniably be an asset for the SFBC. The SFBC is in good hands with Kathryn. Congratulations Kathryn!
In other news, the SFBC coalition just returned from Washington D.C. where they attended the annual National Bike Summit. Kathryn along with SFBC President Jeffrey Lynne were in D.C. rubbing elbows with the who’s who in the cycling world. You can rest assured that the SFBC is energized and ready to make South Florida safer for all cyclists.
Soon you will be able to join the SFBC as a member. Please check back with us for more details or check out the SFBC blog. The word on the livable streets is that the SFBC will be a holding a fundraiser with plenty of alcohol! What can be better than talking about bikes over some booze?
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 @ firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
All bicycle lanes are not created equal.
Bike lanes, cycle tracks. Wide lanes, bike paths. Bike boxes, Share the Road signs. There are more kinds of ‘bicycle infrastructure’ than you might imagine and engineers around the world are constantly improving on what we already have. In the debate on improving safety for cyclists and pedestrians on our roadways, TransitMiami.com is reminded by readers and friends that yes, there are cheap and proven alternatives to both the status quo and all-new facilities.
These low-tech railings set up for cyclists at intersections on Copenhagen allow cyclists to both rest comfortably without dismounting and push off immediately upon the light turning green. Both improve the speed with which our pedal-powered road-users get going - a common irritant to the over-stressed motorist waiting at the light. Fast Company Magazine has more photos and information on their website here.
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
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.
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 @ email@example.com
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.
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