I began biking on the Rickenbacker Causeway about 10 years ago. Back then no one knew who Lance Armstrong was and cycling was not nearly as popular as it is today.  I have seen the Rickenbacker Causeway change significantly since 2000. Ten years ago there wasn’t as much traffic or the number of cyclists we have today. Unfortunately the infrastructure to support these changes has not kept pace with the increased demand by cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists.

About 3 years ago the County resurfaced the Rickenbacker Causeway. The resurfacing project was an improvement, but did not go far enough to protect all users.  Today we find ourselves with a bike lane that is adjacent to a highway where many cars regularly travel in excess of 50 mph. Over the years I have witnessed several accidents during my rides. Below is a brief summary:

  • February 2006: Omar Otaola, a 33-year-old cyclist, was killed by a motorist when he swerved to avoid a curb where the bike lane precipitously ended. This accident was caused by a design flaw which forced cyclists into the traffic lane
  • April 2007: Cyclist (name unknown) hit by a car during the tennis tournament (Crandon Boulevard)
  • May 2007: 30-50 cyclists were injured during the resurfacing project due to uneven pavement.
  • January 2008 Cyclist (name unknown) falls and breaks her arm on the William Powell Bridge due to uneven pavement.  I reported the design flaw (uneven pavement) to PWD and it was fixed.
  • January 2010: Christophe Le Canne, a 44-year-old South Miami resident, is killed by Carlos Bertonatti in a hit and run DUI accident. (Bear Cut Bridge)

If you are aware of any other accidents which involved a motor vehicle or a design flaw, please share it with us in the comments section.

7 Responses to A Brief History of Bicycle Accidents on the Rickenbacker Causeway

  1. Angela M says:

    What’s inevitable is that drunk drivers kill innocent people period. Regardless of what vehicle the innocent person(s) is driving.

    The selling of alcohol is not going anywhere soon, what we need is a MUCH stronger education/advocation of the consequences of driving drunk.

    I’ve been researching drunk driving for about nine months now. It’s amazing how innocent people are killed at the hands of drunk drivers; shocking actually!


  2. Peter S says:

    I prefer to call these incidents COLLISIONS rather than accidents because the combination of dangerous factors make collisions and injury too frequent and expected to be called accidental.

    I’ve always decided against participating in the Key Biscayne triathlons by the polluted swim water and the dangerous bicycling course. There have been many car-bicycle collisions at those races even with extra police controlling traffic.
    Last year one was mentioned on Transit Miami: SUV Driver Injures Triathlon Cyclist Jun 22nd, 2009 by JM Palacios. I witnessed 2 others in previous years but couldn’t find any mention on the internet. There have probably been many more that I didn’t see.

    Some of the fault for those accidents may be with the generally poor traffic control specifically for the events but another factor is motorists’ expectations of total dominance on Crandon Blvd regardless of the day.

    Each danger factor can be modified to improve safety. Drunk driving can be a factor and so can many others such as speed, texting, and roadway design. Let’s consider all options for improvement.


  3. A closer look at the original design of the Rickenbacker may offer perspective on the true nature of the roadway should be - as a linear park.
    More info at http://www.viewfromvirginiakey.com/2010/04/rickenbacker-as-parkway.html


  4. Felipe Azenha says:

    You are absolutely right. The Rickenbacker should be treated as a linear park and not an expressway. Thanks for sharing your link. William Lyman Phillips had the vision to make the rickenabacker a linear park. It would be great if some of our elected officials shared his vision. We can only hope. There has been virtually no action taken by the county since the accident to make the rickenbaker safer for all users.


  5. Tony says:

    There was a terrible car v. rider accident this morning (Wed. 2/15/12) approaching the top of the WPB on the east bound lane. There were homicide detectives in route when I arrived there on my ride at about 6:30 a.m. We were directed to ascend on the walled pedestrian lane. That’s all I know, but i want more details since I climb that bridge twice most weekday mornings.


  6. Craig Chester says:

    Tony - CBS has the most details so far on the crash. It’s a terrible story. http://miami.cbslocal.com/2012/02/15/2-cyclists-struck-in-hit-run-on-the-rickenbacker/


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