11 Bicyclists Struck On Macarthur Causeway

11 Bicyclists were struck by a cab driver this morning while bicycling across the Macarthur Causeway. Although one remains listed in critical condition, fortunately no one was killed. The cab driver admitted to falling asleep, inadvertently sending 6 of the 11 bicyclists to the hospital.

Reactions to the accident have been mixed. What were bicyclists doing on the Macarthur? Why was a cab driver, likely working the graveyard shift, still on the road? Why won’t those damn bicyclists get on the sidewalks where they belong?

These are just some of the comments over at the Herald’s online news comments section. Normally, I can’t stomach the inanity of reader comments that follow most Herald articles, but this particular story and its attendant comments provide remarkable insight into several important issues.

1) The Macarthur Causeway is a limited access highway. In almost all cases, bicyclists are prevented from riding only these types of roads because of the elevated level of danger they present. Yet, the Macarthur is actually designated with signage as a Bicycle Route. Here in Miami, it seems we promote bicycling on only the most dangerous street for bicyclists and leave the safest ones unmarked. What a terribly backward twist on an already poor situation. Today’s accident is a case in point, and it is a wonder that more accidents do not occur. It is my opinion that the Macarthur needs to either be improved dramatically so that all users will be safe (including pedestrians) or the designated Bicycle Route sign needs to be removed, as its existence only promotes bicycling along an unsafe highway, that quite frankly, is not designed for bicycle safety where bicyclists need it the most. Save your own live, take the Venetian Causeway instead. It may leave your two blocks further north, but believe me it is worth it.

2) Motorist education is sorely needed. Now. Not tomorrow. Now. Most motorists seem relatively clueless about traffic laws here in Miami, let alone how to overtake bicyclists safely. Police must start enforcing traffic laws in this city, although perhaps they should learn to follow them first.

3) Bicycle safety education is needed as well. In this instance, it seems the bicyclists were not engaging in unsafe riding practices. However, as a daily commuter I can’t even count the amount of times I have seen fellow bicyclists take their own lives into their hands just to run a red light. Bicyclists and motorists must learn traffic safety laws and heed them.

4) Hostility toward bicyclists in this city is out of control. Ignorance to the benefits of bicycling comes in all forms here in Miami, but motorists must understand that not only do bicyclists have a right to the road, they are also out there lessening traffic congestion and pollution and promoting a livable city.

10 Responses to “11 Bicyclists Struck On Macarthur Causeway”


  1. 1 Ellen

    I was shocked when I saw this article yesterday on the Herald website. First, I hope all off the cyclists, especially the critically injured man, make a full recovery. I read in the Palm Beach Post web site that a bicyclist was killed by a fleeing robbery suspect just the other day. How tragic. Mike, you are absolutely right on all the points you make. I don’t understand why there aren’t PSA’s on television and the back of transit buses. Everybody I talk to about bicycles is misinformed about the rights of the bicyclist. On my daily commute, I am always yelled at to get off the road, etc. Make no mistake that Miami is unique in driver ignorance. I just returned from a vacation in San Antonio Texas, which has quite a few bike lanes and accompanying signage. [I also picked up a local bike lanes map printed on waterproof paper that I want to share with you soon.] The week before I arrived, two different bicyclists were hit and killed by pickup trucks. I have read about a group of female bicyclists in central Florida that raise money for PSA’s on buses. Bike riding in Miami is definitely an extreme sport. Where’s my gold medal?

  2. 2 Mike Lydon

    Thanks Ellen. Fortunately, many of the problems that I identified are being addressed in the soon to be released City of Miami Bicycle Action Plan. Once this is done, our job is to keep the pressure on the city to carry forward all of the policies, programs and infrastructure contained within this important document.

    I would love to see the San Antonio map!

  3. 3 Hugo

    I’m French but live in Miami and I’m always amazed at how bad most people drive here, 90% of the time they never have they turn signals and don’t seem to care about traffic laws.
    I agree that Police should start enforcing laws but they’re probably as bad as most drivers…

  4. 4 Emperor Tomato

    Get well injured riders. I couldn’t believe the comments on yesterdays article. Some people are just hatefilled.

  5. 5 Linda

    I live in Miami Beach and I dont find JUST the driver’s to be ignorant but also pedestrians who jay walk when a light is green or cyclists who cut out in front of cars at a dangerous speed and do not use their hands as signals. It’s tragic what has happened and I understand how it happened, however I’d like to shed some light on the fact that everyone needs to be considerate of their surroundings and the drivers, cyclists, pedestrians using it.

  6. 6 maaaty

    I often wonder it the Herald has a hatebot writing most of its comments. From what I can discern, some of the code goes like this:

    IF PERSON AT FAULT = AFRICAN-AMERICAN, WRITE: “One less Obama voter!”

    IF PERSON AT FAULT HAS SPANISH LAST NAME, INITIATE RANDOM RACIST RANT.

    Back to the case at hand, I don’t want to draw general inferences from it. If the cabbie fell asleep, he fell asleep. Just like that old man in San Diego a few years ago who fell asleep driving his car through the farmer’s market. A tragedy, a rarity, but not on its own informative to policy.

  7. 7 Emperor Tomato

    Cars are dangerous. If it were a pedicab driver that fell asleep this would have been a lot less disastrous .

  8. 8 JM Palacios

    I cringe in pain myself every time I think about this crash. Looks like one of the witnesses who made the 911 call is an attorney. See this article. Hope he’ll help them sue over this!

    Strangely, that article says that the “cyclists crashed into an automobile,” when it was clearly the other way around. I’m also not sure why some articles say it was 12 cyclists and some say 11. Are we missing one?

    maaaty, this was kind of a freak crash, but serves as a good reminder that incidents like this happen all too often down here. Many of them even end with the bicyclist dying. Major incidents like this grab the attention for those who don’t always pay attention to bicycle safety, and hopefully we can improve conditions to avoid more accidents in the future. So it can kind of provide a booster shot to policy.

    Emperor Tomato, nice point about pedicabs. I vote we outlaw automobile taxis and let everyone use pedicabs. And let pedicabs go anywhere they want!

  9. 9 JM Palacios

    Some clueless bicyclist sent a letter to the editor that Miami Herald published, saying that the bicyclists should have stopped and gotten off of their bicycles for some reason. This just reinforces that we need bicyclist education as well as motorist education. These cyclists were probably very familiar with the law, but people like that letter writer who think you cannot ride in the lane need the education.

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