4/24/2010

9:15-11:30

34 Miles

This morning a female cyclist rear-ended a Miami-Dade Transit bus on the Rickenbacker Causeway. The cyclist suffered minor injuries and was not taken to the hospital. I don’t have all the details of the accident, but this much I do know: the cyclist was in the bike lane and she rear-ended the bus that was parked in the bike lane/bus stop/shoulder.

This accident highlights another major and possibly deadly design flaw on the Rickenbacker Causeway.  In many instances when a bus pulls over to pick up or drop off passengers, the bus tends obstruct the bike lane. When this occurs, there is major conflict between the cyclist and the bus.  Cyclists are either forced to stop short, or they are forced to enter the roadway in order to overtake the bus. This scenario is very dangerous for cyclists as they must enter the roadway were most cars are traveling between 40-50mph. Cyclists will eventually come out on the losing end of this situation.

A conflict area is created when buses and cars park in the bike lane. Cyclists are forced into the roadway.

Ideally the bike lane should not be used as a bus stop and shoulder. Below is an example of a bike lane that is physically separated from the bus stop. The roadway on the Rickenbacker Causeway needs a similar treatment. Today’s accident followed an earlier incident in which a bus overtook two cyclists only to cut them off as the bus partially obstructed the bike lane in order to pick up passengers.

Source: safecycling.org

I also witnessed:

  • Several hundred cyclists enjoying the morning
  • Hundred of runners and walkers exercising
  • A small army from the Miami-Dade Police Department handing out speeding tickets
  • Most cars traveling between 40-50 mph
  • At least 5 cars traveling in excess of 65 mph on the William Powell Bridge and Bear Cut Bridge. (Speed limit is virtually unenforceable on the bridges)
  • One decoy police car
  • Half dozen runners running in the bike lane

15 Responses to The Rickenbacker Report: Cyclist and MDT Bus Involved in Accident

  1. Grayson Peddie says:

    That second screenshot looks very similar to that in S. Semoran Blvd, Orlando, Orange, Florida. It is somewhere located close to Wal-Mart, Lowes, and Lake Fredrica. You can find it in maps.google.com.

    The design of the bus stop is located somewhere close to Lynx Central Station.

    Anyway, my thoughts and prayers go out to the cyclist for speedy recovery.

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  2. Grayson Peddie says:

    But I should note that the bike path is not placed behind bus stops.

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  3. Chris G says:

    I was out there running on Saturday morning with my group (on the path, not bike lane). We had to move over a few times for bikes inside the secured area on the Powell Bridge and on the secured part of Bear Cut Bridge. There was also a street sweeper that was throwing dirt, dust, etc around in the bike lane.

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  4. The second bus incident is all too common. They floor it around a cyclist, just to cut in front of them and slam on the brakes. Then they do it for every following stop. other times, when you go around them, they suddenly start and merge into the road without noticing/caring that the cyclist is passing them.

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  5. Velocentric says:

    We don’t have bike lanes in my town however there are some truly evil bus drivers. I always thought they were just unable to see me or realize that I was there until one day one chased me down and tried to scrape me into a line of parked cars. I was able to lay it down under the back of a car and he actually scraped his MARTA bus across several parked vehicles because he had pulled so far into the shoulder trying to get me. That was a big wake up call. Now I assume all bus drivers are homicidal maniacs trying to murder me. So far they generally prove that theory right.

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  6. Silver says:

    In the photo of the particular bus stop you showed, it looks like it would be very easy to make the bike path go to the right of the bus stop. In fact, it looks like there’s even a cyclist there already. What road is he on? Is it a beach access road?

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  7. Felipe Azenha says:

    The path to the right is what PWD calls a multiuse path. Cyclists and pedestrians don’t mix well either. There should be a dedicated path for cyclists and a dedicated path for pedestrians. Too many conflicts are created when you have cyclists and pedestrians using the same narrow path.

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  8. [...] obvious that if you hit a cyclist, you didn’t observe the three-foot passing law. A Miami cyclist rear-ends a bus parked in the bike lane. A 70-year old Indiana driver turns directly into two cyclists, and swears [...]

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  9. MrSunshine561 says:

    Felipe,

    I’m in agreement with you here. However, I must say, had I been that cyclist going around the bus, I would have gone to the right where there’s a fresh strip of asphalt and go around the bus through the multi-path.

    While I agree that the multi-use path is less than adequate, I’d rather deal with pedestrians than risk my life entering the road as that cyclist did behind the bus. Why on earth people do such things still shocks me.

    Some of our fellow cyclists love to complain about driver’s lack of common sense and yet they do very stupid things like what I see on this pic.

    Eddy.

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  10. @MrSunshine561 I’m not sure what you’re saying. You don’t understand why cyclists enter the road? Because thats where they belong. The cyclist in the picture is doing NOTHING stupid or wrong. Instead of avoiding the road out of fear, the laws should be better enforced and the drivers more educated so we can ride where we belong safely. And as for getting on the MUP around the bus, it would require a dismount, walk, and remount as I don’t ride my road bike on the grass to prevent flats.

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  11. Felipe Azenha says:

    The point that I am trying to make is that poor design of the Rickenbacker Causeway places cyclists in a precarious situation. We cannot have a bike lane that also acts as a shoulder and a bus stop, especially on a highway. It cannot be all three; it either is a bike lane or it isn’t. Obstructions in the bike lane arguably killed Omar Otaola in 2006 and also played a major factor in the accident that injured several cyclists on the MacArthur Causeway a couple of years ago.

    @ Yaniel, I agree with you, if I were on my road bike I’d look back before entering the roadway and overtake the bus.
    @ Mr. Sunshine if I were on my mountain bike I’d probably take the MUP if the road were not clear behind me.

    Regardless, neither option is good or safe. The Rickenbacker Causeway needs to accommodate all users safely.

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  12. MrSunshine561 says:

    @Yaniel: My comment had to do entirely with the situation depicted by the picture. There are many things that can go wrong there. From an incoming car to the bus suddenly taking off and swiping that cyclist. There’s no way to know what was happening there unless you were there…

    Everyone seems to have a very personal concept of what’s right or wrong as they ride and make decisions. I do believe that cyclists belong on the road without physical segregation, which is one of my bones of contention with Felipe, so you got me completely wrong there. However, the conditions you have mentioned (enforcement, educated drivers, etc) are just not there.

    Your preference would be to jump on the road and you’re entitled to that. My preference and that of most people I happen to ride with, would be to simply veer to the right where you can see a short strip of dark, fresh asphalt connecting the bike lane to the multi-path and avoid the bus altogether. And if in my opinion, a complete stop or dismounting and walking the bike were a safer alternative, I sure as hell would do that. That’s my prerogative and my opinion, and I’m entitled to both, just as you are entitled to yours.

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  13. Felipe Azenha says:

    I’m for physical separation of the bike lanes on the Rickenbacker Causeway if the current design speed of the roadway remains as is.

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  14. PR says:

    Take a look at this! the sound of getting hit by a bus
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8AM3u7Cr9I

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  15. Felipe Azenha says:

    PR,
    Thank you for this video! I just posted it.

       0 likes

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