As we reported last week, a man on a bicycle was nearly killed while crossing Brickell Avenue at 14th and eyewitnesses suggested he had the right-of-way. However, three eyewitnesses with whom we did not discuss the crash told police that the motorist had a green light. While the nature of driving a car lends itself much more to not paying attention than does bicycling, the evidence in this case does suggest the cyclist was the one who failed to yield.

The cyclist had just entered the crosswalk – so any motorist focused on the road ahead and traveling at 40mph would not be expected to anticipate the cyclist or be able to stop in time. Of course, this supports our campaign to reduce the posted and design speeds on Brickell Avenue but at any speed, it seems clear that the motorist had the right-of-way. The motorist was ticketed for an expired license and failure to have his registration but not fault in the collision. He very well may be a terrible driver but he had a green light and the cyclist was not behaving predictably, safely or legally, if reports are accurate.

I regret not posting this on Friday as soon as the Police gave us the full report- it’s a sad day for our community and this brings up the issues that are even more complicated than common sense design. All we know about the victim was that he was riding a 20 year old cruiser, was wearing no helmet, lived in a non-affluent section of Little Havana and was hispanic. Question: where or how did this person learn to ride a bicycle in traffic?

The bicycling and pedestrian advocacy movement feels almost segregated. There are many strong, bilingual advocates but the ‘critical mass’ is disproportionately white and/or young. The super rich or truly poor who cycle don’t step up the way Emerge Miami, Green Mobility Network, the MIAFixed crowd do. As more people bicycle, that will change – but for everyone? The South Florida Bike Coalition was successful at getting a large pro-bicycling billboard up in Miami, facing Little Havana. We had no say where it would go and the wonderful image was clear in itself, but it begged the question of whether a spanish-language message would have been better.

If more people rode bicycles (safely, predictably), Miami would be a cleaner, more human place to live, work and visit. More and more people are riding, which I hope reminds those of us who have been riding longer to ride responsibly and take the time to talk safety with the ‘new’ people we see on rides.

The only place where I ride that I am surrounded by more bikes than in Overtown is Critical Mass. I’ve spoken to some leaders within Overtown and promoting safe, legal bicycling just isn’t a priority. Interestingly, this is also the neighborhood where I feel most safe riding in traffic. The number of bicyclists and pedestrians being more than cars, motorists rarely speed through here, in my experience. Second only to that is Little Haiti – where I find that motorists speed but they always seem to see me.

Forgive me for what is really just some random thoughts but you all deserve the update. I hope to read your responses and will work on something more coherent. Ride Safely.

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3 Responses to Thoughts, Update on the Brickell Collision

  1. flyer says:

    There are some bike lanes on NW 1st Place in Overtown as well as NW 10th St and NW 11th St.

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  2. Brandt says:

    I was the one who designed that billboard you mentioned. I agree, it wasn’t my best design, but I didn’t really know where it would be posted either. But aside from just encouraging people to ride, we need more signs that show people the correct way to ride, as well as show drivers how to respond to cyclists on the road. I designed one with the latter message, but it didn’t get picked. Hopefully in the future we can get more of those up.

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  3. Mickey says:

    I don’t think we should beat ourselves up for not having made a Spanish-language billboard. As you said, the “wonderful image was clear in itself.” At the end of the day, it comes down to a matter of personal responsibility. People make the conscious decision to ride and drive safe or not. This is a choice we make. Crashes are crashes – not accidents. Yes, we should really be focused on an educational campaign, but at the end of the day, people will still be faced with the decision to choose to ride and drive safe or not.

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