A total of five cyclists were injured in two separate incidents on December 31-both incidents involved cyclists being struck by cars.
Before we go any further the buck stops with MAYOR CARLOS JIMENEZ- we are holding him accountable for the existing unsafe cycling conditions on the Rickenbacker Causeway. There have been too many broken promises by the County and he needs to be held responsible.
The first incident occurred on the William Powell Bridge at 6:05 am . A group of about 20 cyclists were riding up the bridge when a drunk driver struck 4 of the cyclists from behind. Luckily no one was killed, however one of the cyclist suffered two broken ribs. The driver admitted to drinking and driving and was arrested at the scene. He was so drunk that he was throwing up at the scene. See picture below.
About two hours later another cyclist was struck in front of Mast Academy according to CBS4. Fire Rescue took the cyclist to the hospital and there is no word on the cyclist’s condition. The driver stayed on the scene.
As many of you know, we have been advocating for safer cycling condition on the Rickenbacker Causeway for the better part of half a decade and the County has done virtually nothing to make it safer. There have been at least 3 deaths on the Rickenbacker Causeway and countless other serious injuries that have not garnered any media attention whatsoever, such as this incident involving the drunk driver.
Every time someone is killed on the Rickenbacker, the County comes up with some half-baked idea (i.e. placing mile markers, rumple strips) in a failed attempt to say they have done something to make this urban highway safer; all the so-called “safety improvements” have proven to be a complete failure. Quite frankly, I’m tired of all political grandstanding that happens every time a cyclist is killed. I don’t want more bike summits, meetings and broken promises of improvements to come. How many more cyclists need to be killed before Mayor Gimenez does something to make the Rickenacker Causeway safer for everyone?
Once again, here are our recommendations. They were made nearly 4 years ago:
Short Term Goals for the Rickenbacker Causeway
• Enforcement of the 45 mph speed limit and regular DUI checkpoints
• Reduce speed limit to 35 mph
• Close the right lane of traffic in both directions on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 6:00 am to 10:00am.
• Better signage
• Motorist and bicyclist education campaign
Long Term Goals for the Rickenbacker Causeway
A major capital improvements project needs to happen and all users must be considered. Below are a few of the major improvements that need to occur:
• Paint bicycle lanes green (see below: intersections should include peg-a-traking and Chevron arrows)
• Create a 3 foot unprotected buffer between the roadway and the bicycle lane
• Major road diet. Narrowing of traffic lanes to discourage speeding (11 foot lane)
• Proper crosswalks, with stop lights, that can be activated by pedestrians.
• A separate path for pedestrians (pedestrians and bicyclist should not coexist)
• Consider physical separation as a feature in dangerous areas such as bridges and marked buffers along trajectory of bike lane
• Motorist and bicyclist education campaign
Speeding is clearly an issue that has not been adequately addressed by the County as is clearly demonstrated by this video:
As long as the design speed of the Rickenbacker Causeway exceeds 35 mph we can expect many more deaths and injuries.
btw: Several months ago friend of Transit Miami, June Savage, invited both Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Commissioner Xavier Suarez to join her for a bike ride after she met with them because she was nearly run over on Bear Cut Bridge and threatened to sue. Both agreed to ride, but so far have not. I double-dog dare them to ride and I would invite them to bring their children and grandchildren to join them. After the ride, I’d like to see them to tell the cycling community that the Rickenbacker Causeway is safe for biking and that they would encourage parent’s to bring their children along with them. As an experienced cyclist, husband and father, I no longer ride the Rickenbacker Causeway because I feel it’s too dangerous.
Miami Dade County is the 3rd most dangerous metropolitan area in the US for pedestrians and cyclists and our elected officials are doing virtually nothing to make conditions safer; in fact the County is doing the opposite-they are doing an excellent job of discouraging even seasoned cyclists like myself from riding. The whole situation is just embarrassing. There is no leadership at the County level when is comes to making our streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
My last suggestion: Call former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He just launched an urban consulting firm, Bloomberg Associates, which will dish out free advise to communities looking to make their streets safer. We can use all the help we can get.
According to the NYT:
“The organization, to be called Bloomberg Associates, will act as an urban SWAT team, deployed at the invitation of local governments to solve knotty, long-term challenges, like turning a blighted waterfront into a gleaming public space, or building subway-friendly residential neighborhoods.”
Click here to send Mayor Carlos Gimenez an email and let him know that the Rickenbacker Causeway needs to be made safer for everyone.
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