What is taking Miami so long to embrace bicycle-oriented policies? Given the area’s fantastic year-round weather, terrible traffic congestion, underdeveloped mass transit, and fairly dense urban core (i.e. Miami proper, Miami Beach, downtown Gables), one would think Miami would be at the forefront of developing bicycle-oriented infrastructure. This certainly hasn’t been the case, however. As of this day, there are only a handful of bicycle lanes in all of Miami-Dade County, and they are located primarily in the suburbs of Coral Gables and Key Biscayne.
Mayor Diaz’s Green initiatives provide an excellent foundation for sustainability in Miami, I find that a bicycle-boosting initiative is conspicuously missing. If you google “Miami” and “bike”, you’ll sadly get more results for bike-related activities in Ohio’s Miami Valley then in America’s southernmost metropolis. Doing some quick research, the only mention of bicycle projects was at the MPO’s website. However, there are only a very small number of bike projects being considered, and all of them are either fragmented suburban routes or recreational trails. It appears there is very little direction or leadership for improved bicycle policy in Miami. Meanwhile, many cities across the county and around the world are pedaling full speed ahead (pun intended) with their own initiatives to promote bicycling as a popular, sustainable, safe, and effective means of transportation.

  • New York, NY: An elaborate city website exhibits all the bike information you could ever need, including maps. The City already has several hundred miles of bike lanes cris-crossing all five boroughs, yet plans to implement another 900 lane miles of bike lanes and greenways. NYC even has a bicycle master plan, which, if I am not mistaken, is completely foreign to any municipal body in Miami-Dade.
  • Louisville, Kentucky: The City is in the process of implementing a citywide system of bike lanes and paths. Mayor Jeffrey Abramson, who keynoted the 2007 National Bike Summit in Washington, has adopted a “complete streets” policy that requires bike lanes as apart of all major road improvements.
  • Seattle, Washington: Creating safer cycling conditions is the City’s top priority. The City is about to implement its own Bicycle Master Plan, a 10-year strategy to create 200+ miles of bike lanes citywide.
  • Portland, Oregon: A national leader in urban bicycle policy, the City’s fantastic website has extensive biking information. Everything from maps, guides, and brochures – it’s on the website.
  • Copenhagen, Denmark: Perhaps the most bicycle-friendly city on Earth, 32% of residents bike to work. This is despite being a city with a climate that is cool, wet, and dreary for much of the year – the antithesis of Miami (so much for all those lame weather excuses Miamians use to drive everywhere). So 32% of residents bike to work…fantastic, right? Not good enough for Copenhagen. The City has set a goal to increase this percentage to 40%.
Photo courtesy of Flickr account: vj_pdx

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6 Responses to The Future of Biking in Miami

  1. Dave says:

    One thing i noticed while going through the Miami 21 code documents is that it requires bike racks to be constructed in every multifamily building or office building (the number of bikes to be accomidated depending on the size of the building and the zoning). This would remove a pretty big obstacle now of when you ride you bike somewhere, where do you put it once you get there? Just chain it up to a pole?

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  2. Ryan says:

    Nice find Dave. You’re right that is one of those logistical aspects that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but is. Let’s hope we can get to a point where “bike parking” actually becomes a problem, though.

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  3. Anon#2 says:

    Another city that is very bike-friendly (and has excellent urban growth planning) is Arlington, VA. Check out http://www.bikearlington.com

    A#2

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  4. Friend of Bike Riding says:

    Miami 21. Commissioner Marc Sarnoff has been working with many excellent bike advocates from Miami including, but not limited to, the very educated members of the Everglades Bicycling Club. They have been attempting to encourage the Miami 21 consultants to include bike friendly language in Miami 21 that would encourage more biking and safer biking.

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  5. Andrew says:

    Doral has a good bike way plan. I can’t find it now on the their website, but it looks pretty effective. Connecting its parks and residential with commercial and industial areas real well.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    My daily commute took me from NE 19th avenue down Miami Gardens Drive to Biscayne Blvd via bicycle. I would lock my bike there and jump on the express bus downtown. No one mentioned that Miami transit bus have bike racks in the front that pull down, they can carry two bikes at a time. I never used the rack since I didn’t need a bike to get around downtown since I could use the metromover.

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