Road safety

Hot topic of traffic safety as incidents involving cyclists continue – NBC 6 South Florida

The conversation about cyclist safety has been a top priority for many after the deaths of two cyclists on the Rickenbacker Causeway about two weeks ago.

It’s a broad topic that covers a range of different issues that cyclists and drivers believe need to be addressed to improve road safety for all.

A local cyclist shared a cellphone video with NBC 6 that shows an apparent road rage situation in Key Biscayne.

The cell phone video is from February this year. It shows an outraged driver honking loudly at a cyclist on the roadway. The driver can be seen riding directly on the bike path.

“She was riding her bike by herself for fun, and I was terrified that she would get hit by this woman for no reason,” said Kate, who asked us not to use her last name. She took the cell phone video. “I just pulled out my phone to try and get his license plate.”

The mayor of Key Biscayne confirmed that police are investigating the incident.

Kate regularly rides the Rickenbacker and says she constantly encounters similar behavior.

She says she has been nervous lately, especially after the death of these two cyclists.

“Especially lately, I’ve been having anxiety about it. I’m going on a bike ride, (looks over his shoulder) like, is anybody coming? Just watch out for me.”

Since the fatal accident, there have been some immediate changes to the Rickenbacker. There are orange cones along cycle lanes, more enforcement efforts and a new 35mph speed limit.

However, Key Biscayne Mayor Mike Davey says he doesn’t think the lower speed limit will solve the problem.

“I don’t believe that’s the way to solve problems,” Davey said. “The problems we had, the tragedies we had weren’t caused by speed. They were caused by other causes.”

The mayor offered his vision for a long-term solution.

“We need to get separation between cars and bikes,” he said.

He says the village has been in communication with the Miami-Dade County Mayor and the City of Miami.

For the people of Key Biscayne, he says, there is another problem that needs to be solved.

“There’s a frustration on Key that the effort hasn’t been there when it comes to, especially the ‘platoons’. That’s been the biggest frustration,” the mayor said.

Someone shared a video on Instagram showing a group of cyclists (often referred to as “pelotons”) riding along the roadway. Some of them are seen cutting into the leftmost traffic lane. Drivers have commented online about the dangers they believe this creates.

Eli Stiers is a local attorney and board member of the Florida Bicycle Association.

He says cyclists and cyclists have the right to be on the roadway.

“A cyclist is a vehicle. He has all the rights and responsibilities of a car and where there is a cycle lane, a cyclist has the responsibility to stay in the cycle lane,” Stiers explained. “But you can leave the bike lane if there’s an obstacle in the bike lane. And obstacles can be many things. It can be a branch…but it can also be a slower cyclist.”

He said the Instagram video was taken from a tricky spot, but said some cyclists were clearly wrong.

“For people traveling in the leftmost lane of car traffic, there’s just no excuse for it,” Stiers said.

He says there is a “power gap” in the road, and a car driving into the cycle lane can be fatal to a cyclist.

“Everyone should share the road, and when I say share the road, I mean be responsible, practice law-abiding, cyclist and driver riding,” Stiers said.