MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The deaths of two cyclists on the Rickenbacker Causeway Sunday may have tipped the scales toward a safer future for riders.
The cycling community unloaded at the Miami-Dade County Commission on Tuesday, demanding more protection, and saying that painted unprotected lanes are not enough.
Those green bike lanes are inches from a causeway built originally as a highway.
Key Biscayne commuters who have that one way in and out are reluctant to slow it down.
“I think lowering the speed limits is not something we’re in favor of,” said Key Biscayne Mayor Mike Davey. " We’d like to see other ways. We’d like to see separation between the cyclists and the road. That’s something I’ve been talking about for quite a while.”
Miami-Dade Commissioner Raquel Regalado pointed out the difference between what happened on Sunday and another issue with cyclists on the causeway.
“There is a distinction in the conversation we have regarding the Rickenbacker and pack cyclists, the pelotons, that’s a different conversation,” said Regalado. “That’s not what happened this weekend. This weekend we had two people killed in a bike lane.”
Those two victims have been identified as Yaudys Vera and Ogniana Reyes.
There was an unsolicited proposal to Miami-Dade County called Plan Z, a wholesale upgrade for the Rickenbacker Causeway, which included safety measures for all, but it was shelved last year after being mired in politics.
“Enforcement, education, we’ve hit that; we’ve done that. We haven’t seen a decrease in deaths. A physical barrier is necessary,” said cycling advocate Dr. Mickey Witte.
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava explained that money, bureaucracy, and conflicting perspectives have held up progress.
“We also have disagreements, even among the biking community,” she said. “We have to design with pedestrians and bicyclists in mind. We’re retrofitting now roads that have been designed strictly for cars.”