As a Miami Bicycle Accident Lawyer, I can tell you that Florida and South Florida rank at or near the top nationally for both pedestrian and bicycle fatality rates.
Just in recent weeks, motorists have killed a man waiting at a bus stop in Doral, a man loading a bike into parked car from a Miami Beach sidewalk, and a cyclist riding across a narrow bridge in Bradenton. On the same day that Aaron Cohen was killed and his riding companion sustained a broken leg, Thomas Jennings, a triathlete out on a training ride on Fountainebleau Boulevard in West Miami-Dade, was T-boned and seriously injured by a speeding, out-of-control car that jumped the median. Again, a combination of bad roads and bad attitudes.
One of the most popular places to run and bike in South Florida is Key Biscayne. However, The “Key” is as dangerous as it is beautiful. To that end, Aaron Cohen, was the third cyclist killed by a car on the causeway’s popular bike lanes since 2006.
There are many initiatives that are being discussed to make biking safer on Key Biscayne. The proposals which include barriers to protect cyclists and slower speeds on the “Key” are great, but the true issues are motorist attitutes to cyclist and the carelessness that many motorist in Miami exhibit when behind the wheel. The carelessness includes but is not limited to texting, cell phone use, and driving while impaired. Not until these attitudes change will cycling become safer.
While Politicians and policy-makers have sought to encourage cycling as a healthful activity and green transportation as well-suited to downtowns and urban districts undergoing revivals, our road system fails to accommodate both cyclist and motorist. When you throw in a driver who is distracted or does not believe a cyclist has a right to the road the consequences are often fatal.
As noted in The Miami Herald, the problem in Miami is exacerbated in large part because of nonexistent or inadequate sidewalks, street crossings and bike lanes in combination with wide, multi-lane roadways often designed for high auto speeds.
In a law that I have yet to see enforced, Motorists are obligated to wait until it’s safe to pass, and must clear cyclists by a legal minium of three feet.