While the names may change, the story is always the same. A young driver in his 20s returning home at 5:15 a.m., (who investigators suspect may have been under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash) hits and kills one cyclists and critically injures another. In typical Miami fashion the driver left the scene after the accident but returned a short time later. He was driving a charcoal gray Volkswagen Jetta.
Again, the victims are always the same. Good men, hardworking men, family men, whose only crime is that they enjoy riding a bike. As I type this post, I cannot believe that I am writing this story again!!!!
The victims on this day were Cyclist Walter Reyes, CFO of the Keyes Company, a long-established South Florida real estate firm. Walter was pronounced dead at the scene. His companion, fellow lawyer, Henry Hernandez, 40, was taken to Mercy Hospital by fire-rescue and was in serious condition, according to police.
As reported by Channel 4 news, Reyes, according to family members, was training for the Dolphins Cycling Challenge, a ride where the money raised is donated to Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami to tackle cancer.
While the following days will reveal more details about the driver and his whereabouts in the hours leading up to this crash, there is one thing that we already know. We must make the streets of Miami safer for all to enjoy. Miami is trying to become a world class city, yet we have the infrastructure of a third world country.
As far back as 2010-following the death of cyclist Christophe LeCanne the city and Mayor promised a safer key Biscayne. Studies were going to commissioned and we were promised changes were on the way. As of today-we have nothing.
This is the THIRD death on Key Biscayne-the most popular cycling route in Miami-Dade County-yet nothing changes.
The stretch of Crandon along which Reyes and Hernandez were struck, about half a mile east of the Crandon Park marina, has long been scheduled for a makeover that would widen the bike lanes and narrow the two automobile lanes to slow speeding cars and provide greater separation from motorized traffic for cyclists. Some advocates have also called for a physical barrier, like a curb or low wall, to protect cyclists.
But the work was delayed by the emergency reconstruction of the Bear Cut Bridge last year, and is now supposed to happen this coming spring, according to county public works officials. Will see when and if this happens.
Predictably, Mayor Gimenez issued a statement after Wednesday’s fatal collision expressing condolences to Reyes’ family and pledging to complete safety improvements for cyclists, runners and pedestrians along the causeway. Really, when should we expect those improvements?