I'm an IT consultant by trade... I travel to my clients, all over Miami-Dade county. Most people don't seem to 'get' that I do so by bicycle and by choice. Generally cycling is my zen, my chance to be one with the world. Unfortunately plenty of drivers are intent on making me one with the road - literally.

Watch these close brushes with death and dismemberment. See what I see, or sometimes (through the rear cam) what I don't see... thats even scarier. I've had more than my fair share of close calls, usually someone being too busy texting, calling or putting on makeup to notice that there is a vulnerable vehicle right near them

Often it's an uneducated driver that have mistaken the local public roads for the Homestead Miami Speedway. How dare a cyclist be on the road?! Why aren't you in the bike lane? Umm, there isn't one or don't you see that car parked in it? Once in a while its a truly homicidal maniac who has no regard for human life. Cyclists will understand - this happens all the time. Drivers don't respect the destructive power of the weapon they wield

Yes, weapon… have you ever had someone step on the gas, with the sole intention of running you over?! I have. All I can hope is that non-cyclists see these videos, and maybe as a result are a little more careful next time they see a bike out of the corner of their eye. All I really want is to live to bike another day

Is that really too much to ask?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Modal Bias Prevents Justice For All

In April, Transit Miami wrote of an incredibly positive experience a cyclist had with the enforcement efforts of the Miami Beach Police Dept after being threatened by an aggressive driver. As the victim of the driver in the incident, I would like to take a moment to follow up on that story.

The State Attorney's Office filed Aggravated Assault (Assault with a Deadly Weapon) charges and I originally had recommended the driver submit to anger management, and alternative transportation education as a suitable resolution. Upon completion of said classes, I would be satisfied that the driver would not continue to threaten the lives of cyclists on the road, and would be content with the charges being dropped. The driver, however, feels that he has done no wrong and turned down this option in favor of a 'not guilty' plea.

Fighting for justice has been an incredibly uphill battle. It seems I have to prove to everyone that as a cyclist I have a right to be on the road. Between the State Attorneys Office, the defendant, and even the judge I have encountered extreme 'modal bias' - the judge has seen the video and does not believe the behavior in question to be assault. Further, I was told that 'I should have been riding further to the right'. Those familiar with the area on Alton Road where this happened know that 'further to the right' is a parking lane, which would not only have been unsafe to do, but I believe also illegal.

Take a look at the video of the incident, and consider the Florida Statutes definition of Aggravated Assault:
(784.011) An “assault” is an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent.
(784.021) (1)An “aggravated assault” is an assault: (a)With a deadly weapon without intent to kill

Even when the driver is simply tailing me and honking his horn, it is a behavior intended to intimidate me to move off the road… or else! That is exactly what Assault with a Deadly Weapon is as defined by the 2010 Florida Statutes.

The Judge in this case, Jorge Cueto, has made it very clear that he intents to drop this case on Monday morning, July 17th. Apparently video of the assault is insufficient evidence. I'd ask that anyone available at 9:30 in the morning will take this opportunity to show up at the courtroom of the Honorable Judge Cueto and show that this behavior while driving a motor vehicle cannot be tolerated. We need to make a stand so that one day, you and I can commute to work using our preferred means of transportation, whatever that may be, without fear of death.

Those who are unable to attend the hearing, or who hear of this too late, please help to spread the word. We must stand up for our right to be on the road, and for protection of our constitutionally inalienable right to life.


  1. FYI: Ken, with Firefox 4.0.1 your dark gray text on a black background is almost invisible.

  2. I looked for that particular setting. Didn't see it after a quick scan through with the template I had been using, so reseting to basic layout did the trick. I can worry about making the site look 'pretty' at some other time. Thanks for taking a moment to bring that to my attention!

  3. Thanks Ken -- much easier to read now :-)

    it seems obvious to me that you're riding to avoid the door zone. It doesn't seem Florida's 3 foot law is helping you much here either.