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, March 16, 2014

MBPD Blocks Bike Lane (Again)

Miami Beach Police don't exactly have the most stellar record when it comes to enhancing cyclist safety. In many cases they are a detriment to it. While a bicycle lane is created to allow cyclists to ride safely alongside vehicular traffic, MBPD regularly sees the bike lane as a great place to put signs and other objects for the motor vehicles. Here on Alton Rd (at 23rd street) MBPD has placed a trailer to show drivers the speed at which they are traveling

As this video below clearly shows: 1) Drivers regularly speed here (at times in excess of 50mph on a 30mph roadway) and 2) The sign has little to no effect in slowing them down. What this sign does do though is force cyclists to ‘unexpectedly’ (from drivers point of view) jump into the vehicular traffic. This is a major safety hazard - and it is only there because the Police deliberately put it there and refuse to move it

I’ve called MBPD at their non-emergency line many times requesting it be moved to a safer location. I’ve flagged down a handful of patrol officers, and I’ve even spoken to the patrol commander. Most of the dispatchers seemed to shrug the issue off and all of the officers I spoke to, including the Patrol Commander (John Roberts) all had the same excuses:
  • There are physical and budgetary restrictions which don’t give us any other option
  • It needs to be there to deal with speeding vehicles
  • There is no place else near the roadway to put it so cars can see it
  • We can’t block traffic with it
  • Bikes can just move over and ride around it
Of the patrol officers I flagged down, I think only one even bothered to radio in the concern. This is unacceptable

When we build bike lanes drivers expect (and the law requires) bicyclists to use them. Yet on the other hand drivers and other parties see no problem with repurposing these bike facilities to their own ends. The result adds to the chaos on the roads, significantly detracts from cyclist safety and totally defeats the purpose of bike facilities

I’ve been trying for almost two weeks to get MBPD to fix the safety hazard they have created... but clearly they are too dense to understand it, or even worse *DON’T CARE*. This certainly isn’t the first time either. In the past I’ve called them out on parking a decoy car in the middle of the bike lane on Venetian Ave, and for putting a “Stop for pedestrians in crosswalk” sign on the 16th Street bike lane - at an intersection where there isn’t even a crosswalk! They have yet to respond to my concerns about police motorcycles being parked regularly in the bike lane at the corner of 17th and West, at a section where the bike lane is actually physically separated from the rest of the roadway. It’s going to take one of two things to happen to fix this problem. Either someone is seriously injured as a result, or they are overwhelmed with calls and emails from concerned citizens. You can reach MBPD’s non emergency line at 305.673.7901

Call now, before someone is hurt

UPDATE:  They finally moved it

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