Three Methods to Make The Rickenbacker Causeway Safer for Miami Cyclists

Earlier this month, Yaudys Vera, 48, and Ogniana Reyes, 46, have been fatally struck by a Jeep SUV throughout a late-afternoon bike trip on the Rickenbacker Causeway.

Their deaths add to a grim and rising variety of deadly biking accidents on the five-mile-long, county-run street: At least seven bicyclists, together with the 2 latest victims, have been killed on the Rickenbacker since 2010, in accordance with the Miami Herald.

The driver in the newest accident wasn’t drunk — a truth bike-safety advocates say means flaws within the Rickenbacker Causeway’s design are prone to blame. In mild of the latest crash, New Times spoke to bike-safety advocate Dr. Mickey Witte, a neuroscientist and adjunct University of Miami professor who shared three options for enhancements to make the Rickenbacker safer for cyclists.

Get Rid of the “Drop Lane”

Approaching the William M. Powell Bridge en path to Key Biscayne, the Rickenbacker Causeway’s rightmost turn-only lane — in any other case referred to as a “drop lane” — intersects with the inexperienced bike-only lane. That’s the place the newest fatalities occurred. It’s a complicated space: Drivers who intend to cross the bridge could by accident discover themselves within the far-right lane and headed towards the underpass for a compulsory U-turn.

Once drivers notice they’re within the improper lane, Witte explains, they try to shortly merge into the lanes heading east towards Key Biscayne. Even if the drivers are going the velocity restrict (55 mph), the split-second resolution to merge left into the middle lane can go away them with out sufficient time to correctly head-check for pedestrians or cyclists.

Eliminating that drop lane totally, Witte says, would dramatically scale back the prospect of cyclists and drivers colliding.

“That drop lane is so problematic,” she tells New Times. “I mean, anybody with any engineering understanding sees it and goes, ‘Well, that’s an accident waiting to happen.'”

click on to enlarge Plastic "armadillos" have been installed on the Venetian Causeway. - PHOTO BY MICHAEL MAJCHROWICZ

Plastic “armadillos” have been put in on the Venetian Causeway.

Photo by Michael Majchrowicz

Install Barriers in Hazardous Spots

Installing bodily limitations within the causeway’s most hazardous spots, Witte says, would stop cyclists and vehicles from colliding. The limitations would assist to make sure that drivers and cyclists keep of their designated lanes, particularly in the event that they’re distracted or impaired.

“I’m not calling necessarily for continuous separation,” Witte says. “But at the very least, we should put the engineers out there to recognize the places where they can have the most immediate impact by way of putting in appropriate separators.”

According to a plan made public by Miami-Dade County days after the deadly accident, “vertical barriers” shall be put in on stretches of the causeway which were decided to be probably the most hazardous.

That mentioned, when “armadillos” have been put in on the Venetian Causeway late final yr, the plastic bumps have been met with resistance from Miami’s biking group. A petition — which has garnered greater than 1,600 signatures — was even began to take away them. (Recreational cyclists are much less involved with hazard from vehicles than of what occurs when a motorcycle tire occurs to return into contact with one of many bumps.)

click on to enlarge A "ghost bike" memorializes a fallen cyclist. - PHOTO BY MR.TINDC / FLICKR

A “ghost bike” memorializes a fallen bike owner.

Create a Long-term “Master Plan”

After a fatality, small modifications are sometimes applied. Witte says that whereas short-term options resembling putting in vertical limitations and eradicating the drop lane are crucial, so is a complete “master plan” that may tackle considerations of bike-safety advocates, engineers, cyclists, and officers from Key Biscayne and Miami-Dade County.

Witte believes a long-term plan is essential to tackling the Rickenbacker’s bike-safety points. She notes that this concept was echoed by Key Biscayne Mayor Michael Davey throughout a county fee assembly on May 17, solely two days after the accident that killed Reyes and Vera.

“People should not accept that we just have casualties like this,” Witte says. “They should actually be driven to investigate what can we do to improve our roadway and minimize the likelihood that someone gets killed out there.”

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