Critical Mass returns to Miami tonight in what is sure to be an especially emotional ride.
Last week, a local cyclist was killed and another seriously injured in the latest hit-and-run on the Rickenbacker Causeway. The deadly accident was the fourth on the bridge linking downtown to Key Biscayne in the past eight years.
Shortly before dawn last Wednesday, college student Alejandro Alvarez struck cyclists Walter Reyes and Henry Hernandez on a curvy stretch of the causeway.
Alvarez fled the scene but had second thoughts, returning to the site and admitting he had hit the cyclists while changing a song on his iPhone. The 21-year-old had been out all night at a Miami Beach club.
Reyes, a 50-year-old real estate executive, died at the scene. Hernandez was taken to the hospital in serious condition.
The accident was sickeningly familiar for many in Miami's cycling community. It comes just months after a statewide law went into effect stiffening penalties for drivers who flee fatal crashes. Alvarez was charged with drunk driving and manslaughter.
Activists have called for cutting the causeway down to two lanes, decreasing the speed limit, and increasing DUI checkpoints.
Reyes' death is sure to weigh on the minds of those participating in tonight's ride, which is a straightforward, 16-mile loop through Little Havana, Allapattah, Brownsville, Liberty City, Wynwood, Overtown, Omni, and downtown.
As always, riders will meet at Government Center around 6:30 p.m. and start the ride at 7:15.
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Cyclists are advised to use lights, stay with the mass whenever possible, and leave the weekend drinking until after the ride is over.