The Rickenbacker Causeway has proved a dangerous place for bike riders of late. Cyclists Aaron Cohen and Christophe LeCanne were killed by hit-and-run drivers in 2012 and 2010, respectively. Several other cyclists have been injured recently in similar incidents.
But in the past two days, cyclists have started seeing an even more sinister type of assault on the Rickenbacker. Several bikers have been attacked by a silver car full of BB-gun-wielding teenagers. Nolan Farhy was shot in the leg and back at 2 p.m. Thursday afternoon as he peddled near the Rusty Pelican.
"I felt something ricochet off my leg," says Farhy. "It stung. When I looked over, I saw these three kids in a car with the window was down. The kid in the back had something in his hand... and they were laughing."
The teenagers, who were all white, sped off before Farhy could take a photo of their license plate. He returned home with several bloody welts and told his girlfriend the story.
"He didn't want to make a big deal out of it," Christina Warren says. "But what if had been shot and was so shocked that he crashed?"
Farhy isn't the only one reporting such attacks.
"Cyclists be careful riding on KB [Key Biscayne]," wrote local cyclist Michael Nunez on his Facebook page. "There's a grey VW sedan that is shooting (not with a gun, possibly a slingshot) at cyclists while riding. I was hit today, among others as well, and was left with a bruise."
A tack pulled from Leah Weston's flat tire this morning
Courtesy of Leah Weston
Other cyclists say the Rickenbacker bike lanes have been mined with tacks, although it's unclear whether the same group of teens is responsible.
"I was riding my bike this morning eastbound in the bike lane when I saw a group of cyclists stopped," writes Leah Weston. "Several of them had their bikes flipped over and were tending to flats. The cyclists said that there were tacks on the ground. I continued on my ride. On my way back, I started to notice that it became harder to ride. When I got back, I pulled out one of the tacks/nails/whatever (see attached photo) from my tire."
Neither Miami-Dade nor Miami police had any information available on the attacks, which technically appear to have occurred in unincorporated Dade.
Farhy says he's had bottles and other items thrown at him before on the Rickenbacker. This time, however, he plans to file a police report and is confident he could identify his attackers if cops let him look at footage from the Rickenbacker tollbooths.
"I wasn't going to make a big deal out of it," he says, "but then this morning they apparently hit a whole group [of cyclists]."
"We all did mischievous things when we were young," Farhy says. "But doing it the second day in a row at 8:30 in the morning? These guys obviously have some kind of intent. Have to be really stupid or have some evil vendetta against bikers."
In fact, Miamians are particularly aggressive towards cyclists, he adds.
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"You can have road rage anywhere," says Farhy, who was close friends with Cohen before his accident. "But Miami, in particular, is a difficult place because you have a lot of people from other countries who don't obey the rules of the road... It's the culture in Miami. And it's dangerous."