Miami Beach Cycling Activist Records Himself Getting Slammed in Hit-and-Run

Ken Bereski was cycling home in South Beach around 10:45 p.m. last Thursday when he heard a car horn honk. He went on the defensive and prepared for the worst. Ten seconds later, a car slammed into him from behind, hurling him to the ground.

The crash, on Collins Avenue at 21st Street, is mostly a blur to Bereski. But one thing he does clearly remember: The driver behind the wheel of the white Mini Cooper never stopped. The hit-and-run was captured on video, which is currently being used by investigators to try to locate the driver.

“I remember yelling for someone to get the plate, but no one did,” Bereski says. “Not a single car even stopped. The only people who asked if I was okay were two guys waiting for a bus.”

Bereski, an IT consultant and avid cyclist, is no stranger to runs ins with cars on Miami’s treacherous roads. In 2009, after he was struck by a cabbie on 16th Street at Alton Road and blamed for the incident, he decided to outfit his bike with digital cameras — on the front and back — and publish the videos or use them as evidence when needed. Since then, Bereski has recorded hundreds of hours of video.

“After being blamed and threatened with a ticket for getting hit, I decided I needed proof the next time,” he says. “So I just started recording everything.”

He’s since had three bikes totaled, for a loss of thousands of dollars. He posts incidents on his website and YouTube channel. He’s become an activist on bicycle safety and has gone before the city commission multiple times to share his concerns and push to make Miami Beach more bicycle friendly.

In 2011, prosecutors used film from Bereski's bike cams to charge a driver with felony assault for allegedly trying to run him off the road. But a Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge decided the film wasn't enough and tossed the case. He has never received resolution in a single case he's been involved in with a driver.

After Thursday’s incident, Bereski is recovering from minor bruises. He says his Raleigh Prestige with full carbon frame — worth some $3,000 — is also probably totaled. The crash damaged his cell phone and iPad. “It’s easily $5,000 worth of losses,” he says.

Miami Beach police are currently investigating the incident as a hit-and-run, according to Miami Beach Police Department Public Information Officer Ernesto Rodriguez.

Bereski plans to do “whatever he can” to find the driver. And in the meantime, he has no plans to stop cycling.

“Every time I ride my bike in Miami I might die,” he says. “But as soon as I can I’ll be back on a bike. It’s the only way for me to get around.” 
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Jessica Weiss