Earlier this week, the Bike Blog spoke with several people who saw a phenomenal number of bicycle accidents on the Rickenbacker Causeway last weekend, as a result of repaving by the Miami-Dade Department of Public Works that left the bike lane uneven with the road. The Bike Blog took action: we called a few folks at the Department, made fun of their responses, issued a toothless dire warning, and left it at that. Shame on you, we said – someone could have gotten hurt.
Apparently a whole lot of people did.
“I would say that at least 30 to 50 people crashed in the last . . . ten days, I’d say,” said Andre Quninio, proprietor of Mack Cycle & Fitness in South Miami, when I spoke with him yesterday.
Hold on a sec -- 30 to 50?
“Yeah,” Quinino confirmed. “They come into the shop every day and I go there every day, and so you see the people crash. . . In fact they finally put a sign up there – one of those electronic signs. . . I think because there was some important people who made a big deal when the crashes started to happen Then you saw the changes overnight. There’s some really powerful people who ride bikes.”
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Apparently, the Bike Blog isn’t one of them: two days ago, the DPW asked us to email our questions, and we did: we asked how many accidents had occurred, what was being done to stop them, and whether all of this might have been prevented. Two days – and maybe a few nasty spills on the Rickenbacker – later, they still haven’t answered.
“Oh yeah, it’s still uneven,” attests local biker Hank Resnik, who lives on Key Biscayne and bikes the causeway daily. “There was a triathlon there last weekend, and there were warnings all over the internet about the problems of the different levels, and my understanding is that several people fell and were injured. . .”
In an email, Coral Gables City Commissioner Ralph Cabrera (a known bicyclist!) said that he will be holding a meeting about the situation.
The Bike Blog hasn’t managed get numbers for accidents on the Rickenbacker yet (the causeway is starting to seem like the county’s favorite place not to take responsibility for), but these stories and others make the Department of Public Work’s apparent nonchalance– and denial that any accidents had been reported to them – all the more inexcusable. --Isaiah Thompson