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Improvements for cyclist safety on Miami-Dade’s most dangerous roads: NBC 6 South Florida
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Improvements for cyclist safety on Miami-Dade’s most dangerous roads: NBC 6 South Florida

Florida has one of the highest pedestrian and cyclist death rates in the country, so it’s fitting that a transportation conference focused on making streets safer is now taking place in Miami.

The attendees, transportation officials from several cities, rode bicycles from downtown over the Rickenbacker Causeway Bridge and back.

Of course, the Rickenbacker is a mecca for cyclists and joggers, and it can be dangerous. From 2018 to 2022, there were 21 car-on-bicycle crashes, 16 of which resulted in serious injuries, and two people were killed. The province has improved safety, including more visible bike lanes and lower speed limits.

Cyclists love the Rickenbacker, but are also afraid of it. NBC6 asked a cyclist if he feels safe there.

“No, I’m just riding in,” Juan Hernandez explained, pointing to the off-road path instead of the bike path on the causeway itself. “Yes, I used to go out on the streets, all the way to the end, but after many accidents, including deaths, I don’t drive there anymore.”

“I feel safe like everywhere else here in Miami, which is not very safe,” said cyclist Tom Sanchez.

Sánchez was asked if he thinks the province has done everything it can to make the Rickenbacker safe for cyclists.

“They made changes, but after people died, you know? That was necessary for it to happen,” Sánchez said.

Thanks to a federal government grant, safety improvements for pedestrians and cyclists are increasing at the province’s most dangerous intersections and roadways. Among the group cycling from downtown to Virginia Key was Polly Trottenberg, the United States Deputy Secretary of Transportation.

“You have such a beautiful city, you are on the water, beautiful parks, but it can often be very difficult to get around on foot or by bike. If you just did more of those connections, I think this city would become much more livable,” said Trottenberg.

As part of the Biden infrastructure bill, the feds are giving Miami-Dade County $16 million for security improvements.

“Thanks to federal dollars we’ve received, we’ve rezoned some of the most dangerous areas where we’ve had the most accidents,” said county Mayor Daniella Levine-Cava.

Some of that money will be used to train drivers.

“Help people understand that they need to be a lot more aware of pedestrians and cyclists and just drive slower,” said Eulois Cleckley, the county’s transportation director.