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Miami-Dade County aims to provide cycling safety with new program

MIAMI – A new program is aiming to provide safer cycling environments after officials said previous incidents illustrated a need for a change.

Cycling safety has become a top priority in Miami-Dade County. Officials are hoping this latest move will help bring even greater improvements to the road. 

“The focus is on safety. That’s the number one goal,” said Miguel Soria of the Miami-Dade Department of Transportation and Public Works.

The county kicked off a short-term pilot program to help make the Rickenbacker Causeway safer for cyclists. 

Between 5:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, the county reserved the far right lanes, eastbound and westbound, just for a Peloton group ride. This stretched from the toll plaza through the Calusa Circle and ended at Calusa Park. Officers escorted participants through the busiest intersections there and back.

Officials tried it out for the first time on Tuesday and have more rides scheduled for the following dates:

  • Tuesday, July 12
  • Sunday, July 17
  • Tuesday, July 19
  • Sunday, July 24

Messaging boards were also placed along the causeway to advise drivers to use caution during these scheduled morning rides.

“I think that this is a great first step,” said cyclist Rachel Losada. “There’s a lot of improvement to be done, and there’s a lot of ideas on how to make this causeway safer and better use for everyone.”

This is the latest move Miami-Dade County officials have made toward improving safety conditions on the Rickenbacker Causeway. It comes as loved ones called for changes following the May 15 crash that claimed the lives of 49-year-old Yaudys Vera and his girlfriend Ogniana Reyes.

“This is not in a highway anymore,” said Yaudy Vera’s ex-wife, Haivyl Lopez. “There’s a lot of people coming here. This is a recreational area, so the speed needs to be lowered. Cyclists and the drivers and everybody, the whole community, needs to be conscious of the impact.”

The county has already installed new signage, traffic delineators and striping along the busy causeway. They’re hoping these trial rides will help them gather enough data to decide the next best course of action.

“At this point, we’re looking at possibly even controlling access with regards to the number of lanes throughout the Rickenbacker, but we really haven’t gotten to that point where that decision has been made,” said Soria.

Most of all, their biggest goal is to save lives.

“Now we just want people to get used to the busyness, to cyclists. Motorists have a responsibility to pay attention while they’re driving and so do cyclists,” said Miami-Dade Police Lt. Luis J. Sierra, “and together, with the help of Miami-Dade Police Department, it will be a beautiful, beautiful thing.”

Since the rides occur early in the morning, Miami-Dade County does not expect them to significantly impact traffic in the area.