Whether you’re moving to Miami or have lived here all your life, you need to know where it is safe to bicycle. The pandemic ushered in an entirely new generation of cycling enthusiasts as more people hit the open road. As a result of its increase in popularity, bicycling in Miami has grown in recent years. And unfortunately, so have the bicycling accidents.
Cycling in Miami is dangerous. In one recent year, sixteen cyclists died in fatal accidents here in our community. The Dangerous by Design study found that Miami was the 2nd worst city in the U.S. for bicycle safety.
Across the state, it’s even worse. This puts Florida among the top risky states for cyclists in the US. According to U.S. News and World Report, Florida ranks 3rd as the most dangerous state for cyclists. However, Florida ranked first on the list of states with the highest bicycling fatalities per capita. Not a list Floridians are proud to top. Sadly, despite ongoing efforts by local biking advocates to improve safety for cyclists, the issue remains.
Where do Most Bicycle Accidents Occur in Miami?
In one recent year, 828 bicycle accidents occurred, causing more than 770 injuries to cyclists. These accidents are often catastrophic for cyclists, causing permanent injuries, disabilities, and impairment. In the blink of an eye, you may find that you can no longer work or even get back on your bike again.
While Miami’s entire county can be dangerous for cyclists, some places are inherently riskier. Florida’s Integrated Report Exchange System contains data that can help us determine which locations in Miami might be most dangerous for cyclists.
- The MacArthur Causeway
- Rickenbacker Causeway
- Southwest Miami-Dade County
- Julia Tuttle Causeway (I-195)
- Crandon Boulevard
- Key Biscayne
- Federal Highway
- Miami Beach
- Griffing Boulevard
- NE 125th St
- 8th St
- Ocean Dr
- Main Highway
- Coconut Grove
- NE 6th St
- NE 2nd Ave
- NE Miami Place
- 54th St.
- Biscayne Blvd
- NE 29th St
Rickenbacker Causeway and Bicycling Accidents
The Rickenbacker Causeway is one of the most dangerous roads for bicyclists in Miami. This causeway connects Miami to the barrier islands of Virginia Key and Key Biscayne. It is just over 5 miles long and a popular route for cyclists.
Unfortunately, it is also deadly. Since 2010, at least seven bicyclists have lost their lives in accidents on this 5-mile stretch. Two most recent fatalities in 2020 sparked safety advocates and city officials to take action.
Bike safety advocates in Miami believe that flaws in the Rickenbacker Causeway design are to blame. The Rickenbacker Causeway’s right turn-only lane is called the “drop lane.” This area is exceptionally dangerous for cyclists. Drivers who want to cross the Causeway can find themselves in this mandatory U-turn lane. This causes them to quickly try to merge back on the lanes heading toward Key Biscayne. This split-second decision to merge through traffic means that many drivers don’t take the time to watch for cyclists or pedestrians in the way. It is an accident waiting to happen and the cause of numerous fatalities in recent years.
Julia Tuttle Causeway
The Julia Tuttle Causeway is part of Interstate 195. It is a six-lane divided freeway that connects Miami to Miami Beach. With speed limits of 55 mph, this Causeway can be deadly for cyclists at all hours of the day and night. In fact, a viral YouTube video shows just how dangerous biking is on this stretch of Miami road.
FDOT has received numerous requests for a protected path for bicyclists and pedestrians but has yet to act. For now, they’re improving the shoulder of the Causeway to accommodate buses to expand and create reliable public transportation. Because of this construction, bicycling is no longer permitted across the Julia Tuttle Causeway until 2023, when the project is completed. Cyclists are now taking the Venetian Causeway, which is slower and more cycling-friendly.
Poor Biking Infrastructure in Miami-Dade County
Many of these locations where cycling accidents occur in Miami are due to poor infrastructure combined with rapid growth.
City officials have recognized the problems in Miami in recent years and have dedicated resources to improving bicycle safety and infrastructure. On Washington Avenue, officials installed car-protected bicycle lanes, a first in Miami-Dade County. On Ocean Drive, city officials closed the street entirely, making it a pedestrian and bicycle-only street.
In 2021, the city approved funding to begin working on a new Bike Master Plan. This plan will include 11 miles of colorful green bicycle lanes, more than nine bicycle repair stations, long-term bicycle parking spaces, and racks that allow cyclists to go anywhere in the city.
Recently, Miami officials improved the Venetian Causeway because of its popularity with cyclists. Over 1,500 cyclists cross the Venetian Causeway every single day. They installed “armadillos,” small speed bumps on the road separating the bike lane from the cars. These armadillos keep cars from sliding into the bike lanes. But they’re creating a new hazard for cyclists. When cyclists accidentally hit these speed bumps on the road, it can send them flying off their bikes, into traffic, or into each other. So far, these armadillos are already to blame for at least two bicycling accidents in Miami.
Why Do Miami Bicycle Accidents Occur?
Bicycling accidents often occur for the same reason other accidents occur: driver error. In fact, other drivers are typically at fault for many bicycle accidents that occur here in Miami.
Unfortunately, when drivers do not pay attention or drive recklessly, they may not see a bicyclist on the road. They may rear-end them at a stoplight or turn into their path. This can result in severe and fatal bicycling accidents.
Common causes of bicycle accidents in Miami include:
- Poor passing distance
- Driver distraction
- Reckless driving
- Drowsy and fatigued driving
- Impaired driving and cycling
- Failure to yield
- Hazardous road conditions
- Incorrect lane changes
- Lack of experience among drivers and cyclists
Understanding the most common causes of bicycle accidents is essential in improving biking infrastructure and reducing the likelihood of future accidents. It can lead to more sustainable and livable communities. By prioritizing bicycling safety, Miami officials are encouraging more people to adopt this healthy and environmentally-friendly mode of transportation, thus contributing to the sustainability of the Miami-Dade community.
By understanding the causes of bicycle accidents, city officials can identify and evaluate the factors that contribute to those accidents. This allows local authorities to design targeted interventions to address the issues causing accidents in their jurisdiction. Such interventions could include improvements to infrastructure, such as better bike lanes or traffic signals, or educational initiatives to raise awareness of safe biking practices.
Contact Our Miami Bicycle Accident Attorneys Today
Did you suffer an injury in a bicycle accident in Miami? If so, you need a bicycle accident lawyer in Miami that understands what you’re going through. You need someone who is not afraid to go up against large insurance companies to fight for you. You need Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA.
Miami injury attorney, Prosper Shaked, works quickly to help injured bicycle accident victims and their families obtain compensation for their injuries after a serious accident. For a free consultation on your case and help understanding your legal options, call Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA today at (305) 694-2676 or fill out our confidential contact form.