Last week when someone cut me off in the bike lane for no other reason than to cut me off (there was no turn he was going for, just me) I went to the police station to report him only to be told that unless he hit me or harmed me there is nothing they can do. Well karma came and got me because I was hit by a car on my bike yesterday on Jefferson Ave. and 16th Street in Miami Beach while riding in the bike lane. I flipped over my handlebars and landed on my shoulder and my head, but somehow I am completely fine and my bike was undamaged. I am very lucky, I know. The police were called, she was cited, and I rode off.
I am not satisfied with the officer's response when I tried to report the driver that tried but failed to hit me, and I certainly don't want to be hit again just so the police will respond. I could tell you many stories of all the close calls, near misses, and almost accidents as can anyone who rides around this city. While I enjoy critical mass and a big part of me relishes in the big F**K YOU message it sends to drivers, I have to agree with my urban planner friend that all it does is piss motorists off. If we want respect as cyclists we have to give it, and no amount of yelling, banging on trunks, and flipping off rude drivers will achieve that. (I am guilty of all of these things by the way.) In light of this, something needs to be done to make people aware of the bike lanes and the consequences of ignoring them without making them hate cycists.
Please join me next Saturday at 6pm in the bike lane on 16th Street in Miami Beach to create awareness of the rules of the lane. I cannot stress enough that this rally is meant to generate respect for cyclists (and skateboarders and rollerbladers for that matter) by showing respect for motorists as well. If you want to be belligerent towards drivers and block traffic, this event is not for you. I would like to create a single file human+bike barrier at the edge of the bike lane. Why single file? Because, as I said, I do not want to block traffic for motorists, and especially not cyclists. Cyclists and supporters are all welcome, bring your bike if you have one and come even if you don't. If you choose to attend, please adhere to the following guidelines:
respect traffic by not blocking intersections, driveways, or crosswalks
allow residents in and out of parking (it is a residential parking area)
be friendly to motorists
bring signs to create awareness (examples of what your sign could say: Share the road, respect bike lanes, RIP with name and birthday of a cyclist friend who has been killed by a motorist, We just want to be safe, etc. Please do not write anything accusatory towards drivers)
I personally will be at Jefferson and 16th where I was hit with a sign saying "This is where my head hit the pavement when a car hit me". Subtle, I know. I cannot stress it enough, I really want to shed a positive light on cyclists in Miami so please bring your good attitude. If we want respect we have to show it!