The escorted ride had the opposite experience, reported the city of Miami’s bike planner, Collin Worth, who said about 20 riders enjoyed “great compliance with motorists yielding, nice pace, good conversation, no illegal parking or cursing at us. Sounds like a tale of two commutes.’’
But there’s still a lesson here: Commuting by bike in Miami is certainly doable, but it’s not simple, and it sure doesn’t feel safe, though it’s gotten a lot better as cyclists proliferate. (Mind you, I’ve been riding a bicycle on the mean streets of Miami for almost 30 years, and I’ve been hit by cars several times, the worst collision sending me to Jackson Memorial Hospital for three months, but that was 25 years ago.)
If Mayor Gimenez and his colleagues are really serious about encouraging lots more people to cycle for transportation as casually as they now drive to the office, they have some work to do. It will happen only when people feel it’s easy, safe and convenient. Only the truly determined will do it now.
For starters, the MPath must be substantially repaved, better maintained and those crossings substantially improved — along the lines of a blueprint that’s gathering dust somewhere at the county transit department (I know because I wrote about it when it was designed).
It also requires a substantial public education campaign, focused primarily on motorists, too many of whom remain dangerously misinformed about cyclists’ rights and ignorant about how to share the road properly — but also for those who want to cycle in the city but break every rule in the book and endanger themselves because no one has taught them how to do so safely.
And, for Heaven’s sake, tell your work crews to keep their trucks out of the bikeways.