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Widow of cyclist Aaron Cohen gives emotional talk at MADD event

 

bbrasch@MiamiHerald.com

Patty Cohen spoke with a tremble in her voice to a room of about 200 Thursday night. She was talking about her husband, Aaron Cohen, a bicyclist who had been killed by a driver on the Rickenbacker Causeway. Cohen spoke at the Rusty Pelican Restaurant, 3201 Rickenbacker Causeway, at the Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s annual ceremony to honor those who work to help stop drunk driving.

Michele Traverso was a 26-year-old student when he was sentenced to one year in jail for the hit-and-run that killed Cohen, a 35-year-old car dealer, on Feb. 15, 2012. He left behind Patty Cohen and two children. Though Traverso wasn’t tested for being drunk, Cohen said, “If he had been tested at the time, I know the results would have been different, as is the case in situations like these.”

Traverso didn’t turn himself in until 18 hours after the crash.

During the trial, prosecutors stated that Traverso had just left a Coconut Grove bar, where he had three gin drinks, when he hit Cohen and Enda Walsh, Cohen’s cycling partner who survived.

Because of Cohen’s death, the 2010 killing of Christophe LeCanne, and many other accidents on the Rickenbacker Causeway, politicians have taken notice.

Gaspar Miranda, an assistant public-works director, told the Miami Herald that the county is looking into providing protected lanes for bicyclists on the bridge to Key Biscayne.

Previously, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez had called the new paths “prudent” in light of the deaths and injuries.

Gimenez also pledged to have separation between pedestrians and bicyclists on both sides of the bridge. But so far, the causeway still has no separation between the cars that whiz past the vulnerable cyclists.

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