Community

May 26, 2013

Hollywood Broadwalk: Where wheels and walkers collide

There’s so much traffic on Hollywood Beach’s Broadwalk, city leaders may soon consider new ways to regulate it all.

Welcome to Hollywood Beach Broadwalk: where texting while walking, jogging too slow or even trying to cross to the sand could land you with tire tracks imprinted on your backside.

Between Segways and surreys, banana bikes and motorized Trikkes, jumping shoes and skateboards, and even just walkers and joggers — everyone is competing for a slice of the beachfront path.

Moises Cevallos learned that the hard way on a recent Sunday after three children on rented banana bikes — three-wheeled devices with a low seat — zoomed by.

“They’re going to kill me,” screamed Cevallos. “I am going to get run over by a bicycle.”

Hollywood’s Broadwalk runs for two miles on the sand. At some points, the 30-foot wide path narrows to make room for outdoor restaurant seating.

The path is split into lanes for pedestrians and bikes or other wheeled-devices. There is also a crushed shell lane for joggers.

But Broadwalk-goers say knowing where they are supposed to be is not always easy.

“They need more signs,” said Don Benson, who comes from Fort Lauderdale to Hollywood to ride his bicycle because of the view. “My bell is my best friend.”

Benson said he wears out his bell because people often walk in the bike lane.

“I think the problem is a lot of people don’t know where they are supposed to be,” he said.

Red bicycle signs are painted in the bike lane every 200 feet. There are also signs posted at every street end that explain the rules, and warn that skateboards are not allowed.

Ces Belmont said he had no idea he wasn’t allowed to ride his skateboard on the path.

He said part of the attraction of riding on the Broadwalk is swerving through the crowd.

“The fun part is dodging the people,” he said.

City Attorney Jeff Sheffel said the commission is considering new regulations on what would be allowed on the Broadwalk.

The city is looking at two options: Either eliminating all equipment with a motor from the Broadwalk (except Segways), or prohibiting careless behavior on anything with wheels.

“No matter what you do there is always going to be someone who is not happy,” Sheffel said.

Dan Cedeno, who owns Hollywood Beach Trikke, a store that rents the motorized three-wheeled scooters, jumping shoes and other equipment, said the city should be more concerned about educating beach-goers about the rules than worry about whether the piece of equipment has a motor.

“The Broadwalk is for everybody,” said Cedeno said as he towered above the pedestrians on his Trikke. “People just need to respect each other.”

Eric Seward, a manager at the store, went through all the rules with Dorian Garcia, 16, and his sister De’ Jiani Ortiz, 12, before they were allowed to take the Trikkes out on the busy Broadwalk.

“This is like a driver’s ed class,” said De’ Jiani as she learned how to stop, turn and adjust the speed.

“Your not going out there until I am sure you can do it,” Seward told the pair.

While it’s not that common to have pedestrian versus equipment accidents, it does happen, said Hollywood Police Spokesman Pablo Vanegas.

“That is not something we see frequently,” he said.

On an average weekday, police write about five citations, but on weekends, it zooms to 25. The top three citations are for animals on the Broadwalk, open containers and skateboards, Vanegas said.

Brian Gilbert, who was giving his 10-year-old daughter Sierra Gilbert a ride on a Trikke, said he hopes the city maintains the Broadwalk as a place where “you can see anything.”

“They need to find a balance between pedestrians and riders,” said Gilbert, who has been going to the beach for more 30 years and has seen the changes. “At the end of the day, there has to be something that works for everyone.”

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