A cyclist died on the roadways in South Florida again, this time on the Julia Tuttle Causeway. Some shrug, some find biking there at night to be unacceptable, some blame the drivers involved and maybe with good reason. However, there is a party to this tragedy that bears a large amount of the blame: the local Florida Department of Transportation.
FDOT apparently sees no problem putting a bike lane next to a multilane highway in one of the most dangerous areas of the country. While permissible, this was never a good idea. The biking community pointed this out to FDOT prior to construction. There is ample space along the causeway for a protected bike lane, but FDOT not only chose the cheapest option, but one that cyclists told it was extremely dangerous.
It is time for FDOT to realize what other agencies elsewhere have long realized: Infrastructure needs to be built with the safety of all users in mind and not on the basis of moving cars as quickly as possible. As long as FDOT refuses to do so, Miami will remain one of the most dangerous places in this country to ride a bike.
Eli Stiers, Miami
Markus Wagner, associate professor of law, University of Miami