21 January 2015

Death In The Sunshine State

Some people think Florida's climate makes it a cycling paradise.

Me, I prefer the change of seasons.  But I admit that I don't mind going there for a few days, and that I have had many enjoyable rides in the Sunshine State.

However, I am more cautious when cycling there than I am here in New York, or just about any place else.  Florida's roads--indeed, much of the state's infrastructure--is designed around the automobile.  And most drivers--I'm not talking only about the elderly ones--are not cyclists.

So I wasn't surprised to read, a few months ago, that in 2012, as many cyclists were killed by motor vehicles in Florida as in Great Britain, a country with three times as many people and many more cyclists.  That same report said that pedestrians are killed at four times the US national rate.

Having cycled some of the causeways that connect the innumerable islands, peninsulae and other outposts with the mainland, it's easy to understand why there are so many cyclists and pedestrians have fatal encounters with motorists.  Those causeways are, too often, more like speedways:  wide, flat, and without a shoulder.  Worst of all, speed limits are enforced loosely, if at all.

So it was that yesterday, on the Rickenbacker Causeway in Key Biscayne, two cyclists were struck.  One of them was killed; the other is in the hospital.  Even by Florida standards, it was a horrific accident.  A news helicopter caught the grisly aftermath:



  1. How can the news reporter get away with the word "accident" when all evidence suggests a drunk perp ran off the road and hit two cyclists riding in one of Florida's substandard, but mandatory, bike lanes?

  2. Steve--Thank you for asking that question.

    Sometimes I really worry about the standards, or lack thereof,in mainstream journalism.