Can bikers and cars share the road?

A couple of weeks ago, a driver hit a bicyclist on the Rickenbacker Causeway, the three-mile bridge that connects the island of Key Biscayne with downtown Miami. The driver, Michele Traverso, left  the scene the accident and the biker, Aaron Cohen, died of his injuries.

While there seems to be little doubt that Traverso's behavior was egregious, Cohen's death—he's the third cyclist killed on the Rickenbacker since 2006—has yet again highlighted the need for cyclists and drivers to learn to share the road

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The Rickenbacker Causeway is preferred by byciclists and sport buffs in general for its gorgeous views. But drivers routinely go way beyond the 45 mile speed limit. As for cyclists, their lanes are clearly marked, but in mornings and weekends, it's common to encounter throngs of bikers who occupy the entire causeway, who run past red lights and who refuse to give way to cars.

I'm not a biker; I'm a driver. And I've had very close calls with bikers who don't follow the rules of traffic. On the other hand, a bicycle is considered a vehicle too, and has as much right to the road as a car. Plus, a puny bike stands no chance against a car.

Unfortunately, I think accidents will continue to happen, particularly in a heavily-used road like Rickenbacker and especially considering that Miami is home to so many newly-arrived drivers that may not be familiar with the rules of the road.

But we can all do our part. Bikers, on the one hand, should be more considerate of car drivers. Do you really need to take over the entire road, particularly when it's plain to see that your selfish behavior--no matter how legal--is tying up the entire flow of traffic? And, please don't creep up behind us or alongside side us on the wrong lane. It's likely we won't see you, and why should we? A car following traffic rules wouldn't behave like that. 

As for drivers, at the very least, adhere to the speed limit. Slow down when you see bikers anywhere on the road, including the biker lanes. Respect the bikers' right of way. And celebrate the fact that someone out there is trying to stay fit! 

Imagen vía Gagilas/Flickr