The idea of jumping on a bike in Miami is so inherently un-Miami that the thought alone is enough to make most people shudder. In addition to dodging construction sites and potholes, there’s the fact that the blistering heat and oppressive humidity might actually turn you into a puddle, Alex Mack-style.
And as bad as Miami drivers might be, they’re infinitely worse when you’re sitting on top of two wheels instead of four. Last year alone, cyclists were hit 900 times in Miami-Dade County. And a new map compiled by personal injury lawyers Mark Kaire and David Heffernan shows exactly where those crashes are happening.
Kaire and Heffernan, both avid cyclists who have represented dozens of injured bicyclists over the years, say their firm put together the map using data from Florida’s Integrated Report Exchange System from 2012 to 2016.
“We’re trying to make people aware of the danger of biking in Miami and target some of the most dangerous intersections where there’ve been a lot of accidents,” Kaire says.
Kaire had an idea of where recreational cyclists were likely to be hit — mostly Key Biscayne and parts of South Beach — but he was surprised to see a fairly even distribution of crashes across the county, suggesting that many more victims used their bikes for transportation rather than leisure.
Despite the fact that crashes happen in almost every part of the county, the data shows clusters at five particularly dangerous intersections. Based on reports, the worst intersection in the county is actually in North Miami at Griffing Boulevard and NE 125th Street, where seven people were hit on their bikes.
Rounding out the top five intersections are Eighth Street and Ocean Drive in South Beach, NE Second Avenue and NE Sixth Street in downtown Miami, NE Miami Place and NE 54th Street in Little Haiti, and Biscayne Boulevard and NE 29th Street in Edgewater.
“I guess the surprising thing is to see that it’s really spread out everywhere,” Heffernan says.
Both lawyers say they’d like to see Miami-Dade cities become bicycle-friendlier by doing things like adding bike lanes. Though some of the injured cyclists failed to wear helmets or have the proper safety gear, poorly designed roads also contribute to the problem, Kaire says.
“We’ve got Citi Bike stands throughout the city, and while it sounds great, we don’t have the infrastructure,” he says. “We lack bike lanes, bike paths, and awareness by motorists.”
Heffernan says he’d like to see Miami get to a place where there’s mutual respect between drivers and cyclists, even though the map is evidence that the two sides don’t always look out for each other on the road.
“We’ve got a long way to go. There are a lot of drivers that hate cyclists and vice versa,” he says. “But the law applies the same. We want to heighten awareness hopefully on both sides.”
*This article was originally published on The Miami New Times by Jessica Lipscomb and can be found here.