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Call For Bicycle Safety At Ride Of Silence On Rickenbacker Causeway

KEY BISCAYNE (CBSMiami) -- There's a call for everyone to be careful on South Florida roads as hundreds of bicyclists are gathering to take part in the 20th Annual International Ride of Silence.

Coincidentally, it takes part as a scheduled event during May's National Bicycle Month just days after 48-year-old Yaudys Vera and 46-year-old Ogniana Reyes were struck and killed by a Jeep as they were riding their bicycles just before 5 pm on Sunday on the Rickenbacker Causeway.

While it has not been determined how this accident happened, Miami-Dade's Interim Chief Public Safety Officer Freddy Ramirez tells CBS4's Peter D'Oench.

"To lose lives like this is really tragic and we all need to work together for education and enforcement and putting things in place to keep bike riders safe. Mayor Cava released funds so we can put barricades in vulnerable areas. My advice is for everyone to be aware of the community and be courteous towards each other and vehicles and bike riders. This is all about the sanctity of life and I am confident our police departments including the City of Miami will come up with solutions. Please be mindful there are distracted drivers out there but we must work together as a team to avoid these terrible tragedies."

Ramirez, the former Miami-Dade Police Director, was planning to be one of the scheduled speakers before the Ride of Silence where people assembled at the Chandon Park Marina to ride two loops of 2.5 and 5.5 miles.

Sue Kawalerski is the manager of Bike 305, a Miami-Dade Parks Department countywide initiative to promote safe-cycling practices for residents and tourists. The event is aimed at raising awareness and remembering those riders who have been injured or lost their lives in accidents.

Kawalerski said, "What we hope to do is raise awareness to be respectful of everyone using the road.

That means drivers need to respect the rights of those on the road and cyclists have a personal responsibility towards the rights of drivers. We want to make sure that when people get behind the wheel of a car or the handle bars of a bicycle that they are conscious of their surroundings and very alert to them. We are collectively saying we need to work together and save lives."

Among some possible solutions, the Miami-Dade Parks Department is creating an off-road trail network to protect cyclists from crashes.

On Wednesday morning, there was another accident involving a bicyclist who was riding in pre-dawn darkness around 530 a.m. and who was struck by a car at S.W. 1112th Ave. and 179th St. The bicyclist was rushed to the hospital in critical condition and police say the driver was hospitalized as well.

It's not clear what caused that accident.

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