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Miami-Dade Commissioners Propose Safety Measures After Tragedy On Rickenbacker Causeway

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Miami-Dade Commissioners are brainstorming about measures to make the Rickenbacker Causeway safer for bicyclists after a tragedy this past weekend that claimed two lives.

Police say 48-year-old Yaudys Vera and 46-year-old Ogniana Reyes were struck and killed by a Jeep as they were riding their bicycles on the Causeway just before 5 p.m. on Sunday and were headed to the William Powell Bridge and towards Key Biscayne.

Police say it is still not clear how this happened but they were in an open area where there is green paint and rumple strips but they had not entered the path on the bridge that is protected by a concrete barrier.

Miami-Dade Commissioner Racquel Regalado proposes one potentially life-saving plan.

She told CBS4's Peter D'Oench, "We can also put up Jersey barriers. They are not appropriate for every area but can be in high-traffic areas where they are necessary. We hope that they can come back to us with a plan in the next few days. No more talking. We need action immediately and a long-term plan."

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said, "It's very expensive. There is disagreement in the bicycle community. Some people like barriers and some don't. This could involve a retrofitting of the Causeway. It's not only important that we look at infrastructure but that we also look at safety and enforcement and make sure that everyone is adhering to the rules of the road."

Regalado has also heard about concerns raised by some beleaguered drivers with packs of bicyclists crowding the Causeway and causing problems for drivers sometimes during rush hour trying to take their children to school or navigate through the Causeway. Regalado said that was not a factor in this past weekend's tragedy.

But one beleagured driver, Andrea Ruiz, shared video from the causeway with CBS4 and said, "There have been many times where I have been surrounded on both sides and the idea is we should be sharing the road. Sometimes people honk their horn or swerve to get out of the way."

Miami Police spokesman, officer Mike Vega, looked at the video and said, "Everyone has to adhere to the rules of the road. This is not to say that anyone is more at fault but we have received complaints about bicyclists taking up two lanes or taking up whole lanes on the left when they should be in the right lane designated for them and not stopping at red lights. We all need to be conscious of safety."

Vega said the driver in this latest accident has still not been identified but has received four citations.

The driver stayed at the scene and was not arrested.


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