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Monday, April 17, 2017

Early morning cyclists

A Grapevine commenter writer wants bikes off the road because "bikes can’t maintain the speed LIMIT" as if LIMIT means minimum speed. Good Grief. That video was shot Sat at 7:30 am in front of Cocowalk. Hardly anyone is out of their house except cyclists.

Howard Srebnick

EDITOR'S NOTE: I have to admit I was surprised by the comments that accompanied the bicycle video I posted on Saturday. I had waited weeks, maybe months to get the right moment to film this. I post most of this stuff on Instagram, which I call, "feeding the beast," because it's like you have to constantly post there. And hey, it beats selfies. On Instagram people loved it, same with Facebook, I guess because you can't be anonymous there.

This was early in the morning, Saturday morning, and it's the same on Sunday morning. I venture to say that most if not all of the complaining comments were from people who are not up or out at 7:30 am on weekend mornings. If you are, I don't see you out on the street, as there is not much foot traffic and hardly any car traffic. I just wanted to say that yes, at times groups of bicyclists are annoying on the streets, but my purpose of posting the video was because I think it's a fun, Coconut Grove thing to see all the cyclists pass through the village early on weekend mornings. It's a rite of passage. No pun intended. I thought I was posting something fun, it wasn't intended to rile people up.

It sort of reminds me of the AirBnB situation where people came out to speak at City Hall about the issue and then the City called out those people and said now they knew who to sue and go after because they exposed themselves by speaking up. Not my intention by filming the cyclists. Far from it. I love the early morning cyclists. It's one of the last Grovey things we have left. Let's enjoy it before we are all paved over and turned into Brickell South.

For linking to this one story, just click on the time it was posted & just this story will open for sharing - only through social media. Not copying and pasting.


Anonymous Robert Sullivan said...

Since I started the comments on the video, I will reply to the continuing discussion here. First, I would like to emphasize that I like the social and healthy atmosphere that the cyclists cultivate and I am not one of the ones who advocate that they should stay off the road if they can't maintain the speed limit...not at all. I simply chose to finally state my objection when the opportune video was posted. I used it as just ONE example of numerous in which cyclists choose to not follow the law when it suits them regardless of the inconvenience and frustration that they cause for drivers. The time of the day is irrelevant for the general point that I am making and whether they can maintain the speed limit is also irrelevant. I am talking about opportunistically choosing when they will totally disregard the law and when the laws are suddenly sacred when a driver doesn't follow them.

Here is another example that causes extreme frustration for drivers which sometimes leads to aggressive driving and disdain for cyclists, and it has nothing to do with the time of day, because it happens regularly: A driver on Main Highway/Ingraham Highway/Old Cutler Road route waits patiently as he is southbound behind a cyclist or two (or 20) and finally is able to safely pass them. The problem comes when he is stopped behind the line of cars at the light at Douglas Road and those cyclists start passing him on his right side and it starts all over again when the light turns green. Out of frustration, the driver is not quite as careful when passing the same cyclists the second time and compromises their safety when a marginal opportunity to pass presents itself. I have seen this scenario play out many times and I have to admit to feeling the frustration and the urge to drive more aggressively to get back in front of the cyclists.

A serious encounter that I experienced was actually at the Red Road light while I was approximately four cars back. When the traffic ahead of me proceeded on the green light, I followed. Suddenly, a cyclist yelled at me through my (open) right rear passenger window and banged his fist on the side of my car! I didn't see him and had no idea that he was passing me on my right side. I made the left onto Red Road and pulled over to the side. He approached me screaming about how I am supposed to stay three feet away from him. What? I didn't close the distance between us and I certainly wasn't passing HIM.

Something similar happened to me in the North Grove at an intersection on 22nd Ave. In this case, the cyclist chose not to stop at the stop sign and started to pass me on the right, taking advantage of the crossing traffic stopping for me. Again, he was pissed that we were so close and I thought that he was going to become violent as angry as he was.

These are just a few examples of how cyclists conveniently cite the law and berate drivers who violate them, yet have total disregard for the law and common courtesy towards drivers. Again, the time of day and whether cyclists can maintain the speed limit have nothing to do with my opinion. But their actions don't lend to earning the respect on the roads that they keep asking for.

April 17, 2017 9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robert Sullivan has the right to present his concerns for traffic safety. But venting them here is probably not going to achieve the results that he desires. He might have more success if he takes his recommendations to various bike clubs, meets the 7:30 group Sat and Sunday at Cocowalk and Cocoplum Circle, champions bike safety at bike shops, Robert Is Here and the KB Oasis. He would achieve the best results by getting on a bike to personally demonstrate better cycling etiquette through his good example. In that way, he may really have some chance of making a difference for the benefit of our community. Perhaps his efforts would also be recognized in Coconut Grove and earn him our gratitude and the most coveted “Golden Coconut”.

April 17, 2017 10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous (hey,that's my name too): Mr. Sullivan in no way deserved that, and your response is merely written evidence of the same attitude he thoughtfully described in his comment.

April 17, 2017 4:13 PM  
Blogger Sunny McLean said...

I don't see why it should be up to Robert Sullivan to visit the various bike clubs to talk about safety. Shouldn't the bike clubs be addressing that themselves and shouldn't they be the ones to check with the public to see how well they are doing? Sharing the road comes with accountability.

I AM out on the road early in the morning, between 5:30 and 6am going to my workout and between 7:30 - 8am returning. I can verify that similar situations described by Mr. Sullivan exist then as well. I have some scary & incredible scenarios to tell too.

Having said all that, we don't (yet) have wonderful bikeways here in Miami. That means that sharing the road is a necessity. Sharing means equal responsibility for safety, obeying traffic laws and courtesy for fellow riders and drivers.

April 17, 2017 4:36 PM  
Anonymous Bill Kunz said...

I love riding my bike all over the Grove. I ride almost every day. I ride by myself or with one other person,my wife. To the grocery or CVS or just to look at peacocks and blooming trees and smell the air under the canopy. And I know there are cars out there. I keep clear because my 10 lb bike and I weigh about the same as the bumper on a Hummer and a collision would be really bad news for me. Now I also know about those bikers that push the envelope ,behave rudely ,take poorly considered risks. If you are one of those you might reconsider your approach to sport,exercise and leisure . Yeah,you might give the universal hand sign from under that big front tire and if that's what blows your skirt up then by all means go for it. But the stain you leave on the asphalt will wash away and your rude gestures will be forgotten and people will only remember the dope that brought a lighter than air bicycle to a train wreck.

April 17, 2017 5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've often wondered why many bikers insist on riding to the front of the traffic line on the Grove's narrow two lane roads. Can someone out there explain the thought process behind snaking your bike through a line of cars at a red light knowing that you plan to travel at least 15mph slower than them when the light changes? Seems a bit like poking the bear to me, but maybe I'm missing something?

April 17, 2017 5:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In some USA cities and most bike friendly parts of the world, there's a bike box painted on the road in front of the stopped cars; you are expected to move to that designated area before the lights change. The research shows that is safer for cyclists because now car drivers can see them better. If there is no bike box, then being visible is still the safest option.

Tips for Successful Cycling

Courtesy of CyclingSavvy

The rules of the road are for everyone. After all roads and bikes where here long before cars.

•Always ride the same direction as traffic.
•Yield to traffic before entering a road.
•Yield to overtaking traffic when changing lanes.
•Obey all traffic control devices.

Integrate in the intersections.

•Always use the lane that serves your destination.
•Turn left from left turn lanes.
•Never ride straight in a right-turn-only lane.
•When approaching an intersection in a wide lane or a bike lane, merge left into the main traffic flow or lane.
•The crosswalk is the WORST place to cross a busy intersection.

Ride Big.

Most close passing is a result of the motorist thinking he can squeeze past without changing lanes. Make sure a driver can clearly see that his car won’t fit within the same lane.

Most roads have lanes that are not wide enough to be safely shared by cars and bikes operated side-by-side. You are allowed the full use of a lane that is not wide enough to share. Communicate that the lane is not wide enough for a motorist to squeeze past you by riding far enough left that there clearly is not room for the width of a car between you and the lane line.

Riding big makes you visible and encourages motorists to give generous passing clearance. It also gives you someplace to go if a motorist does come too close.


You are part of the system, you need to be predictable to others. Communication makes you predictable. Signal turns and lane changes. When motorists know what you want to do, most of them will try to help you out!

Be mindful of your surroundings.

The most common reasons to leave a bike lane.

Markings on the roadway are static. Traffic is dynamic. As a result, bike-specific markings sometimes put you in the wrong place. You MUST take your cues from the whole environment. Never let paint think for you.
•Make sure you are visible to crossing and turning traffic. This often means leaving a bike lane and moving to the left side of the general use lane.
•Never ride within 5ft of a parked car. This area is called the “door zone.” A suddenly-opened car door can be deadly. Some bike lanes are striped entirely within the door zone.
•Passing a queue of stopped traffic on the right can expose you to many crash hazards. Sometimes it’s better just to wait in the queue.
•Never, ever pass a large truck on the right!

April 17, 2017 6:49 PM  
Anonymous swlip said...

Of course these people intentionally block traffic. Their right to engage in virtue-signaling clearly outweighs your need to get to work or your kids' school, on-time.

April 20, 2017 6:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those folks that are so displeased with a few cyclists riding through a cross walk on Saturday at 7:30 am, they must truly be stressed out when Critical Mass takes place the last Friday of each month and thousands of folks on bikes block miles of intersections for several hours. Perhaps that is a real concern worth addressing.

April 20, 2017 6:40 PM  

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