For at least several months we’re all going to need extra care in biking or driving the Rickenbacker Causeway. The lane restrictions applied today on the Bear Cut Bridge — that’s the one just east of the UM’s Rosenstiel School — have put both outbound and inbound motor traffic on the south side of the bridge. Drivers headed toward Key Biscayne can barely avoid driving in the bike lane. For the time being, the county is asking outbound cyclists to use the barrier-protected multi-use path instead of the bike lane. Strong and skilled cyclists probably will be OK on the road as usual but should understand that impatience may surface at any time. Here’s our advice:
- Use extra care at all times on or near the Bear Cut Bridge.
- After dark and until an hour after sunrise, do not bike the bridge in the motor lanes.
- If you ride the side path, accept that you’re likely to meet or overtake pedestrians. Those walkers and joggers have the right-of-way and it’s a cyclist’s obligation by law and courtesy to yield to them. You’ll also encounter slower or less-skilled cyclists on the path; treat them well.
- Take extra effort to be polite to motorists. The lane restrictions are as uncomfortable for them as for runners or cyclists.
Green Mobility Network is exploring with county authorities how to make the bridge more passable for us all while pending construction issues are sorted out. We understand that it’s likely to be several months before the expected repairs to the old part of the bridge, built in the 1940s, can begin. Please let us know of your experiences out there. Your information will be a big help.
Experienced Florida cyclists know that our traffic law does allow a cyclist to “take the lane” when necessary for safety. In a case like this that means you don’t have to hug the barrier as you go across. But if you can’t ride 20 mph you’d best take the path. The Florida Legislature slightly amended the law in bicyclists’ favor during 2012. The provisions that take effect this week are described at Commute Orlando.
There’s excellent background on why this traffic disruption is necessary in The Miami Herald.