It costs drivers $1.50 to get onto the Rickenbacker Causeway. Should bicyclists have to pay to get on the causeway, too?
One Key Biscayne Village councilmember has floated that idea, as officials look into a physical barrier to separate drivers from the bicycle lane.
Bike enthusiast Craig Chester says the answer to making the causeway safer for cyclists is a slower speed limit.
“We think a toll is a tax on physically activity, that you're actually penalizing people for coming out, riding a bicycle for transportation, for health, to enjoy this lovely scenery,” Chester said.
Key Biscayne Councilmember Jim Taintor tossed out the idea of bicyclists paying a toll to help build a barrier.
Currently, vibration strips warn drivers that drift into the bike lane on the Rickenbacker. But more must be done, Mayor Frank Caplan said.
“We’ve got to find a solution. The condition could be safer, it could be more convenient, it needs to be ultimately convenient to all of the users, but it needs to be safe,” he said.
Village officials say that the barrier could be paid for with the existing Rickenbacker Causeway toll, or the county’s one-cent transportation tax.
Aaron Cohen was the most recent fatality on the causeway, which has an expressway feel to it. He was killed in a hit-and-run crash while his riding his bike there on Feb. 15.
“When I'm coming down these bridges and cars are flying by me at 55, 60 miles per hour, it's certainly a bit unnerving, and I would really appreciate a 2- or 3-foot buffered lane and have cars passing me at a civil speed,” Chester said.
But the mayor thinks slower speeds would not prevent collisions.
“Frankly they were a function of drunk drivers. Speed limits at 5 a.m. in the morning coming home from the clubs is not going to solve that problem,” Caplan said.