A cyclist who says a Miami-Dade bus driver turned his Saturday morning spin into a ride from hell is suing the county for negligence.
The surveillance camera on the Miami-Dade County Transit bus shows 42-year-old Pier Raccuglia riding down Biscayne Blvd. on the morning of Jan. 3, 2009.
The bus trails behind him for several blocks, until Raccuglia passes by the door.
Then suddenly, a screeching halt. In the grainy video, it appears as if the Kendall resident gets sideswiped by the moving vehicle.
The bus driver, identified as Monique Yvette Warner in court documents, exclaims it was the cyclist who caused the accident on purpose.
"He came into the bus. I didn't hit him," Warner says. "He came up...He was looking for an accident!"
"Why would I do that on purpose?" argues Raccuglia. "I'm lucky to be alive."
"She was angry at Mr. Raccuglia for kicking her bus, according to her," contends Raccuglia's attorney, Mark Kaire.
Moments before the accident near Northeast 9th St., the bus driver honks at Raccuglia as he turns south onto Biscayne Blvd. He denies kicking the bus after that encounter and claims the driver never approached him to apologize as he was lying in the street.
Raccuglia is now suing the county for negligence. A jury will decide how much money, if any, he should be awarded, for pain and suffering. Raccuglia says he was immobile for five months due to a fractured foot.
The avid cyclist insists, "this is not about me, but about educating the public about sharing the road."
Raccuglia and fellow cyclists are hoping to create awareness about a Florida law that requires drivers to share the road with bicycles.
"There's a law that says they have a right to use the roadway, and likewise cyclists have to obey the rules of the road, if they do that, we can coexist peacefully," said cyclist Lee Marks.
A representative with Miami Dade County Transit tells NBC Miami it does not comment on ongoing litigation. However, the agency did say the driver was employed by the county since April 2003. Her driving record was not released.
The county says bus drivers are trained to respect bicyclists' rights and are informed about Florida's bicycle laws.