A Swedish Car Dealership on Bird Road Used the M-Path as their Private Road … No More

Those of you who regularly use the M-Path in the vicinity of the intersection of Bird Road and US 1 may have noticed that the bike path and the adjacent greenspace just south of the intersection has been used by cars to exit the Volvo dealership located close to that intersection. We have witnessed this several times in the past and heard others say the same thing.

We tried to reason with the dealership after almost having gotten hit a couple of times when their cars used the M-Path as their preferred exit route. They weren’t amenable to any arguments, including the general manager of that dealership. Since we met with Miami Dade Transit officials about the Douglas Road Station (see reports here, here and here, we have been told that speed bumps will go in), we thought we would bring this issue up as well. We were told that something would be done.

MDT is delivering on its promises. Last week we saw construction starting …

This week saw more progress. This will hopefully deter the staff at the Volvo dealership (yes, we blame them more or less fully after seeing three cars leave after closing of business because they apparently can’t be bothered to take the road) from using the M-Path as their preferred exit.

More work may have to be done given that the dealership continues to use the area adjacent to the M-Path as their parking lot and sometimes even the M-Path itself.

Thank you MDT for the work that you are doing on this issue.

PS: We would have preferred a different outcome and not spend public money on this. For one, the dealership people could have been more helpful. But when the general manager – apparently the brother of the owner – conveys you that he doesn’t care about you or what the county says then it seems that all hope is lost on that end. Increased enforcement may have helped in this case, but Miami Dade County PD would have to see this in person and ticket those individuals. We received a somewhat murky response to this suggestion.

We’re Back.

It’s been a while coming, but the South Florida Bike Coalition is back. As some of you know, we’ve been rolling behind the scenes these last several months. Over the next week, you’ll see updates on this blog introducing you to our new Board leadership and presenting our newest projects.

The South Florida Bike Coalition remains a 100% volunteer group dedicated to our mission to defend the rights of people who ride through effective advocacy, education and collaboration, thus empowering everyone to consider bicycling as a safe, comfortable option for transportation and recreation. SFBC leads and supports member-driven campaigns based on community engagement, need and feasibility. In other words, we do what we do best for more, better bicycling in South Florida. Thanks to our members, volunteers, donors, friends and member organizations who keep us going and make riding safe from Miami to the Treasure Coast.

St. Lucie BPAC Meeting Today at 3:30pm

The South Florida Bike Coalition is excited to report increased bicycling advocacy in St. Lucie County. Resident advocates in Ft. Pierce, Port St. Lucie (and to the south in Martin County), are collaborating to make their roads safer for everyone – with a particular eye toward getting more kids safely on bicycles and educating motorists about the rights of all who ride.

Learn more about what’s happening – road projects, advocacy outreach and new education campaigns – at today’s meeting of the BPAC, to be held at 3:30pm in the St. Lucie County Administration Building (Tourism Development Conference Room) at 2300 Virginia Avenue in Fort Pierce.

Thanks for all you do – Ride Safely, South Florida.


Natasha’s Ride: Saturday, February 26

Natasha Pettigrew was a friend, a Miami Law School student, a candidate for U.S. Senate from the State of Maryland, a leader in OUTLAW and other campus groups, a role model, a daughter and a bicycle commuter.

Her fellow students and friends have chosen to honor Natasha with a ride and a signature memorial fund that will support pro-bicycling programs of the South Florida Bike Coalition. “Natasha’s Ride” will keep Natasha’s dream alive for a better, safer Miami for traveling by bicycle.

Learn more about this extraordinary woman and join us a group ride around the University of Miami campus and the Cities of Coral Gables and South Miami. Donations will be requested but not required. RSVP on facebook here. Meet up, Ride out and Ceremony at 1311 Miller Road, Coral Gables, Florida.

9-10am: Registration & Breakfast
10am: Ride
11:30am: Ceremony on the Bricks

Read more about Natasha Pettigrew:

The South Florida Bike Coalition is honored to partner with Natasha’s friends and fellow students to ensure that her dream of a truly bicycle-friendly Miami and University community can continue to inspire positive change here. If you would like to get involved with Natasha’s Ride, please contact us at SFBikeCoalition@yahoo.com. Monetary contributions in her honor can be made here; please be sure to note that it is for Natasha’s Ride.

Thank you – and Ride On, South Florida.

FDOT, Bike Lanes Get Opposition

FDOT was met with resistance to their bike lane plans for Red Road at their public meeting last night. Bike lanes make sense on this corridor, which is an important connector route to existing and planned bike routes/lanes/sharrows in the cities of Miami and Coral Gables.

The Bike Coalition was represented by Eddy who wrote up a detailed report at MiamiBikeReport.com – (Thank you, Eddy!) Also, read the Miami Bike Scene re-cap here. Please take a moment to email Marta.Rodriguez@dot.state.fl.us [updated] with a message of support for FDOT’s planned bike lanes.

Keep the Bike Lane on Red Road Project- It’s important for safety and will bring me to the same businesses that don’t get it yet!

It just takes a minute for you to make a real impact on better bicycling in South Florida. Do it. Thank you.

Bike Coalition Love from Paypal, the IRS

You can now support the Bike Coalition with a tax-deductible donation through Paypal.

Your South Florida Bike Coalition has grown leaps and bound in the last 10 months and we need your help to keep that momentum going.

Some Success Stories Made Possible through Your Support:

  1. MEDIA: We have raised the profile of bicycling in South Florida in a small but significant and growing way.  We’ve been on public radio (both WLRN and WXEL) 6 times this year, including one show dedicated entirely to traveling around Broward and Palm Beach by bicycle. We also did an interview with the University of Miami’s radio station and some pro-bicycling sound bites that they continue to play. We got some national coverage in a radio piece by the Center for Public Integrity and our Brickell Campaign (with TransitMiami) was mentioned on Streetsblog. Media coverage not only gets more people thinking about bikes, it is an incredibly useful tool for getting meetings with politicians and policymakers. Improving and increasing bicycling here requires a multi-level approach (understatement).
  2. MOTORIST EDUCATION: 3 massive pro-bicycling billboards have gone up along I-95, a result of our partnership with the City of Miami. Not one penny of your contributions went to pay for the signs, but they covered our costs to pursue this campaign over several months. We’ve since got promises from the City of Miami Beach to do similar ads on their website.
  3. SHARED USE LANE MARKINGS: We convinced Gus Pego, Secretary of FDOT District 6, to consider sharrows for the first time ever! first for the Sunset Drive Project and now for Brickell Avenue. Special shout out to those of you who signed our letter and went to the Sunset Public Meeting.
  4. REPORTING: Miami-Dade’s 311 reporting system finally takes complaints from people who bicycle (they only reported motorist and pedestrian complaints until we formally requested the change). Now we are working with MiamiBikeReport to make it even easier.
  5. PUBLIC SPEAKING: We spoke across the region to groups like the U.S. Green Building Council, commissioners and police from Doral to Boca to Wilton Manors and seemingly countless FDOT officials about the need to consider and include people who bicycle in their development plans and initiatives.
  6. EXPANSION: We expanded to Martin and St. Lucie Counties after much popular demand. It was a big move, but with the leadership of the Treasure Coast Cycling Association now on our Board of Directors, we are eager to launch several new campaigns north of Palm Beach in 2011. Priorities include motorist and cyclist education.
  7. PARTNERSHIPS: We have formally partnered with a number of allied organizations and a variety of ‘non-bicycle’ groups in our ongoing effort to get more people to consider bicycling. Just some of our partners and member organizations include:

We received a small grant from the Dade Community Foundation and are hopeful to get many more in 2011 – and now we are officially a 501c3 tax-exempt organization. That means if you have donated money to us since we incorporated in 2009, your contribution is now officially tax-deductible. It also means that if your company has a Matching Gifts program, you may be able to double your contribution. We are proud to be recognized for what we do and are eager to seek more financial support from foundations and groups that support 501c3 organizations (like ours!).

You can donate right now here. We ask our supporters to consider a dollar a week for a year ($52), joining us as a basic member ($35) or, for those of you who already support one of our official partners, $25. Many of you have given just $5 and some much more than that. We also appreciate in-kind gifts and, of course, everyone who supports what we do:

Small donations mean a lot to us – and so does volunteering. There are lots of ways to share the bicycle love – what’s most important to us is that you are riding! (safely, please) Anything you do to promote better and more bicycling is positive for the Bike Coalition and the whole community. Ride on.

And this weekend – We’re bringing the first League Certified Instructor training course to Miami. We are excited to effectively expand the number of nationally certified and insured cycling teachers in South Florida by a factor of 5 – Expect to see many more educational opportunities for you, your kids, your club and your community throughout 2011 because of our long-labored success (finally!) in bringing this League of American Bicyclists course to Miami. Many of you have asked that we bring another LCI class so we’ll be working on that again, soon.

Palm Beach hosts Full Moon Bike Ride 1/21/11

Introduce yourself to Old Florida and a friend to bicycling!

Palm Beach County Parks & Recreation are hosting a Full Moon Bike Ride at Riverbend Park on Friday, January 21 from 6:30 – 8:30pm. For just $5 per person, you (and the whole family) can explore most of the popular Riverbend Trails by moonlight. This is a leisurely paced, guided ride with water breaks and time to ask local guides questions about the park and wildlife along the Loxahatchee National Wild and Scenic River. You will be expected to have lights on your bike (What? You don’t have lights? A long-lasting, sturdy set is waiting for you at your local bike shop…) and wear a helmet.

This is a great way to introduce bicycling to a friend. Bicycles are available for rent from Canoe Outfitters, (561) 746-7053. Like all the rides we promote, this is not a ‘Bike Coalition’ ride but is hosted by friends and supporters. They’ve only got space for 60 riders and will be requiring reservation. Please call JoAnna Hertz at (561)966-6686 to sign up or ask any additional questions.

An ‘Idaho Stop’ for Florida?

Across our state, people (advocates and politicians, planners and regular folk) are considering pursuing a change to state law that would allow people on bikes to yield at Stop signs rather than simply be required to stop. We’ve been asked for our support and think it could be a good idea. It works in Idaho – would it work here?

People on bikes have a better view of the road coming into intersections (no blind spots or giant metal engine buffer in front of them). They can also hear oncoming traffic better and many people who bicycle feel that coming to a complete stop only frustrates motorists behind them since it can take some people on bikes more time to regain lost momentum.

Such a law would still require a person to yield at stop signs and would still allow a cyclist to come to a complete stop. Support for this kind of change is stirring up a lot of talk among planners, advocates and FDOT officials. What do you think?

As we mentioned here recently, we do not support rolling through Stops, but we know why many of you already do it when you feel it is safe. If you think you should be allowed to roll through Stop Signs, check out this breakdown of the ‘Idaho Law‘ and let us know if this is a priority for you. That makes it a priority for us, too.

Ride Safely and please remember that whenever you ride, you are a role model for better bicycling.

Traffic Skills Worth Having

If you are not 100% confident riding alone in traffic, you will benefit from the Traffic Skills 101 Course on Sunday, December 19th in Miami. This is a one-day review of your bicycle, Florida traffic laws and all basic skills you need to get the most out of riding your bicycle in the city (riding in traffic, fixing a flat, checking your brakes, etc.)

TS101 is the first prerequisite to getting your national League Certified Instructor (LCI) credit – and your last opportunity to take your TS101 before the LCI class. It’s a fun, informative class led by LCI and Bike Coalition member David Henderson. We have posted additional information on our Facebook page here but you will have to register for the $35 class directly with David (davidh@miamidade.gov or 305-375-1647)

There are some things not covered in the class and serious cyclists should be sure to register for this and our only LCI training scheduled for 2011. That is the truly comprehensive weekend-long class that initiates those who complete it into an elite national team of top quality, insured cycling instructors. Together with your LCI, there is almost nothing left to learn! Well, there’s still this:

but we’ll leave it to South Florida’s fine clubs to give you these kinds of crucial riding tips!

Holiday Wish List for the Bike Coalition

[insert music] All We Want for Christmas/Hannukah/Festivus/Kwanzaa/New Year’s…

Some of you kind fellow friends of the bicycle have asked us what we really want this Holiday Season so here it is:

The South Florida Bike Coalition Holiday Wish List 2010

  1. Volunteer Hours: Pledge 10 hours within 3 months and get a year’s membership! We need volunteers to help us with data entry, represent us at fun rides and in clubs, brainstorm campaigns with us, make phone calls, help format educational materials or write stuff for the blog, facebook, etc. We need you to help coordinate fundraisers and speak up at public meetings and put together Membership kits and order t-shirts and… (you get the idea, there’s a lot you can do!)
  2. A Computer: It doesn’t have to be new or fancy but our office could really use a computer. Right now we are powered on volunteer laptops, which doesn’t always meet our needs. Volunteers cannot help with data entry or writing unless they have their own laptops and our Director’s vintage macbook is buckling under the weight. We run on Macs and PCs so thank you! for whatever you can offer.
  3. A Really Big Whiteboard and markers: We do a lot of brainstorming in the office and this would make Kathryn smile all over. Maybe your office is upgrading? We’ll pick it up anywhere from Homestead to Port St. Lucie.
  4. Office Stuff: We sure like envelopes, markers, post-its and pens. A Staples gift card would also be most appreciated. Maybe you have some leftover credit on your Office Depot gift card? We’d love that, too.
  5. Share the Road Signs: You can buy these and we’ll ‘loan’ them out to construction projects, with consent from cities and agencies like FDOT. The idea is to get the cities comfortable with seeing them and then convincing them to install their own permanent ones (ideally Ride Right/Drive Right signs) after work is done. They are available commercial grade. What, you didn’t know you get these off the internet? Well,

Happy Holidays from the Bike Coalition !!

BONUS: Sponsor an Ambassador for Better Bicycling! There are several leading volunteers in Miami who want to Register TODAY to become a League Certified Cyclist over January 14-16 but who are struggling with the cost of $200. They are willing to commit to give back with their certification by offering a minimum of 16 hours of free instruction back into the community. With your sponsorship, you can ensure that no one is prevented from becoming a League Certified cyclist for financial reasons. Only South Florida residents are eligible for sponsorship so you can be sure this education will remain in our community – and you’ll be able to give the gift of bike education to other South Floridians all year long! Also, please note that we need full registration of 10 people by December 24 to ensure that everyone who wants to will be able to take this class. This is the only gift with a deadline: Please contact us by December 18th (305.982.7343) at the very latest if you are able to give this gift. Thank you.