Wed June 25, 2014
Miami Police Department Addresses "Critical Mess" Biking Event
A monthly group bike ride in Miami may face police sanctions during its next event.
Critical Mass brings thousands of cyclists on the last Friday of every month as a way to promote safe cycling.
The Miami Police Department thinks riders are not following state laws and make the roads dangerous for both cyclists and vehicle drivers.
“We’ve gone from bicyclists not having a safe roadway because of the vehicles,” says Police Chief Manuel Orosa, "to now having the bicyclists take over the roadway and the vehicles are stopped there for 45 minutes. We have to reach some type of happy medium.”
Orosa says Critical Mass has become a "critical mess," and it needs to reorganize itself to make the roads safe for riders and drivers.
Ken Bureski bikes all around Miami-Dade County on a regular basis.
The first time he went to a Critical Mass event there were only 12 cyclists. After that, he has attended almost every Critical Mass ride. He says "it is the one time that I can ride down the roads in Miami without fearing for my life.”
Bureski went to the news conference about regulating Critical Mass riders held by the Miami Police Department. He thinks the police are forgetting the core issue of the event.
“Roads are unsafe and I put my life in my hands every time I get on my bike,” he says. “He is victimizing the victims saying you need to do this.”
Orosa thinks otherwise.
“I want to put it out there for the people that ride in critical mass,” says Orosa. “You need to ride safely, if you think this is a sanction by the police department, you are mistaken.”
If the event fails to do this, police will start citing riders who break traffic rules. This applies to vehicle drivers too.
“What I don’t want is an incident of road rage,” Orosa says.
The Police Chief said officers may or not may attend the next Critical Mass event—it will be a surprise. But Bureski suspects they will. He says he will be riding this Friday and live streaming the event from his bike.
Listen to the story:
Riders On the Road