Tuesday’s first run of a pilot program to escort groups of cyclists went smoothly, according to Key Biscayne police and Miami-Dade transportation officials.
“I haven’t heard any complaints,” said Key Biscayne Police Chief Frank Sousa of the two-hour peloton test. “The traffic was flowing, everything was smooth.”
Miami-Dade Police Department motorcycle units escorted several groups of riders, with officers in front and back of columns of cyclists using the main part of the roadway. The operation went on as planned, even though a group of 25 Cuban migrants were being processed by other officers near the south side of Crandon Park.
“Our goal is to see how for the next two weeks this goes,” said Sandra Antonio, a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation and Public Works. She said officials will review today’s ride later this week and consider possible changes. The next test is Sunday.
Junior Peña, with the group 305 Cycle, said about 60 of their cyclists rode in the early morning test, but he said the peloton attracted other riders as the morning wore on.
“That allowed for others to jump on, more than normally do, because they felt safer.” He said the fact that officers blocked U-turns was “amazing.”
Going forward, he said the County could safely escort riders with a single pair of motorcycle units bringing up the rear of the pelotons. He said reduced manpower might make the escorted rides more sustainable. Through July 6, the cost of extra Miami-Dade County Police Department enforcement has been $96,822, said a spokesman, Det. Argemis Colome.
“I didn’t hear any honking,” he said of the morning’s ride, which did not appear to cause some of the traffic snarls that have long infuriated Key Biscayne motorists. “I want both sides to be happy,” Peña said.
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Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.