Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cyclist Killed On Rickenbacker Causeway

A male cyclist was killed shortly after 8am this morning by the driver of a silver Volkswagen on the Bear Cut Bridge. The bicyclist was riding in the bike lane heading into Key Biscayne when a motorist fatally struck him and kept on going, witnesses outside La Carreta heard a loud sound and spotted a speeding vehicle dragging a blue Cannondale road bicycle while blowing through a red light about 2.5 miles from where the cyclist was struck. (see map below)

The driver, Carlos Bertonatti, was apprehended by police near his residence in Key Biscayne. A group of cyclists went to where the police were and saw him detained in the back of the squad car. Some witnesses at the scene are saying the driver appeared intoxicated and based on the fatal injuries to the cyclist and heavy damage to the motorist's vehicle it's apparent he was exceeding the speed limit.

Below is a photo of cyclists trying to help the victim, a photo of the damaged vehicle, and one of the wrecked bicycle after it was dislodged from underneath the vehicle.


Photos by Andre Quirino

An ambulance took approximately 20-22 minutes to arrive from when the initial 911 call was made at 8:04am. Police explained to the witnesses that Village of Key Biscayne Fire Rescue had no jurisdiction on the causeway. Dispatchers were deciding whether City of Miami or Miami-Dade would come while the cyclist laid there dying.



Key Biscayne is the most popular cycling route in Miami, cyclists are supposed to feel safe in this area yet tragedies like this occur. This is very unfortunate and sad. The problem concerning motorists driving while intoxicated, texting, talking on the phone and speeding needs to be better addressed in South Florida. All this makes me very upset.

My condolences to the family and friends of the cyclist.

[Update 1/18]
The victim has been identified as Christophe Le Canne, a 44-year-old cyclist and family man from South Miami.

53 comments:

  1. This is awful. Just more proof that educated drivers (not just bike lanes) will make the streets safer. My heart goes out to the family of the victim.

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  2. oh my god, this is tragic & shocking.. the fire departments should be ashamed of themselves, really sickening

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  3. We need to figure out this jurisdiction bullshit! This is the second time Rescue takes forever to get to a bike accident because procedures here seem to be a bit cloudy which leaves the dispatcher with dink in their head. This time the injuries were fatal. Fucking kid is lucky some of these lycra-wearing angry sob's didn't get to him first! Need to find out who got hit.

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  4. This tragedy would have been avoided if the police who patrol Rickenbacker had done their job. I am assuming the driver was speeding prior to hitting the cyclist. Why wasn't the driver stopped? I drive on Rickenbacker at 45 and it feels like i am driving at 25 because so many cars pass me by. And has anyone ever heard of using a blinker? Mickey Mouse law enforcement...but they want life time pensions.

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  5. I'd say we organize a rally to fight against this jurisdiction BS. This cyclist would've had a better chance would the KB fire rescue been sent in on the call.

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  6. tag correction. Shouldn't be accident, should be murder.

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  7. Wow I am Shocked. Condolence to the family and friends.

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  8. How could the cops not know who's in charge of that stretch of road, there's never car accidents out there?

    The last line of the report says 'Hold for immigration'. So he had no license, was drunk and is an illegal immigrant?

    Super douche:
    http://twitter.com/BERTONATTI
    http://www.myspace.com/carlosbertonatti

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  9. "We need to figure out this jurisdiction bullshit! This is the second time Rescue takes forever to get to a bike accident because procedures here seem to be a bit cloudy which leaves the dispatcher with dink in their head."

    This is what the county decided would be the best level of service for visitors in this area when it reduced the fire rescue services at the closest fire station to this incident. You get what you pay for. Contact the county manager if it upsets you so much or Herman Lorenzo the fire department director 786-331-5001.

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  10. This is just horrible.

    Fire rescue needs to respond regardless of jurisdiction; whoever is closest, goes. They bear part of the blame for the cyclist's death as much as the drunk driver.

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  11. Just got this from The Sun-Sentinel.

    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/breakingnews/fl-miacyclist-struck-20100118,0,6439874.story

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  12. This is such a tragic story. I cannot believe when time is of essence no one could come sooner to his rescue. May he rest in peace.
    A lesson for all of us to try and push MIAMI DADE COUNTY a secure riding place. This has to be the only city in the U.S. that take cyclists for granted.

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  13. Hi guys... the jurisdiction thing is a bit hazy... when I was organizing the ride of silence..(http://www.rideofsilence.org/main.php) the past few years it was explained to me that the CITY of Miami has jurisdiction until the end of the big bridge and then the county has jurisdiction till the City of Key Biscayne line. However, there is supposed to be cooperation between the various governments..

    While I have seen police speed traps on Key Biscayne (pulling over cars AND cyclists who break the law-equal rights = equal responsibility) I am suprised they don't do it more often, after all, with the decline in tax revenues, it seems that these speed traps would earn the govt some needed $$$$. One thing is certain though, if you are driving or bike riding in Key Biscayne next weekend, obey the law because there will probably be a dozen cops out there..

    John Voss
    Miami Ride of Silence founder
    Everglades Bicycle Club CHarity Chair
    ORAA VP
    CYclocross, etc. etc. etc.

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  14. This is horrible and tragic. I cannot believe that when time is of essence the rescue team would hesitate or even think twice.
    May he rest in peace.
    I hope this is a wake up call to push MIAMI DADE COUNTY into a cycling friendly environment by opening more routes and educating Miami-Dade's ever growing population.
    This has to be the only city in the U.S, where cyclists are simply taken for granted.
    What a shame!
    And to Mr. Carlos Bertonatti, shame on you, for taking someone's life for granted.

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  15. John V.. is there a Ride Of Silence on May 19th in Miami? I haven't seen Miami on the confirmed rides list on the organizations website.

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  16. This is unacceptable, last year I was a witness to another bike accident in KB and it took 30 minutes for help to get to us because of"jurisdiction" problems. All along we were 1/2 a mile from the KB fire station and the first responders, after 30 minutes were life guards we snatched from the beach. We will never know if these 22 minutes could have made a difference but we have to do better.
    As far as the driver of the car, I hope he will spend the rest of his days in jail !

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  17. I was a victim of a hit & run accident on Collins ave (by 64th St. bridge) 2.5 years ago.

    It is STILL difficult for me to get on my bike on the roads. I left Miami last year and am now living in a bike-friendly community. It continually amazes me that cars DO keep their distance and respect my space on the road. But I do hold my breath a lot still.

    Thankfully I emerged relatively unscathed from my accident in 2007. A broken wrist required surgery, including a metal plate and screws, which I'll have forever. Of course, the out-of-pocket costs for the medical costs were quite substantial as well. And somewhere out there the person who hit me likely still roams free.

    I'm so sorry for the victim and his family.

    Things have to change in Miami!!

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  18. New group on facebook. Please join. Thanks Jose Javier for starting it. http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=275405851476&ref=nf&v=info

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  19. I knew the victim, but I don't live in MIA. I am hoping that some of you will go to court on Carlos' court date and just show some support for Christophe. The date is February 8.

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  20. Please, lets organize a memorial ride.

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  21. I would really like to help get a memorial ride organized ASAP. I've been talking to a few folks today but not everyone seems to be on the same page.

    Ideally I wish this to be an all inclusive event. Inviting all the cyclists, runners, skaters, pedestrians, etc that frequent Key Biscayne to be a part of this. 1000+ this weekend on the Rickenbacker.

    There is a County Commission meeting on Thursday.
    Everyone is encouraged to come to express their concerns.

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  22. This jurisdiction BS needs to be straightened out. Period. How can such a huge gap be left in emergency coverage? People's lives need to have priority over money.

    This is tragic and my heart goes out to Christoper's family and friends.

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  23. None of you guys know the young man that in a bad moment got asleep in the middle of the road and hit that poor cyclist. You don’t know his feelings and the horror he is living; he is such a good person, sweet and carrying and is not an illegal; he’s just in the limb of the immigration procedures, times and dates. He was partying like any young of his age and was tired, not drunk. In this country if you get more than two wine cups you will considered a drunk driver and you all know that. This was a horrible accident, a horrible, horrible accident that causes the death of a husband and a father and the possible total damage of one young’s life. Obviously Carlos got afraid and tries to run and that was a terrible mistake but here was a chain of horrible things happening at the same time. I only can feel profoundly sorry for both, victim and perpetrator…

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  24. I know people are very upset and would like to see Carlos rot in a prison cell and picking up soap, but I think we all need to focus our energy to make sure this type of accident does not occur again.

    As the roadway on the Rickenbacker Causeway is designed today, a similar accident is guaranteed to occur again; it’s just a matter of time. Next time it may not be a drunk driver, it may be a distracted driver, texting, talking on the phone, or messing with the radio. As long as we continue to have bicyclists riding along cars that travel in excess of 60 mph we will have to accept this as a relatively regular occurrence.

    The fact that EMS took so long to reach the victim is not really relevant. Even if an ambulance were on the scene within 30 seconds, chances are Christoper Lecanne would not have survived. Chances of anyone surviving a 60 mph impact are very small.

    We can be angry or we can take action to make sure this does not happen again. Please use your anger and funnel it towards your Commissioners and the County Public Works Department and tell them that we all deserve safer streets. This is the only solution in order to avoid accidents like this in the future.

    My sincerest condolences go out to the family of Christoper Lecanne. This could have happened to anyone of us that rides the Rickenbacker. Accidents like these are preventable; we just need to design streets for all users and not only cars.

    Felipe Azenha
    Transitmiami.com

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  25. As a cyclist who traveled here this week specifically to ride this tragic situation troubles me on a number of different levels. I am troubled by the response of the fire/rescue but I am really troubled by the comments I see on the Miami Herald web site. I am shocked by some of the comments by people who clearly do not know the law or choose to ignore it and have complete disregard for cyclists. If this is the way Miami residents think of cyclists then I will take my tourism dollars somewhere else.

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  26. Rydel, when would the memorial ride take place? It would be ideal if it took place this weekend. I'm in.

    As for the jurisdiction bull, perhaps we all should attend that county commission meeting and demand immediate cooperation between the city, the county and KB for Rescue/EMS at the very least.

    I lived in Palm Bch County for 6+ years and the geopolitics there are as complex as those on the Rickenbacker. So some towns agreed on a simple solution: whomever catches you breaking the law will pursue you. Whomever is closer to an emergency will respond. Why can't that be done here? At least for EMS!

    John is right in that the revenue from the speed traps would provide sufficient money to the gov. perhaps even to improve the bike lanes, install speed cameras and provide more enforcement.

    We cannot continue to live with the feeling of not knowing if we'll come back home or not after a jog or a bike ride!

    To the person defending the driver: Get a grip. Someone who knowingly gets behind a wheel under the influence, whether the legal maximum is 10 drinks or half a drink is committing a crime and is a potential *murderer*. If the law says one drop is the max, that's the law. No excuses!!!

    In your friend's case, having previous warrants, abandoning the scene and even resisting arrest do not match the individual you so vehemently want to portray.

    Just having failed to stop and aid the dying cyclist speaks volumes about his "good" "sweet" and "carring" (sp) character.

    Eddy.

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  27. And thank you, Eddy, for your eloquent response to the woman defending the driver.

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  28. Hold on guys... I'm not jumping on some bandwagon to defend this kid but it was an accident. He didn't wake up in the morning intending to kill a cyclist. I ride Key Biscayne regularly and I cringe every single time a car goes flying by me. I think it is important to find a way for Carlos Bertonatti to compensate the LeCanne family first of all, but it shouldn't stop there. I think it would be important to use Bertonatti as a spokesman to educate the unaware public about what is happening in our streets. Hey... He likes to sing. Make him the posterboy for idiot drivers. Let's have him hold an unplugged session in the middle of I-95 during rush hour one Friday. Let him write a song for once with some purpose and teach people to drive carefully. A number one hit single would really raise awareness and maybe bring some of those big fat motorists to peddle around with us. GET THIS MESSAGE TO HIM!!!

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  29. To Tony and Mariana: There is no defense. I am not part of a "lynch mob" for Carlos, but rather a person who realizes that getting behind the wheel while impaired (WITH WHICH HE HAS BEEN CHARGED), is a crime, not an accident. I have been reading about this for 2 days and am amazed at some of the comments which actually try to blame Christophe for riding in a MARKED BIKE LANE. The officers at the scene who arrested Carlos said he seemed impaired and although I am not a lawyer or cop, I am guessing that they must have have proof of his impairment to file the DUI charge that has been filed. Regardless, he fled the scene of the crime at which he had hit a man, leaving him there to die. Christophe's friends and family (he had a wife and 2 young children) will never see him again, while Carlos will most likely get deported after conviction and go about his business. It is evident from his more than FORTY traffic convictions previous to this that he does not know how to learn a lesson.

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  30. One addition: after doing some research on the Miami-Dade Clerk of Court site, I found out that "sweet" Carlos has also been charged (twice) with assault and fraud on top of his 42 driving infractions. Welcome to the U.S., Carlos. Feel free to abuse our country.

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  31. This is one of the most tragic and horrid things I could imagine. My sorrow and deepest sympathies go out to the victim and his family. On the other hand, Carlos and his family should all be deported and Miami Dade sued for their pathetic response time... May Carlos pay the price for the rest of his life.

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  32. Rydel,

    Some more info about why MDFR took so long to get there: Station 15 was partially shut down last month, there are only firefighters there 4 days a week, from 10-6. South Miami Station is supposed to respond now, and I've done a shift there where we were called out to Seaquarium. It took more than 15 minutes to get there. Also, we should be blasting Key Biscayne's Fire Rescue. There is something in the field we call 'mutual aid'. Key Biscayne evidently doesn't feel the need to provide it.

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  33. The jurisdiction issue needs to be resolved to prevent further loss of life. This is not the first time a person died on Rickenbacker Causeway because of the slowness of fire rescue responders. About 6years ago, a family member was bicycling on Rickenbacker Causeway with a group of other riders. He had a heart attack and the other bicyclists and passersby tried their best to administer CPR while waiting for fire rescue to arrive, which took 12 minutes. He was transported to the closest hospital, Mercy Hospital. Doctors there said the heart attack had been relatively mild and there was no permanent damage to his heart. They said he would have recovered fully from the heart attack, but the 12 minutes without oxygen caused irreparable brain damage, and a few days later, he was declared officially brain dead and removed from life support. We will never understand why it took so long for fire rescue to arrive when the station was so close. A wonderful man who was a loving husband, father, son, brother, employer and partner, civic and professional role model, and beloved by all who knew him, is gone from our lives because of the failure of first responders to respond in a timely manner.

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  34. Miami is one of the most dangerous cities in the country for cyclists and pedestrians. In fact, Florida is second only to California as the nation's most dangerous state for cyclists. In 2006, a total of eight cyclists were killed in the streets of Miami.

    The Rickenbacker Causeway is one of the only somewhat safe places to ride in Miami and, as a result, this stretch of road has an extremely high concentration of cyclists. In my experience, I have found that there is very little in the way of speed enforcement along the stretch between Miami and Key Biscayne. While there are many factors that led to this horrific accident, I believe that more aggressive speed limit enforcement is a key issue.

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  35. There is very little fire rescue could have done for the victim. The chances of anyone surviving a 60mph impact are very small. Please stop pointing the finger at fire rescue . The county public works dept needs to be held accountable for providing crappy unprotected bicycle lanes. Carlos needs to share the blame too. This will happen again if better bicycle paths are not provided
    Felipe Azenha
    Transit Miami

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  36. I am not sure if anyone has checked, but I see mentions of the driver being called "illegal". just to clarify, even if you are a "legal" resident, but not a Citizen of the US, you can be deported for various reasons, including drugs, failure to obey laws, in this case driving..

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  37. Response to "What Can I Tell You"... Also, to reenforce your point of view. Carlito is also guilty of endangering the lives of our Manatees in 2000. He can't even manage to be considerate while he's using our waterways. How many people "like Carlito" speed by us everyday. Let's get these idiot drivers/humans off the road. The real problem is our bs legal system. We have to push for stronger restrictions on repeat offenders. I would still push for Carlito to be forcibly persuaded to do something good for the cycling community.

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  38. This is unbelievable. People SHOULD NOT drive drunk !!! I am mad because im the families friend !!! I go to school with their daughter and I hate to see her sad !!! PLEASE DONT MAKE ANYMORE KIDS SAD !!! DRIVE SAFE !!!
    to email me any questions i will be happy to respond. My email is awesomemary32@gmail.com
    this is incredible :(

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  39. Mariana Azpurua Rodriguez: You are a pitiful liar.

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  40. the info for the memorial ride has been posted:
    http://miamibikescene.blogspot.com/2010/01/key-biscayne-memorial-ride.html

    Sunday, January 24th, 2010
    9:00am

    All cyclists are to meet directly across the street from the Mast Academy School, along the beach access road. (Same meet up location as the '09 Ride Of Silence)

    Mast Academy / Rickenbacker Causeway
    Key Biscayne, FL 33149

    PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE WORD

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  41. Well he is free now, he posted bail..

    Is ther something we can do to make sure he pays for this crime

    http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2010/01/carlos_bertonatti_is_a_free_ma.php

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  42. This story appalls me - typical rich kid Venezuelan who is an 'aspiring musician', living in Key Biscayne, thinks he owns the world & plows over an innocent cyclist. He and his entire family should be deported. And they should NEVER let them back in this country.

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  43. Forty something traffic vialations.Seem's like this family has a pretty good lawyer. This things happen when all these well off kids all over Miami seem to think they can get away with just about anything.Well Carlos, it finally caught up to you!! You can blame your self and your family for ending up in this mess. GOOD LUCK IN JAIL!!

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  44. The killer is Venezuelan and he was drunk in the earliest hours of that morning. He may also have had something else in his head. He was convicted of traffic violations 42 times before that tragedy and still, he had a license and had the arrogance to leave the scene as a coward. I hope that US immigration authorities will deport him back to his country shitty country once he pays for what he did, once he spends the next 25 years behind bars. Justice has to be done and a message has to be sent to those drivers that do not respect cyclists.

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  45. Oh no, this was no accident.
    This was a series of crimes
    before and after the collision.
    Laws are not keeping pace with
    the new nature of negligence.
    It's not the proof of intent, but
    rather the failure of prevention
    that removes this killer from
    being the hapless participant
    of a deadly highway situation.

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  46. I am not really sure what to believe.

    I have 2 opinions, and I really hope all of you read this...

    I am not sure if Carlos really killed that guy on purpose or not, it is not a nice thing just to blame someone out of anger!!!!
    BUT, I have some doubts as well.

    CARLOS:
    I am not sure if you remember, and I am not sure if it's you, I am a 95% sure it was you though... but, not too long ago, I'll say a month, me and my girlfriends were driving by downtown, near ne 2nd and 1st, you live in key biscayne, and "CARLOS" (a guy that looked just like him) was walking very drunk, we saw him walking from far away, seemed weird, as we drove by him he jumped in front of us with a murder face, and yelling while we were driving!!!! we had to pull over so that we didn't kill him! He looked like if he wanted to either kill us, or he wanted us to kill him, very handsome just like Carlos, he had same haircut, same height, same skin color! he scared the hell out of us trying for us to run him over, if it's him, we freaked out, called the cops on him but they never showed up!
    I have a feeling it was CARLOS there's a lot of things that tell me it was him, it's around downtown, he seemed like a regular guy, handsome, tall, and first thing I thought was, he will eventually kill someone!!! and now a cyclist is dead! by a crazy drunk guy that looks just like him! this guys is crazy, you were able to see that the guy lived pretty good, nice clothes on, he was just walking by himself in downtown, walking towards brickell. it was no homeless!!

    My point is that, if Carlos was the one who wanted us to RUN HIM OVER, I think it might be on purpose that he has some weird thing going on on his head with RUNNING PEOPLE OVER, I think he was obsessed with it! he has some kind of mental disorders, murder problems, anger, schizophrenia, not sure, I remember thinking how that guy was ready to kill someone in the future.... too many coincidences! and now someone is dead!
    I have to be honest ALL OF YOU CYCLIST ARE A PAIN IN THE BUTT sometimes when we drive and trying to get somewhere, sometimes they just drive in the middle of the road, and it's disrespectful.

    We all have to be careful and considerate, cyclists with drivers and drivers with cyclists.

    you get right in the middle or the road just because us drivers need to stop, it makes traffic worst, you drive slow, and we have to drive to the sides cause you cyclists take over the road!! of course that's not a reason to kill someone. Also, I have heard stories of innocent drivers who go to jail, blamed purposely of killing cyclists, that's not fair. It's really bad because of your fault some drivers go to prison, if there's a mass of cars and traffic go ahead take over!! but hey, you people need to be careful as well, this can happen to any of you as well cyclists.

    SO DON'T GET IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD!! sometimes poeple have pregnant women in car, maybe someone is dieing in the car, accidents happen!!

    and Carlos you should go to a psychiatrist, you have murder tendencies.

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  47. What is wrong with you guys ??? How can you write stuff like "On the other hand, Carlos and his family should all be deported"...

    Ok, the guy was a complete jerk. He should be judged, maybe deported.
    But his family ??? As if they had anything to do with his behavior.

    The fact that he is an immigrant is just plain irrelevant.
    My condolences go to the family of the cyclist.

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  48. To Clarisa : Bicycles have the right to use the road whenever there's no bike lane available.

    In many places it's illegal to ride on the sidewalk. It's also legal to ride 2 abreast.

    So before blaming people on bikes for "not respecting the laws" ... make sure that you know them yourself. Because most serious cyclists (roadies, commuters) know them, better than you do.

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  49. ABSOLUTELY NO MERCY for this murderer CARLOS G BERTONATTI. He should receive life time sentence.

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  50. To Clarisa:

    You ever hear of sharing the road.
    Miami is one of the worst places in the country to ride a bicycle.
    If you are in a car and you make a mistake you will likely have
    to cover the cost to have it
    repaired-either out of pocket or
    through that nice insurance policy
    you have.
    Yes you could be injured but unless you are really unlucky you will probaly not be KILLED.

    If you are riding and a drivers
    gives you are hit by a car at
    a decent speed, you have a high
    likely hood probably be killed.
    My point and I do have one, is
    that on the road we all have to do our best to be considerate of one another.

    Also our society is ravaged by problems related to the way our cities are designed. I think
    all concerned citizens should
    be up in arms over the lack of decent bike riding lanes in Miami.

    So if you see somebody on bicycle
    try not to look at them as a traffic obstacle. WE ARE TRAFFIC.

    For a little historical perspective:

    The reason why roads are paved in this country is account of the lobbying efforts of the League of American Wheelmen. You can look it up. They have been around since 1898.

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  51. I first met Christophe when I was training in what used to be his office in San Francisco 13 years ago.

    I was always struck by his drive and professionalism at work as well by his "joie de vivre" outside of work.

    He was promoted and ended up being quite successful with the said company. I worked for them again in a different capacity this time back in 2007. I met Mr. Le Canne in Miami that year and again, I was able to appreciate his gentleman like demeanor as well as his high level of professionalism.

    Beyond work, Christophe was a husband and a dad. As a young dad myself, I cannot imagine what his family is going through right now because of the wreckless behavior of one individual.

    It pains me to know that the inebriated driver was able to post bond and that he is roaming freely somewhere in Florida right now after taking the life of a good man. Althouh putting this man behind bars for the rest of his life will not bring Christophe back, I strongly believe that it will take an irresponsibly dangerous individual off the road for good so other families will not have to grieve over similar tragedies.

    My condolences to Christophe's family and close friends.


    Thierry A.

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  52. this is a horribly sad event. my heart and prayers go out to the victim's family. i ride this route almost every weekend. i stay in the bike lane well to the side of the road, but it never fails that some brain dead driver will drift into the bike lane and honk at me. i don't get it. it can't be an english language problem -- the signs indicate with a bicycle stick figure that the lane is for bicycles only for our latin american and european friends. why is there such a huge concentration of douche bag drivers on key biscayne? just askin...

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  53. WOW.. This makes me sick, both the driver and the "jurisdiction bullshit!" my girl has had an accident there back when the construction had a detour onto the sidewalk but she only dislocated her elbow, but man I feel for the family of the fallen.

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