On the morning of August, 29th 2019 several media outlets shared news of a female struck from behind and killed while she was riding her bicycle on the Venetian Causeway (on a highly visible green bike lane). The City of Miami Police issued a "traffic alert" asking the public to avoid the area of the investigation, and 2 hours later tweeted the Venetian Causeway had reopened in all directions, and, despite our public requested for an update, it was the last any of us heard about the incident. Local media failed to follow up on the story and up until this writing they have yet to mention the victim's name or published any kind of update.

Once again, news was urgent when the death of a cyclist/pedestrian inconvenienced motorists, but once the road was clear, it was back to business as usual in South Florida. That is of course, until the next fatality that delays a driver's commute.

Less than two weeks later, on September 10th, family and friends of the victim took the initiative and placed a memorial "ghost bike" on the bridge where their loved one was killed. The white painted bike was created to honor the deceased and to share her story, so that perhaps they could help prevent this from happening to someone else. That day, we were contacted by the victims sister, this was when we finally found out the identity of the cyclist.  Flavia Carnicelli was her name, a 44 year old from Brazilian-born Miami Beach resident and popular chef at Ofa Restaurant on Purdy Ave. She loved watching the sunrise on the beach, her adopted dog Carmela, and her family and friends. Her shocking death left her loved ones devastated, particularly her younger sister who was very close to her.

On the following day, September 11th, Miami-Dade County reached out to us trying find out who placed the 'ghost bike' on the bridge. Local government believes makeshift memorials can cause a  distraction to motorists and/or can impede pedestrians right of way (particularly on bridges), and we understand that to some degree. We just find it ironic that a white bicycle on the side of a bridge can pose a distraction to motorists, however a woman riding a bicycle on a green bike lane was not enough of a distraction to prevent her own death.

What local government fails to realize is that: a roadside memorial, a pedestrian, a bicyclist, a pet, etc can be no distraction to motorists. It is impossible to be distracted by anything when you're too busy looking down at your phone while driving, instead of paying attention to the road.

So here's where we're at today. The County has temporarily relocated the 'ghost bike' until an approved location is finalized for the memorial. The county has also mentioned placing a plaque honoring Flavia at the location where she was killed (west bridge). In early 2010 we worked with the county in getting a permanent "ghost bike" memorial on the Rickenbacker Causeway. The county has and continues to be helpful in accommodating these requests, and they publicly sympathize with the victims of these senseless crashes and their mourning families. They agree that a 'ghost bike' plays an important part in honoring the victim and also works as a safety reminder for motorists to not drive recklessly and/or distracted. The 'ghost bike' is an unfortunate but necessary somber memorial for bicyclist(s) killed by motorist(s).

The motorist remained on the scene. Still outstanding: has the motorist faced any legal repercussions? A $300 citation?

Rest In Peace, Flavia 1975-2019

It’s been one month today since a distracted motorist struck and killed Flavia Carnicelli while she was riding her bicycle on the Venetian Causeway on 08/29/19 🌴☀️🚲🙏🚗📵 via @caroli_ 🇧🇷 hoje faz 1 mês que você foi embora, mas o meu amor por você é pra sempre. a gente nunca acha que vai acontecer com a gente. nem no meu pior pesadelo eu pensei que pudesse perder a pessoa mais importante da minha vida pela distração de uma motorista. foi uma distração de segundos. o que o celular fez com a gente? quando ficou mais importante prestar atenção em um aparelho do que nas vidas que estão na nossa frente? eu perdi a minha irmã andando de bicicleta porque a motorista “não a viu” e invadiu a ciclofaixa. ela só percebeu que atropelou uma pessoa quando escutou um barulho e viu a bike caída pelo retrovisor. o que ela estava fazendo que não prestou atenção ao volante? sim, você também pode perder a pessoa mais importante da sua vida ou mesmo tirar a vida de alguém. e você só vai entender essa dor, quando acontecer com você. por favor, esteja inteiro em tudo que você faz. 🙏🏿 me ajudem a compartilhar a história da minha irmã para evitar que acidentes como esse continuem acontecendo.
A post shared by Miami Bike Scene 🚴‍♀️🚴🌴☀️ (@miamibikescene) on