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Cyclists Rally In Miami Beach To Remind Drivers Of Traffic Safety

Karelia Arauz

On Saturday, August 16, a group of friends and supporters gathered for a "Cyclist Respect Rally" on the bike lane of 16th Street near the intersection with Jefferson Avenue in Miami Beach.

Along the street, they stood in a line between the car lane and the bike lane to create a human barrier where event coordinator Jessica Hunter was hit by a car earlier this month.

The incident, which happened on August 8, took place when Hunter was on her way to work.  She was hit by a car that entered the bike lane, causing her to flip over the handle bars. She landed on her head and shoulder when she hit the pavement. Fortunately for her, she was wearing a helmet and didn't sustain any injuries. Her bike was undamaged, the police was called and the driver received a citation.

"I actually got on my bike and rode to work right after it which I probably wouldn't have done if I was thinking a little bit more clearly," said Hunter, "I was really lucky. It could've been really bad... and instead of complaining about it, I wanted to actually do something about it."

Hunter reached out to friends on social media.

"I think I invited about a 120 [friends] and the invite went to well over 200," said Hunter, "every organization that I shared it with were all supportive of it."

"I was gonna be out here by myself with my sign if no one else came so I am just glad there are other people here and I am glad I have support from my friends," said Hunter. "The turnout is not as high which is kind of what I expected, but I think it got a lot of exposure, which is important to just try and communicate and to create awareness of the rules of the lane."

One of Hunter's friends who attended was Becky Bemis, whose daughter was hit by a car in front of the University Of Miami in February while crossing US1 on her bike.

"She [daughter] no longer rides a bike, I think psychologically she was impacted by it and I am also afraid to ride a bike," said Bemis. "I am here for motorists to become aware of bycicle safety. I came here to support Jessica and all the other bikers."

"We've gotten honks, thumbs up, and some people who didn't have the friendliest things to say, but for the most part, its been good," said Hunter.

Hunter eventually wants to do more rallies in high-traffic areas in Miami Beach and other parts of Miami to spread awareness. 

Copyright 2013 WLRN 91.3 FM

Karelia Arauz