Very, very sad to see. Unfortunately I came across this tragic news item this morning only to see that another bike fatality has occurred in the same location (The Rickenbacker Causeway) in South Florida as that of cyclist Christophe Le Canne. At that time, I applied my filmmaking skills to raise awareness and collaborated with filmmaker Tony Blazejack by editing this short film about the ‘ghost bike’ service that was held for Mr. Le Canne. You can watch the video – FLORIDA GHOST BIKE – by clicking the button above. This area of Florida does have a new law, “Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act,” that could make the sentence for the hit and run driver harsher than it would be in other areas.
Below you can read the article about today’s tragedy involving a cyclist named Walter Reyes.
For cyclists around South Florida, this morning’s news feed reads like a déjà vu nightmare. This morning, yet another cyclist has been killed by yet another hit-and-run driver on the bridge linking Virginia Key, Key Biscayne, and downtown Miami.
The latest death comes just months after a statewide law went into effect stiffening penalties for drivers who flee a fatal crash. It’s called the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act, and it’s named for the last cyclist who lost his life to a hit-and-run driver on the Rickenbacker Causeway.
Details are still thin on this morning’s fatal crash, but WSVN reports that two cyclists were hit around 5:30 this morning on the eastbound lanes near Crandon Park Marina.
One of those riders was pronounced dead on the scene, and another was taken to a local hospital.
Though the driver fled the scene, WSVN reports that one man is now in custody over the crash.
A Miami-Dade Police spokeswoman tells New Times that investigators are still headed to the scene and that official information about the fatal crash won’t be available until later this morning. We’ll update this post when we learn more.
As for the driver, he or she will now be looking at a tougher sentence over the crash thanks to local cycling activists outraged by the death of Aaron Cohen.
Cohen, the father of two young children, was killed in 2012 by 25-year-old Michele Traverso, who fled and didn’t turn himself in for 18 hours. By then, proving he was driving while intoxicated was impossible, and he faced only charges for leaving the scene of a fatal accident. That garnered him less than two years in jail. (However, he recently received a new sentence by violating his house arrest.)
Activists outraged at that sentence went to Tallahassee last year and got the Cohen law passed, which ups minimum penalties for drivers who flee fatal crashes. The law looks to get an early test in this morning’s case.
Update: The cyclist killed this morning has been identified as Walter Reyes. His cycling partner, Henry Hernandez, is in serious condition at a local hospital. Police say the driver fled the scene but later returned, and investigators are looking into whether he was intoxicated.