The usually bustling streets of downtown Miami will be the scene of a different form of congestion on Sunday, when the area is transformed into a haven for bicyclists, roller bladers and pedestrians.
Bike Miami, the brainchild of Mayor Manny Diaz, aims to promote an environmentally friendly message through carbon emission-free bicycling and other outdoor activities. The free event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“A lot of people are flabbergasted that we’re doing this,” said Katherine Moore, a member of the city’s Bicycle Action Committee. “We’ve never done anything like this before and it’s opening up the community.”
Anyone with a bike can ride the Metrorail or Metrobus for free on the day of the event.
“I think it’ll open Miamians’ eyes that there is more to the city than industry, cars and smoke,” sophomore Alexa Ferra said. “It’ll show that we care about the environment, about our health and about bringing everyone together through bicycling.”
People who participate in Bike Miami will have the opportunity to discover myriad shops and cafes in the downtown area. The city will close off Flagler Street from the County Courthouse to Bayfront Park and South Miami Avenue from Flagler to Mary Brickell Village, south of the Miami River, to allow the public to pedal, roll or walk their way through downtown.
In addition, Diaz will host a rally at Flagler and Biscayne Boulevard at 11 a.m. There will be bicycle safety workshops as well as a free yoga class at 1 p.m. in the park, where “The Moving Hall,” a traveling replica of Washington D.C.’s Vietnam Memorial, will be on display.
Mayor Diaz said he is looking forward to Sunday’s event.
“Bike Miami is a great opportunity for all of our residents to explore the downtown area in a whole new way,” Diaz said in a press release. “It is a healthy and safe, family-friendly event where everyone can participate.”
Sponsored by the Downtown Development Authority, the Miami Office of Sustainable Initiatives and more than 20 other organizations, Bike Miami also aims to promote the rights of bicyclists on the road.
Fernando Heria, an avid bicyclist and participant in biking event Critical Mass, feels bike safety should be an integral part of the lessons learned from events such as Bike Miami. At 23, he understands the importance of informing the public about bicyclists’ right to share the road even though a tradition of reckless Miami drivers has prevented them from doing so.
“The most important thing is education. Education, education, education. Bikes have every right to be on the road but they also have responsibilities just as any other motorist does,” Heria said.
Ferra shares the same belief.
“If they make more people aware, it will bring up awareness of bicyclists and they will see them as drivers rather than as obstacles on the road,” Ferra said.
As people enjoy the activities of Bike Miami, police officers will be on hand to ensure their safety in the city’s downtown district. Cmdr. Raimundo Socorro expects the event to be extremely packed. He plans to have 30 specialized bike officers patrolling the area and keeping intersections free of vehicles.
“Come, bring your family, and have a good time,” Socorro said.
|Who will be participating?
|Everyone and anyone who wants to come out and enjoy the day with family and friends. Events will include:
Prayerdanse at 9:30 a.m.
Bike Miami Rally at 11 a.m.
-Free passes to the Miami Art Museum for the first 200 guests
Free Yoga class at 1 p.m.
Bike Miami after party from 2-5 p.m.
Free walking/riding tour of Flagler Street’s historical sites, provided by the Historical Museum of Southern Florida
|What is Bike Miami?
|As stated on BikeMiami.blogspot.com:
Bike Miami is an initiative by City of Miami Mayor Manny Diaz to promote bicycling, liveable streets and the growing urban neighborhood of Downtown Miami.
|Where will Bike Miami be?
|The event will close Flagler Street from the Courthouse to Bayfront Park, as well as South Miami Avenue from 10th Street (Mary Brickell Village) to SE 4th Street, and then north on 1st Ave to Flagler for pedestrians and bicyclists.
|When will Bike Miami take place?
|Sunday, Nov. 9 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
|Why should I go?
|Have fun with the community at no cost while promoting green initiatives and bicycle awareness in your very own city.
|How can I get there?
|Public Transit will be providing free rides to the event as long as you have your bike. Discounted parking rates at Bayside Marketplace ($2 if arriving before 3 p.m.) and Mary Brickell Village ($3 special rate) will be available should you decide to carpool.