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Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Miami keeps aiming for a better life quality of its citizens

Por Damian

A cyclist who pedaled down the bike lane on Collins Avenue during spring vacation ended up in the hospital when two tourists on a rented motor scooter rammed him from behind. The cyclist fell to the ground and lost several teeth when hitting the pavement, reported El Nuevo Herald website.

This is the kind of incident that the police say happens too often in Miami Beach because tourists zigzag around the island on motor scooters, drive in the opposite way or go to bicycle lanes and do not respect pedestrian crossings. Neighbors have even seen people on scooters stopping traffic to take selfies and recording videos on Snapchat.

So far this year, the Miami Beach Police have imposed more than 800 fines on scooters.

Now the Miami Beach Commission is studying a ban on rental scooters during March and the weekend of Remembrance Day, two of the most tourism periods on the Beach. Proponents of the measure, including Commissioner John Elizabeth Alemán, who sponsored the ordinance, say it will improve safety and alleviate traffic problems. "We have to start trying something because both neighbors and tourists are in danger", she said.

But the Miami Beach scooter rental businesses say the proposal would devastate their businesses and argue that most visitors drive scooters responsibly and that businesses should not be punished by a handful of bad drivers.

"That would be a big problem and we would have to think of other ways to keep the business running", said Antonio La Rosa, manager of Scooter Super Shop, at 900 Washington Avenue. In a three-day period in March, that business made about 12,000 dollars, approximately what it normally earns in two months. La Rosa recognizes that the business caters to many types of drivers, but that most respect the laws. Scooter Super Shop makes emphasis on the rules in their rental agreement, said La Rosa, so that customers understand the consequences of not respecting traffic laws.

The Miami Beach Police says that during periods of more tourists, scooters overwhelm the city, making it impossible to enforce the laws.

In March, when thousands of young people gathered in Miami Beach for spring break, police imposed more than 450 fines on scooters. It is not clear how many of the fines were imposed on residents of the beach, but the amount of fines in March was more than double that of the first two months of the year added.