Politics

Miami Beach Man: Venetian Causeway Armadillos Caused Scooter Accident

At the tip of final yr, Miami-Dade County put in rather small, striped plastic obstacles — known as armadillos for his or her vaguely an identical form — to stay automobiles from drifting into the motorcycle lane at the Venetian Causeway.

Though they are meant to stay pedestrians protected, one Miami Beach resident says that they had the other impact. An come across with an armadillo on his electrical scooter in February left Anthony Penalta with a damaged leg that has required two surgical procedures to fix. As Miami-Dade County Mayor Danielle Levine Cava promised to make stronger protection measures at the Rickenbacker Causeway following the hot deaths of Yaudys Vera and Ogniana Reyes, Penalta needs to percentage the main points about his mishap as a cautionary story.

“These [armadillos] are sitting like, four or five inches off the ground,” Penalta, 60, tells New Times. “It’s almost like they want you to have an accident.”

click on to magnify Plastic barriers, called armadillos, were installed on the Venetian Causeway at the end of last year. - PHOTO BY MICHAEL MAJCHROWICZ

Plastic obstacles, known as armadillos, have been put in at the Venetian Causeway on the finish of final yr.

Photo through Michael Majchrowicz

Following the passage of HB 453 in 2019, electrical scooters will also be ridden in motorcycle lanes and on sidewalks. Penalta, who makes use of an electrical scooter as his number one mode of transportation, is a critic of the brand new armadillos. And he is not on my own: Since their set up, those little plastic humps have divided town’s biking ranks, and a petition to take away them has already garnered greater than 1,600 signatures.

“I did 13 years in the army and I didn’t injure myself,” Penalta says. “These [armadillos] are a nightmare.”

Miami is likely one of the deadliest towns within the country for cyclists: The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported 795 bicycle crashes in Miami-Dade County in 2021. Of the ones, 730 ended in damage and 17 ended in fatalities.

Though proponents of the armadillos argue they are going to stay automobiles out of the motorcycle lane and offer protection to nonvehicular visitors from faster-moving automobiles, some cyclists appear to be extra concerned about what occurs must their entrance tire come into touch with one of the crucial obstacles when passing slower commuters, particularly at upper speeds.

On most sensible of that, Penalta says, the black-and-white striped armadillos are arduous to look at the highway at evening. It was once kind of 10 p.m. on February 22 when he bumped the armadillo on his scooter.

“It’s dark outside, and these things are black,” he explains. “There’s reflective tape, but there’s not really anything that’s reflected.”

When Penalta learned he was once harm too badly to stroll, he known as a Lyft to take him to the closest Veterans Affairs health center.

“Everything after that is like a dream,” he recounts. “Next thing I know, I’m looking at my leg, and it didn’t look good. My leg was not straight — like something was definitely wrong.”

As it became out, Penalta had fractured his tibial plateau, the flat portion on the most sensible of the tibia the place it meets the femur. The following morning, he was once moved to another health center, the place he underwent surgical procedure to immobilize the knee joint. Three days later, after the swelling went down, a 2nd surgical procedure was once carried out to put in rods and plates in his leg.

Now, 12 screws and two plates hang the tp of his tibia bone in position. Nearly 3 months after the twist of fate, he nonetheless can’t position weight on his injured leg.

click on to magnify An X-ray image of the screws and plates in Anthony Penta's leg - PHOTO COURTESY OF ANTHONY PENTA

An X-ray symbol of the screws and plates in Anthony Penta’s leg

Photo courtesy of Anthony Penta

Having had time to think about the cases surrounding his damage, he ventures that plastic poles like those used to split the explicit lanes on I-95 can be a more secure selection to the armadillos.

“Those sticks in the HOV lane — at least they give,” he notes. “You hit one of those and they give. The base of it is so minimal, it’s not going to cause any kind of damage.”

Penalta hopes Miami-Dade County eliminates the armadillos earlier than any person else is injured or in all probability killed after hitting one, and that they are now not put in at the Rickenbacker Causeway as a so-called protection measure.

“Listen to the voices,” he says. “Those things are deadly.”




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