So, a little over a week ago I headed to the Miami Bicycle Safety Summit. While the powers that be here in Miami say that this meeting is not a reaction to the recent death of cyclist Aaron Cohen on the Rickenbacker Causeway, it seemed as though the timing was pretty reactionary. Whether or not it was a reaction, action is the end result. Real changes are being made (they say) on the Key to make it a safer place to ride for everyone.
At the end of the meeting, a few of us were talking about concrete changes that can be made and that are in the works. A friend mentioned that while the committee is tackling bike safety, they should also begin researching bike theft. At first, I thought to myself “hmmm, yeah, but maybe that is less important than the safety and can be tabled for another time/venue.” But, the more I thought about it, the more I thought that bike safety and bike theft are inevitably intertwined. I feel as though more people might consider bike commuting if they were not fearing their bike being stolen and thus would have major impacts on the infrastructure of the city and thus bike safety.
We all talked for a bit before heading out to the beautiful Miami weather. I had decided, given the beautiful day, that I would ride my bike, Stella, to the bike safety meeting. She is finally all “fixed”, so no better time to practice my “fixed” skills than on a nice day in MIA. I arrived Government Center and began to lock my bike up to a light post when I noticed a nice bike rack under the metro rail. I decided I would support the bike rack since someone in the transit authority, government center building, Miami Dade County, or the City had probably lobbied hard for that bike rack to be installed and here I am some ass too good for a bike rack?…So, basically, I guilted myself into the bike rack. My instincts were telling me that the bike rack was all wrong. There were homeless people, cracked out people, and all sorts of vagrants/ner-do-wells sitting on the wall next to the racks. I contemplated offering one of them $20 to make sure my bike stayed put and then decided I am so jaded and I need to have more faith in humanity. Turns out all my instincts were correct….
I came out of the building 2.5hrs after going in for the meeting with a fellow attendee. We were discussing his folding bike and how he brought it into the building even though he wasn’t supposed to apparently (he found out after). We also were saying that at least he knew it wouldn’t get stolen that way….I turned the corner and so no flash of pink in the bike rack, or blue for that matter, as Stella had just put on her new blue Velocity wheels.
I felt sick…I ran over to the rack, and in disbelief spun a 360 to make sure I wasn’t being a blonde and looking at the wrong rack. Nope, that was the rack. And Stella was gone….
I wish there was a happy ending to my saga, but so far, Stella has yet to get her groove back and find her way home to me. I am hoping that she is not on a ship to Haiti, but that is really all I got. The worst part of my entire ordeal that day was the fact that the MIA City police and Miami-Dade County police couldn’t decide whose property the area was where my bike was stolen from–and therefore I waited for about 2.5 hours for both entities to take my report. Disaster. In the picture of the bike rack, you will notice a yellow post. Apparently, one side of that yellow post is MIA City property and the other is Miami Dade County property. Good times. While waiting, I was almost mugged, rained on, and had to figure out how to get home (since I had ridden Stella there). It was pretty much my no good, very bad, day.
Lucky for me, many of the “powers that be” were in the meeting and saw me crying when I noticed my bike was stolen. They all called to follow up with me, the chief of police called to apologize for the police behavior (one didn’t event get out of the car to take my report). The commissioner actually called the detective on my case to follow up and make sure I got a follow up, but so far no luck. The way I see it, with all the attention Stella has, if any bike is going to be found, it is Stella….keep you fingers crossed and in the meantime–never, ever, ever use this kind of lock: