|TO: ||Neighborhood and Quality of Life Committee Members|
|FROM:||Alina T. Hudak, City Manager|
|DATE: ||May 19, 2021|
|SUBJECT:||DISCUSSION REGARDING SAFETY AND ENFORCEMENT ON THE VENETIAN CAUSEWAY/FOLLOW-UP ON “BIKE GANGS”.|
|In April 2021, the Commission and Miami Beach Police Department received various emails from City of Miami Beach and City of Miami residents regarding safety concerns of the “bike gangs” in their neighborhood. Commissioner Gongora placed the matter as a discussion item heard at the April 21, 2021 City Commission meeting where he requested an update be provided by the Miami Beach Police Department (MBPD) at the May 2021 Neighborhood and Quality of Life (NQLC) meeting regarding the efforts carried out to deter these groups from entering the City.|
Upon receipt of the resident communication, the Department assured residents via Captain Jovan Campbell that MBPD was working closely with the Miami Police Department via its Commander Freddy Cruz to increase communication between officers and Command Staff to keep residents on both sides of the Venetian safe.
While it is a commonly held belief that large groups of cyclists who may present safety concerns due to the size of the group and traffic disruption can be deterred from frequenting a specific area, the Department has done its best to communicate that doing so solely based on the potential disruption it could present would violate the rights of the riders.
Notwithstanding, the Department has shared its commitment to provide sufficient presence in any area where a group of cyclists is identified. To do so, the Department has assigned one officer daily and on each shift to the Venetian Causeway. This officer has been instructed to immediately notify dispatchers of any identified group of cyclists entering the City and follow them, regularly providing updates of location and movements. The dispatchers in turn have been instructed to notify all units of the group’s location and direction of travel. Dispatched units await the bicyclists along the expected routes usually consisting of moving south on Alton Road, east on Lincoln Road, south on Collins Avenue, east on 15th Street and south on Ocean Drive, encouraging them to use designated bike lanes and to abide by all traffic laws. If a violation occurs in the presence of an officer, her or she has been instructed to attempt to stop the violator(s) if it is safe and possible to do so.
Criminal data presented during the April 21, 2021 Commission meeting alluded to the two incidents related to groups of bicyclists (“bike gangs”) on the Venetian Causeway reported in the past year, one of which consisted of three adult male tourists performing “wheelies” on the Venetian Causeway. Since then, the following incidents have been reported:
- April 22, 2021 – A group of bicyclists taking up the middle lane eastbound from Rivo Alto. The officer assigned to the Venetian Causeway responded to the area but was unable to locate the group.
- May 4, 2021 – A complaint was received regarding juveniles riding bicycles eastbound on the Venetian. The officer assigned to the Venetian Causeway responded and met with the complainants, and it was verified that the group was on the Miami side of the Causeway. The officer waited for them at W. San Marino, and once they saw him, they rode single file in the designated bike lane. The officer shadowed them and did not observe any violations. The group exited the City via the Venetian Causeway and no criminal behavior was observed.
- May 11, 2021 – The officer assigned to the Venetian Causeway saw a group of approximately 14 juveniles on bicycles eastbound on the Venetian Causeway. When they saw his patrol car, the group began using the designated bicycle lane. At one point, a bicyclist entered the regular lane of traffic, and another rider corrected his behavior. The group continued east on the Venetian and eventually turned south on West Ave. No reports of any criminal behavior were observed or reported.
MBPD reiterates its commitment to working with the Miami Police Department to address issues related to large group of bicyclists and specifically on the Venetian Causeway and surrounding areas. The Department will also continue to encourage residents to report any incident immediately to 9-1-1 so that they may be addressed promptly and safely.
|Is this a "Residents Right to Know" item, pursuant to City Code Section 2-14?|| ||Does this item utilize G.O. Bond Funds?|
|Yes|| ||No|| |
|Neighborhoods - Prevent and solve crime for residents and visitors.|