Item Coversheet



TO: Neighborhood/Community Affairs Committee Members

Jimmy L. Morales, City Manager

DATE: May 22, 2018




This discussion item relates to special permitting requirements for bicycling events that occur throughout Miami Beach. Over the past few years, the City has seen an increase in bicycle-related events. These events, when not permitted and properly staffed through City services, have subsequently caused a disruption in weekday traffic as well as created indirect public safety hazards for the residents within the City. Although some rides do request permits, many larger scale bicycle rides have been unpermitted and not organized in partnership with the City of Miami Beach.

The current process for special event permits within the City requires that an applicant apply for a special event permit for any organized activity held within the jurisdiction of the City boundaries. This includes the coordination of City services for any event held on public property or private property. As defined by the Special Events Guides and Requirements: a City Permit is required for all special events. A “special event” is defined by the City as a temporary use on public or private property that would not be permitted generally or without restriction throughout a particular zoning district, but would be permitted if controlled with special review in accordance with this section. A bicycle event which passes through or originates on Miami Beach and utilizes Miami Beach roadways would fall under this definition, therefore requiring a special events permit form the City of Miami Beach.

During the February 14, 2018 City Commission meeting, the Administration was directed to look at the thresholds of other large cities permitting similar events and report back to the Neighborhood/Community Affairs Committee.


Unlike other municipalities within Miami-Dade County, the City of Miami Beach has codified guidelines that regulate and enforce the special events process. The special events permit process is intertwined with other City departments that work closely to monitor, staff, and permit such events.

In planning stages various City Departments review, approve, and provide detailed staffing plans for these events including but limited to: The Police Department reviews and sign-off on the Street Closure form, FDOT application, MOT plan, pre-action plan, and course route. This information is then routed to the Transportation and Public Works Department, where Transportation reviews and approves the MOT Plan (Management of Traffic Plan). The information is then routed to the traffic management section where they closely review the traffic monitoring service. Transportation then routes the Street Closure packet to Public Works for review and approval of the public right of way permit. Further, all affected residential and commercial properties must be notified.

Once completed and approved by all corresponding departments, the City Manager signs the final special events permit approval. In most instances, bike rides would have to obtain Commission approval due to the use of State roads and major thoroughfares, such as the McArthur Causeway, Collins Avenue and Alton Road.


Based upon research and review of a few states and city Special Events regulations, including Colorado, Santa Cruz, Los Angeles and San Francisco, bicycle/cycling events permits are regulated similar to Miami Beach. In most jurisdictions, bicycle races versus bicycle rides are also treated similarly. Santa Cruz and the State of Colorado seem to have more detailed and descriptive regulations regarding bicycle/cycling permitting and have created special regulatory sections. However, as with other jurisdiction, research found that bicycle/cycling Special Events permits are generally:

  • prompted by the size of the event, followed by the impact on the city;

  • the number of bicycles, in an organized event, triggers a Special Event permit;

    • the State of Colorado and large cities such as Boulder, Los Angeles and San Francisco consider 50+ bicycles as an activation point for a permit ;

  • filing for the Special Event permit usually starts at 60 days before the event, but in Boulder filing must start as early as 120 days before the event;

  • road closures and collaboration with local departments of transportation and police is essential. Some jurisdictions look at general road closures, while the State of Colorado will weight ‘complete closures’ versus ‘moving or rolling closures’; and

  • dates and times of the event is a major factor the State of Colorado allows only day light events.


In addition, discussions were had with the Miami Beach Police Department, Miami Beach Transportation Department and the Florida State Department of Transportation, to get their general views of bicycle special event. The general consensus concluded that collaborative City agency engagement is key. Accordingly, the following suggestions are offered, by the Administration, for consideration to provide more structure and permitting restrictions on organized bicycle/cycling special events:

  1. Require all bike events with 25+ riders to apply for a special event permit. Though cities such as San Francisco and the State of Colorado require that events with 50+ apply for a permit, those cities however, have fewer road constraints than Miami Beach and more and law enforcement to monitor and mitigate the impact on communities. It is recommended that we start permitting at 25 riders to mitigate impact on Miami Beach residences and roads.
  2. Require organized bicycle/cycling events, with a significant number of riders (25+),  to present event plan to the City Commission for approval. This would require a minimum 60 day notice to present any new bicycle events on major roadways before the City Commission, inclusive of the event routes, hours of impact, and MOT illustration. Though some jurisdictions, including Boulder and the State of Colorado required more than 60 day notice, given the number of bicycle/cycling events we have had to date, we believe 60 days is adequate notice to present to the City Commission.
  3. Create designate pre-approved time-frames that are consistent with existing City Transportation traffic Flow Mitigation Plans - “no closure, lane reduction or traffic holds on Major Corridors permitted during Peak Hour Traffic Monday – Friday from 7am to 10am and 3:30pm to 7pm.”
  4. Work with the City’s Transportation Department to designate pre-approved routes on major roadways to swiftly flush approved bicycle/ cycling events in and out of the City with minimal impacts possible. Create a policy where Off-Duty Police Officers may not staff the event unless a Special Events permit has been filed with the City’s Special Events office.
  5. Create a policy that prohibits bicycle/cycling events occur during high impact event periods, such as:
  • October - Halloween, Auto Show, Seafood Festival
  • November - White Party Week
  • December - Art Basel, New Year’s Eve
  • January - NCAA Bowl Games, Art Deco Weekend, NATPE
  • February - Food & Wine Festival, and Super Bowl
  • March - Winter Music Conference, Winter Party
  • April - Miami Beach Gay Pride, South Beach Triathlon
  • May - Memorial Day Weekend
  • July - Independence Day Celebration, Swimwear Fashion Week
  • September - Labor Day Weekend


As previously discussed at both the Commission and Committee level, the Special Events division is currently reworking special event permitting guidelines, and will be holding community outreach sessions with industry leaders in June to solicit feedback and develop recommended changes.  As part of this process, it would be helpful to have direction from NCAC on including any or all of the suggested policy changes as outlined above. Administration is seeking further direction from the Committee on permitting for bike rides in Miami Beach.

San Francisco Special Permit RegulationsOther
Boulder Special Permit RegulationsOther
State of Colorado Special Permit RegulationsOther